DOCTOR STRANGE is an incredibly mind-blowing and unique experience that blends some of the best aspects of INCEPTION, HARRY POTTER and THE MATRIX in to one of the most insane visual experiences you have ever seen. Just imagine if THE MATRIX and INCEPTION had a baby.
Two important notes about this review:
1. See this film in IMAX 3D. The 3D conversion is incredible and the film fills the entire digital IMAX screen for over an hour. I know it's expensive, but it's 100 percent worth it.
2. There are two ending credits sequences. When the movie ends, stay in your seat as there will be an extra scene in the middle of those ending credits and then one right at the end. Both scenes are very important especially if you follow all the films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Plus, you get to listen to more of Michael Giacchino's score; which is awesome.
If there was a video camera of my face while watching DOCTOR STRANGE, you would have just seen my mouth wide open in pure amazement and nerd tears just streaming down my face. Sometimes a film comes along that is so satisfying in terms of entertainment, visuals and action that you just wonder why more films aren't like it. Is "Doctor Strange" a perfect movie? No, but it delivers such a unique, mind-blowing experience that makes it a must-see.
I've seen the film twice now and for some reason, I can't wait to go back and see it a third time. There's something euphoric about the experience your mind has while watching this movie. The visuals are so incredible that it just puts you in his awesome state of amazement. When you combine that with great performances, a fun script and a great score, you have a film that is worth seeing.
"Doctor Strange" is the fourteenth film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Meaning, that this storyline takes place in the same world as every film in the MCU including "The Avengers," "Iron Man," "Thor," "Captain America," "Guardians of the Galaxy," "Ant-Man" and more. Benedict Cumberbatch takes on the title role where he follows a journey from being a neurosurgeon to a sorcerer mastering the mystic arts to try and save the world. The journey that Dr. Stephen Strange goes on is very similar to the Tony Stark timeline you see in the first "Iron Man." Strange is a doctor, who happens to share a similar arrogance to Tony Stark. Both of these characters think the world revolves around them. One night, while driving to an event, Strange gets in to a horrible accident, which essentially ruins the use of his hands. He tries multiple treatments but nothing seems to work until he's told about a place in Katmandu where he could heal. Little does he know that this would be life changing and send him down a superhero path to defending the world.
The film has an incredible cast including Chiwetel Ejiofor, Tilda Swinton, Mads Mikkelsen and Benedict Wong. All deliver incredibly emotional and deep performances that add an extreme amount of weight to this crazy mystic arts storyline. What's amazing about it how the movie is so out of this world yet it feels so grounded in reality. Director, Scott Derrickson, wanted the performances to feel grounded while all of these insane visual effects were happening. Tilda Swinton delivers one of the best performances of her career. Her action sequences mixed with the emotional depth of her character works so well. She carries such an emotional weight while also being this epic action character. I loved her fight sequences and how she conversed with Cumberbatch.
There are two action scenes in this film that I would pay money just to watch on a loop for hours. As the movie progresses, we get an action scene in Hong Kong and New York. I won't give away what happens but let me tell you that your mind is going to freak out. The 3D IMAX really comes in to play here because it immerses you in this world bending moments that are just unreal to watch. Even though the 3D was converted, the visual effects are so well done that the depth of field really plays well. I know that an IMAX 3D ticket is very expensive but trust me, it's worth seeing in that format. Let me just say that the Hong Kong reverse action scene is unlike anything you've ever seen. My brain hurts, in a good way, just thinking about it.
Michael Giacchino's score is BRILLIANT. I've been fan of his music for a while and I still weep like a baby every time I hear his "Star Trek" theme. If you don't cry listening to that or in the opening twenty minutes of "Up," I think you might not be human. You could tell that Giaachino had fun with the score because there are so many nerdy layers to it and it sounds like he's playing around with the audience. Stay through the ending credits for the extra scenes but also to continue hearing Giacchino's brilliant themes.
I absolutely loved Cumberbatch in this role. He goes on an interesting journey where he is just as confused as the audience. We learn what's going on while he does. Therefore, if you find yourself confused, remember that Stephen Strange is just as confused as you are. The humor blends so well with the action that everything just flows very well together. That and the storytelling is very solid.
I give DOCTOR STRANGE a 4.5/5.
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