Dr. Strange is the origin story of one of central characters of the Marvel Universe. Like many of the stories in the Marvel Universe, it tells the story of a human’s journey into a superhero. But most stories like this involve people who are either destined to become superheroes and discover their talents, or they tell the stories of people who are victims of circumstance who accidentally become superheroes, or the tell stories of people whose virtue earns them the right to become a superhero.
Not so with Dr. Strange. Dr. Strange starts out has a hot shot neuro-surgeon who is arrogant, condescending and throughly unlikeable in every respect. He’s the kind of guy that you are just waiting for the world to exact its revenge on him. And it does in a truly graphic and horrifying way. You almost feel sorry for him instead of feeling like he got what’s coming to him. And that’s what starts him down his journey into superhero-dom.
The thing is, his journey into the one of the most god-like superheroes in the Marvel universe doesn’t really involve a change of heart or a change of attitude. The first time I watched the movie, I completely missed the scene that was intended to be his Big Turn. The second time I saw the move, I caught it. But I didn’t feel it. Whether it’s due to the screen play, or Benedict Cumberbatch’s acting, or whatever, I didn’t feel like he ever evolved or transcended his mortal self into the Dr. Strange who takes his place in the pantheon of Marvel gods.
On the other hand, the special effects depicting the mystical world that Dr. Strange rules are some of the most trippy visuals I’ve ever seen on screen. And they are very fluid and integrated into the world so well that bending of space and time just feels natural to these folks.
And the action sequences are well done, I truly felt like Dr. Strange got thrown into the mystic world well before he was ready and he was both trying to figure things out without a guide or mentor and trying to stay alive at the same time.
So there’s a lot to like about the move. Good popcorn movie. But so far I’m not a fan of Dr. Strange, the character. What’s to like about him?