Doctor Strange

Formulaic and Unchallenging Superhero Blockbuster


Review:

A ‘cookie-cutter’ Marvel film that, while not particularly hard to follow, gives no reason to pay attention to it.  Benedict Cumberbatch plays up the arrogance in the titular role without the ‘cool’ factor of Christian Bale’s Bruce Wayne.  That leaves the viewer wondering why we are supposed to be rooting for him.  His accent is odd as well – I guess not all British actors can pull off convincing American accents?  The relationship with Rachel McAdams’ character is underdeveloped making me forget it even exists, let alone finding reason to care about it.  Where did she go for most of the movie?

The premise of DOCTOR STRANGE is nonsensical but looking past that, I’m surprised to find some of the special effects looked cheap.  If the story isn’t there, at least provide the effects to wow the audience.  It felt like a retread of some of the visuals used in 2010’s INCEPTION.  I would be interested to see if the special affects would have been the same if this came out before INCEPTION.  It was novel there, but looks like a rip-off here in DOCTOR STRANGE.

Nothing to speak of about the directing effort by Scott Derrickson – as per Marvel’s standard, this film is designed and executing in a way to capture the broadest possible audience, while effectively neutering the director.

In regards to the acting, watching ‘serious actors’ (Benedict Cumberbatch, Tilda Swinton, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Mads Mikkelsen) deliver ridiculous dialogue showed how hollow the screenwriting was and how director Scott Derrickson wasn’t allowed (or able) to handle this acting talent effectively.  DOCTOR STRANGE‘s lack of a comic relief (a device almost all marvel films rely on) made this all the more tedious to watch.


Scores:

  • Cinematography: 3/10 – A cookie cutter in ever regard
  • Directing: 3/10 – Any capable director could have done this
  • Acting: 5/10 – Chiwetel Ejiofor is a slight reprieve from boring and conservative choices
  • Special Effects: 6/10 – Nothing wowed me

Overall:

4/10, A ridiculous popcorn film that isn’t compelling and doesn’t look worth the $165 Million budget.  Marvel’s incessant conservatism for box office revenue never allows the director to find his own voice.

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