Friday, December 17, 2021

Doctor Strange (a movie review post)

 MCU #14

As a point of interest, it was Doctor Strange that inspired this whole MCU re-watch thing. After Shang-chi came out, I decided it would probably be a good idea to refresh Strange in my memory since he seems to be central to what is coming up in the next phase of the MCU. Upon re-watching it, I realized how much, exactly, I'd forgotten, so it was that the decision was made to re-watch everything. I'm really glad, too, because they are so worth it, and I needed the memory freshener. (Which is nothing like one of those air fresheners for your car. Those are gross.)

Also, there's Spider-Man (the new one and which I should be watching when this post goes live), which is going to be a lot of Strange.

It's not that I haven't said this before, but Marvel's casting is uncanny (shut up! I know that's X-Men. It's my blog I can do what I want). Benedict Cumberbatch was the perfect choice for Strange. There's a moment (I don't remember which one) where there is this fairly close up view of Cumberbatch's face and, I swear, it was like they took a panel from the comic book and turned it into a living person. He really captures Strange in a way that I think no other actor could have. Not one that I've seen, at any rate.

I think I've come to like MCU Dr. Strange better than the comic book version. I mentioned this in my previous review (which I'm not linking), but Strange is played off too much as a super hero in the comic book. Oh, yes, but he is a super hero, I hear you saying. Sure, that's true. Sort of. But, in the comic, it was always that he had this limited selection of "moves" which made it feel like special mutant powers or something. There was rarely any actual sorcery. That is, pulling out the books and casting some big spell. Not much "magic," in other words.
Which, you know, is fine. I get it. That kind of thing is much more difficult to do. What is magic, anyway?

I feel like Marvel dealt with that more upfront in the MCU. The Ancient One, basically, explains the MCU concept of magic to Strange right at the beginning. I should probably pull that quote but, hey, I'm about to leave for Spider-Man and trying to wrap this up. Magic has been addresses again in WandaVision and in Eternals. It's more of the science you don't yet understand kind of thing. And I like that. Plus there are lots and lots of books, and we've even seem them in use. To some extent, at least.

They also did a good job with their use of the Astral Plane. The fight in the hospital was really excellent in the way it disrupted the physical world.

And I would be lying if I said that the Cloak of Levitation isn't one of my favorite characters.

The character arc of Mordo is extremely well done. Somewhat parallel to Kaecilius in that it is a perceived deception on the part of The Ancient One that causes their breaks, but each stems from a separate place. Kaecilius, one of envy: I want that, too; Mordo, one of... injustice? I don't know the word I want to use. Mordo responds from a misplaced feeling of injustice, and his journey is and will be more interesting than Kaecilius. Chiwetel Ejiofor is a great actor and able to pull it off more than believably. Not that we haven't seen him do this kind of character before (in Serenity, in case you've forgotten).

So, yeah, I think I've come to like appreciate Dr. Strange more in the years since its release. Not that I didn't like it when it came out; I did. But I like it more now. Which takes us to the rankings...

Let's get ranked!

1. Captain America: Civil War
2. The Avengers
3. Captain America: The First Avenger
4. Captain America: The Winter Soldier
5. Iron Man
6. Doctor Strange
7. Ant-Man
8. Thor: The Dark World
9. Thor
10. Guardians of the Galaxy
11. Avengers: Age of Ultron
12. Iron Man 3
13. Iron Man 2
14. Incredible Hulk (Sorry, Norton, not even the Eye of Agamotto can save you from your place at the bottom. Maybe don't suck so much.)


  1. In spite of seeing Benedict Cumberbatch's name in, like, everything, I think this is the first thing he's been in that I've actually wanted to watch. Also, totally laughed out loud at this week's Norton insult.

  2. I think I'd claim this one as my favorite up to this point (Black Panther is coming...). You're right, Cumberbatch was the slam dunk choice. Visuals were exceptional. Ditko would have been pleased, I think.