FRED Watch Quickie Film Review: Doctor Strange (2016)

DOCTOR IN NEED OF LIFE SUPPORT…

I’m a Wayne Stellini and welcome to FRED Watch, where we review everything from the mainstream to the obscure. Today’s film is Doctor Strange

Marvel Studios / Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

After a tragic car accident, talented neurosurgeon Doctor Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) must put his ego aside to learn the secrets of a hidden world of mysticism and alternate dimensions.

With the combination of previous sequels and team-ups, the origin story of yet another hero to the Marvel Cinematic Universe allows for more goodies and baddies of diverse personalities, motivations, and abilities to be introduced to the mix. And as the fourteenth entry into the franchise, you hope for something special.

Unfortunately, Doctor Strange is an assorted bag that does not get its balance right. A technical marvel (full credit to the incredible visual effects crew here) with strong performances across the board, the film suffers from an unconquerable obstacle: the titular protagonist is painfully dull. Strange has the smarts, ego, and good looks of the likes of, say, Tony Stark without the wit or charisma, giving the always reliable Benedict Cumberbatch very little to work with, though his scenes with Rachel McAdams give the character some depth. However, our protagonist is overshadowed by more interesting figures such as the exceptional Tilda Swinton’s Ancient One and Benedict Wong’s fun, coincidentally named Wong.

Jon Spaihts, C. Robert Cargill, and director Scott Derrickson’s script packs a lot of interesting mythology into a film that mercifully runs under two hours, but at this point feels unnecessary in the grand narrative. With some fresh visuals at play here, Doctor Strange will appeal to fans of the extensive franchise, and the character’s addition to it will perhaps prove beneficial, but the film is ultimately a noisy spectacle with little substance. 2½ / 5

 

Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Rachel McAdams, Benedict Wong, Michael Stuhlbarg, Benjamin Bratt, Scott Adkins, Mads Mikkelsen, Tilda Swinton, Chris Hemsworth, Linda Louise Duan, Mark Anthony Brighton, Topo Wresniwiro, Zara Phythian, Alaa Safi, Katrina Durden, Pat Kiernan, Stan Lee [cameo]..

Director: Scott Derrickson | Producer: Kevin Feige | Writers: Jon Spaihts, Scott Derrickson, C. Robert Cargill (based on Doctor Strange by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko) | Music: Michael Giacchino | Cinematographer: Ben Davis | Editors: Wyatt Smith, Sabrina Plisco

 

Available: Blu-ray

Let us know what you thought of this film in the comments!

 

I’ve been a Wayne Stellini and you’ve just experienced FRED Watch.

 

RELATED VIDEO: Non-Scripted Ramblings #17: Countdown to Infinity War—Doctor Strange ⬇️


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