Again I decided to go watch a Marvel movie on a theatre expecting too much out of it and again I left unsatisfied. Sad, but true.
This movie is directed by Scott Derrickson and written by Jon Spaihts, Scott Derrickson, and C. Robert Cargill, based on the comics by steve Ditko and Stan Lee, and it tells the story of Doctor Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), a very famous, very talented neurosurgeon who made millions by saving people’s lives until he gets caught in a car accident that completely destroys his hands and therefore ruins his career in medicine.
As he searches for a way to go back to his practice he spends almost all his fortune on medical procedures that fail each and every time. That’s when he hears of a place where he might be able to find a “cure” to all his problems and that’s where he travels to, using the very last bit of money he has left.
Upon arrival, Strange meets “The Ancient One”, Earth’s protector and Sorcerer Supreme (Tilda Swinton), who becomes his new master and gives life a new meaning by opening his eyes to new possibilities.
The premise of the movie is very interesting, even more when you partner it with great attention to detail in Visual Effects, which allows for it to properly explore the amazing possibilities and changes of perspective presented in the comics. There was no better studio than Marvel to direct the creation of such beautiful sequences, so well made it almost made me cry of excitement. But again, a movie, even though is by definition a way of visual storytelling, isn’t all about VFX and pretty shots.
The screenplay wasn’t the best one, again. The beginning was too fast, as well as the end; the challenges the main character faces aren’t enough to make him truly grow as a human being; there are scenes where some really weird stuff happens and the characters don’t react to them in a realistic way, in fact, Christine Palmer (Rachel McAdams) only expressed her confusion once, and her reaction lasted for less than 5 seconds. That is way too short of a time for a surprise such as the way she experienced. Just as a comparison, a good reaction act should last at least 30 seconds for it to be believable for the audience since our brains need time to process the character’s mental state based on their facial expressions.
Those weren’t the only problems though: the ending of the movie, despite being amazingly well done and extremely beautiful, was way too short. Don’t get me wrong, I am all for that kind of ending where you just cut the crappy “two years later, somewhere in the middle of New York”,but you have got to make it a sequence that lasts at least a bit more than the 1 minute I got at the end, after the last fight. Like, come on, I just been through a great adrenaline rush, give me time to recompose before I can stand up and go back to real world, you know?
Even though those things really bothered me a lot, I’d like to add that both Benedict Cumberbatch, Rachel McAdams, Mads Mikkelsen and Tilda Swinton really stood out for their great performances throughout the entire movie. I really think that those short reactions I was talking about were an editing/direction mistake and not an “acting” one. All the casting did great, in my honest opinion, and I’ve enjoyed watching them all on screen for a very long time already – it’s good to see so many familiar faces on a movie, specially when you know they usually make a good job!
Just a couple more things I’d like to add: Great cameo scene by the amazing Stan Lee in the bus, real funny as usual; The jokes in this movie don’t work as well as they do in the other Marvel ones, they don’t really fit as well here in my opinion; And, to finish, if you’re watching this on a movie theatre be sure to stay until the very end of all credits because there is a second after credits scene right at the end with a little hint to the next movie in the Doctor Strange franchise that you won’t want to miss.
And finally, I am giving this movie a 75 just because the VFX and the performances by the actors were so great that they made up for a lot of the editing, screenplay and direction. Some very important scenes and sequences were way shorter than they should have been; the villain was not so great, [SPOILER ALERT!] he was defeated too easily, no one really had to put up a big fight to get rid of him [END OF SPOILER]; and there was no memorable music playing, always that same mild thing that plays in every single movie nowadays. It was fun though, and in the end that is all that really matters. No one cares if the movie isn’t going to get the Best Movie Award at the Oscars next year as long as the fans are enjoying themselves. Now go watch it!