I was quietly worried when I went to see this last night, having read the first few opinions in this thread and seen that they were quite negative. However, watching Doctor Strange for myself reminded me how unreliable movie reviews can often be – one person can see a disaster where someone else witnesses a spectacle, after all. As it is, I walked out of Doctor Strange with a massive grin on my face and the feeling that I had just watched a movie which will easily sit in my top five Marvel movies.
I thought Benedict Cumberbatch would be the biggest hurdle for me; as I've never been able to warm to his performances. I've watched every season of Sherlock but it was Doctor Strange that finally made me a fan of the actor. In fact, once I got used to him speaking in an American accent, I found his performance to be one of the strongest in the MCU since Chris Evans. It takes a lot to support a character arc as broad as this one (from selfish surgeon to selfless sorcerer in two hours) and, whilst I'm not 100% certain that the film manages it, Cumberbatch does a LOT of the heavy lifting by himself. He was incredibly likeable throughout and I really look forward to seeing his further appearances in the MCU. Hell, I'm going to head over to Amazon after this to shop for some Doctor Strange graphic novels because I really like the character as a result of this movie and Cumberbatch's performance.
The folding landscape scenes in this movie are really well done and the trailer only gives you a brief glimpse as to how they're implemented. I will agree with a comment earlier in this thread that some of the action scenes are shot with too many close-ups or dutch angles, and I found that frustrating because, on the whole, I really enjoyed the action scenes here. The use of the different magic abilities (such as the face-off with Scott Adkins) kept things interesting, and I liked the connection they established between magic and martial arts.
That's not to say I don't have complaints…
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
...because some of the humor fell flat for me. The flattest was the Beyonce joke but, then again, it set up a scene with Wong listening to Beyonce as books disappeared around him which made me smile, so I can't write it off completely.
I also think that, as much as I liked the final Dormammu vs Strange confrontation (although I wasn't especially keen on Dormammu's visual look) and it illustrated how Strange was now prepared to sacrifice his own life for others, you don't hire Mads Mikkelson and not have a final showdown between him and Cumberbatch. Disappointing….
...but these complaints aren't enough to drag the film down. When the final scene arrived, I was actually disappointed because I wanted MORE. If the sequel had been playing in the next screen, I'd have bought tickets there and then.
If you've enjoyed most of Marvel's output over the years, I'm pretty sure you're going to like this. It's not their best movie but (in my opinion) it's one of their best solo hero movies . Can't wait to see Doctor Strange 2. Hell, I'm probably more excited about that than The Avengers 3 now.