Don't Miss

Doctor Strange – Joint Review


Release Date: 4 November 2016 [USA]
Director: Scott Derrickson
Writer: Jon Spats - Scott Derrickson - C. Robert Cargill [Screenplay] - Steve Ditko [Comic]
Cast: Benedict Cumberbatch - Chiwetel Ejiofor - Rachel McAdams



Sound & Music



Visual Effects

Total Score

User Rating
2 total ratings


Posted November 27, 2016 by

Full Article

Doctor Strange – Joint Review

Lestat’s Perspective:

Marvelmania returns with ‘Doctor Strange’, the mystical, magical hero brought to life in the form of Benedict Cumberbatch. An egotistical neurosurgeon supreme, there’s no stopping this man’s train of success. He shows up his colleagues, gleefully belittles his former girlfriend’s work in the ER and enjoys much-wonted fame and glory.

Unfortunately, it all comes to a shocking, stuttering halt when he is involved in a devastating car accident. Faced with no options, he seeks out alternative methods of healing himself. This leads him to the doorstep of The Ancient One (Tilda Swinton), who eventually accepts him into her fold. He trains with Master Mordo (Chiwetel Ejiofor) and attempts to befriend unsmiling librarian Wong (Benedict Wong). Antics aside, our protagonists also face grave danger in the form of Kaecilius (Mads Mikkelsen) and his troops. Kaecilius has an agenda against The Ancient One and wants to open up this world to the dark world and Dormammu. Can our hero, who has only just found his powers, overcome this menace?

Doctor Strange’ is an entertaining film, in the way most Marvel films are. There’s an elegant mix of dark devastation and bright hope. But it’s thin on plot and even thinner on character development. Much attention is given to the newest arrogant hero-to-be, before we are sped through introductions to the rest of the important characters. We are unable to invest in the other characters or their emotions because we simply haven’t had the chance to know them better.

Cumberbatch looks like he’s walked right off the pages of our favourite Doctor Strange comics, though at times it felt like he was sleep-walking through his scenes. There are moments when his desperation should have bubbled to the surface, but it remained dormant. He shines during the more humorous scenes and riffs off his cast mates perfectly. After ironing out the kinks, he will no doubt embody the role perfectly in his second outing.

Tilda Swinton is superb, but doesn’t get to showcase her talents as much as I had hoped. Somehow, her scenery-chewing performances in ‘Snowpiercer’ and ‘Constantine’ are far more memorable than this one. And yes, it still irks me that they didn’t choose an Asian actor for the role. I’m not buying all the excuses, it could and should have been done. It’s definitely frustrating watching an entire film revolve around Asian arts yet not include Asians in every aspect of the cast.

While I loved the addition of Wong and Ejiofor, I was disappointed that they didn’t get as many action sequences. It felt like every time an action scene ensued, they were edged out of the frame. This is particularly aggravating given that the prominent white cast aren’t shunted aside in this manner.

On a more positive note, I was impressed that the film, despite its erasure of actual Asian actors, did attempt to include some people of colour as prominent extras. It’s hardly commendable, but at least it made for a realistic colourful landscape.

I can’t quite get my head around Rachel McAdams taking on her role. Christine Palmer is wholly defined by her former and current relationship with Strange. She only appears when he needs her and even then he virtually dictates her every move. I believe she is far too talented and noteworthy to be taking on such thankless roles, but I suppose we can hope for more of her character in the sequel.

The visuals and special effects take centre stage, however, with many psychedelic and ‘Inception’-esque scenes thrown in. The sequences are so prolonged that they end up becoming boring, and worse, cartoon-ish. With so much emphasis given on the multi-verse and the characters’ understanding of the spiritual realm, we ended up forfeiting character arcs in their stead. ‘Doctor Strange’, therefore, ends up feeling hollow and underwhelming. We have been on a superb rollercoaster ride, but all our fellow passengers are still strangers to us.

Of more interest were the two credits scenes, which piqued our curiosity about the next Marvel film and what’s in store for this film’s sequel. Both were much weightier in substance and suspense, which the actual film lacked.

The trouble with this film is that it exudes an overwhelming sense of familiarity. It’s all too similar to what’s gone before, not just in the MCU, but in cinema in general. We’re meant to be overawed by the glorious bending of reality, yet that’s not enough anymore. If ‘Captain America: Civil War’ and ‘Batman vs. Superman’ have taught us anything, it’s that audiences are beginning to tire of flashy gimmicks. We want to connect with the magnificent people on screen, we want to see a reflection of reality inverted or subverted so that we can truly escape into the world of films. ‘Doctor Strange’ doesn’t do that; it doesn’t try. Somehow director Scott Derrickson seemed to believe that just the landscapes would be enough to occupy our minds. Well, he was wrong. Also, narcissistic white male heroes who treat everyone in their vicinity poorly before becoming hard done-by is getting old. We need a new protagonist trope to take over.

Without a doubt, most Marvel fans will enjoy ‘Doctor Strange’, but won’t have much to dwell on in the end. Barring pointing out all the fun Easter Eggs (and which Marvel film isn’t dotted with plenty of those), there’s not that much one can take away from this film. Dizzyingly entertaining and action-packed, ‘Doctor Strange’ leaves its characters by the wayside. But now that all the introductions are over, hopefully we will get some proper arcs when the sequel is out.

Written by:


Lestat de Lioncourt
Random Thoughts – Lestat’s Blog
Freelance Contributor


Olatide’s Perspective:

2016 so far has had 6 superhero films which is quite a lot compared to previous years, some have been very good whereas others failed to deliver. But which side does Doctor Strange fall? In short the very good side! Marvel has had a pretty good year with the release of Captain America: Civil War & Deadpool, they have been proving to be the dominant studio when it comes to comic book adaptions whereas DC have been struggling.

Doctor Strange was a highly anticipated film, not just because it’s another superhero film, but I think many people were excited to see a fresh character being introduced into the rapidly growing marvel universe. Personally, I was excited to see Doctor Strange’s magical abilities on screen. As these are abilities we have not seen in previous marvel films. Stephen Strange isn’t a hero with super strength, super speed or a high-tech suit. He’s a hero with magic and that is something new.

Doctor Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) an intelligent, egotistical & successful neurosurgeon experiences a scary car crash which damages his nervous system resulting in the loss of use of his hands. Strange is desperate to find a way to heal them so he can get back to doing what he loves. When western medicine fails him, his search takes him to the other side of the world where he meets The Ancient one (Tilda Swinton). He’s initial journey of healing has now drawn him into the world of sorcery. Eventually Strange is forced to choose between his life of fortune or leave it all behind to defend the world as a powerful sorcerer.

This movie had many good qualities, the story, the cast and the visual effects. Even with a fresh character, marvel still managed to stick to its roots by keeping some factors you usually find in other marvel films like humour, a light tone, great action scenes and of course a Stan Lee cameo!

The cast in this movie was good, they are all highly talented actors whom delivered great performances which made their characters even more interesting. Benedict Cumberbatch was perfect as doctor strange, he portrayed Doctor Strange well and at times added some humour into the film. I know many people had problems with Tilda Swinton being casted as the ancient one, although her casting wasn’t true to the source material she was a good fit for the role. A complicated character but also a great mentor for the hero. Chiwetel Ejiofor portrayed Mordo, an honest character with good morals who aided Stephen Strange throughout the film. Rachel McAdams another high-profile actor in this film, I feel like someone as talented as McAdams could have done more in this film. However, her performance was still good in the minor role she played.

The cast and performances weren’t the only good thing about this film, the visual effects in Dr Strange were stunning! It made the viewing experience ten times better and if you manage to watch it in 3D maybe twenty times better. Sorcery is a big part of the Dr Strange story and the visual effects showed this. Just watching the landscapes rotate & areas fly around was amazing, watching Dr Strange enter different dimensions was some trippy stuff. They made use of the visual effects which helped the story and added to the entertainment factor, those visual effects had me in awe.

In majority of superhero movies, the main problem is usually the villain, in this film Kaecilius portrayed by Mads Mikkelsen was the villain. He didn’t shine that much, but he was a decent villain however forgettable, his motives were explained clearly, he felt like a threat to the hero, he was a strong character and looked cool throughout the movie. But with all the visual effects and other interesting characters I wasn’t bothered by the villain he was kind of overshadowed but it wasn’t a big problem.

With the release of Doctor Strange marvel have done it once again, with another enjoyable, action-packed, entertaining and funny superhero movie. But this time they managed to make Doctor Strange stand out from their other films due to its incredible visual effects & great performances. I didn’t have any problems with this film I enjoyed it & had so much fun watching it, for me it wasn’t as good as the previous marvel films released this year, Deadpool & Civil war. But it still was an impressive first film for Doctor Strange, it did a good job of introducing a new & not so known marvel character into the universe while still entertaining the audience and showing off Dr Strange’s magical abilities.

Written by:


Olatide Renee
PopcornOnCouch – Facebook
Freelance Contributor


Read Similar Articles?…

[Review] – ‘Arrival’
[Review] – ‘The Gatehouse’
[Review] – ‘Growing Up Coy’

Reviews | Joint Reviews | Articles | Debates | Promotions | Interviews |


Join The Debate! Leave us a comment…


Be the first to comment!

Leave a Response


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.