Dawson Joyce’s review published on Letterboxd:
March 2017: Flounder’s Scavenger Hunt #3
TASK #9: A superhero film where the female lead isn’t a damsel in distress!
Thank you, Scott Derrickson. Thank you, Jon Spaihts. Thank you, C. Robert Cargill. I know many have complained that Rachel McAdams' character Christine Palmer is nothing more than a useless superhero girlfriend, but to quote Derrickson himself on Twitter, "She saves two lives, morally contrasts the protagonist, and experiences magic. Oh, and she's nobody's girlfriend." Also, as the task implies, she doesn't get kidnapped by the villain nor does she have to be saved from danger. It's so refreshing to see a comic book film these days take that common trope and completely shit on it and throw it in the garbage bin.
Sorry, I had to get that out of the way. Anyway, this film is still awesome on another viewing. Benedict Cumberbatch completely embodies the character of Dr. Stephen Strange and I also got invested in his arc where he strives for perfection and has a fear of failure. To see him start off as an arrogant prick and come out a likable, rootable hero but in a way that feels natural and organic, much like Tony Stark in the first Iron Man, was so engrossing. This film has some of the most creative and imaginative visuals of any comic book film, Marvel or otherwise. It's like if Inception took LSD or if The Matrix went on a massive acid-trip. Strange's first taste of the arts of magic and mysticism in Kamar-Taj and the clever, inventive climax with Dormammu in the Dark Dimension especially stand out. Thor and Guardians of the Galaxy only gave a tease of the visual feast for the eyes that this film most certainly delivers on.
Arguably one of the MCU's best installments and I pray Marvel develops a sequel with Scott Derrickson hopefully returning to direct and co-write. Derrickson knocks it out of the park here and the end result is arguably his best film since Sinister.