Andrew | A.J.’s review published on Letterboxd:
Beautiful, isn't it? A world without death. Without time.
It's that time of the year again. The time for Marvel Studios to release a movie and for the masses to go and see it, regardless of the central character.
Doctor Strange is about Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), a neurosurgeon who injures his hands in a car accident. In order to heal them, he travels to India, where he learns the mystic arts from the Ancient One (Tilda Swinton). There's also a bad guy for Strange to fight.
Stephen Strange becomes a superhero and saves the world. The end.
That's it. That's all there is to Doctor Strange, a nearly two-hour film that throws all kinds of world-contorting CGI at us. It throws in action and jokes. It doesn't throw in sympathetic characters or a significant plot.
The "character development" of Strange is that he starts as an asshole but ends as a cool guy, but there's absolutely no progression to that. Maybe he learned the magic spell: "menoassholenomo".
Benedict Cumberbatch's performance is dull, just like everything else in the film. Everything about this film is depressingly limp.
Mads Mikkelsen plays the cookie-cutter villain. More or less the same as the one he almost player in Thor: The Dark World.
Tilda Swinton plays The Ancient One, Strange's teacher, and she might be the only one with a decent arc.
One thing mildly refreshing about this film are the minimal references to the rest of the Marvel universe. It was pleasant.
The script, written by Jon Spaihts, Scott Derrickson (who also directed), and C. Robert Cargill, is "fine". That's all it is. It's so mind-numbingly mediocre. The only impressive thing about it is the sheer number of "funny" moments. There must be one every five seconds.
Scott Derrickson is a horror veteran. Sinister is a dark and deeply disturbing film. I'm not sure why he made an action comedy.
The worst part is that Doctor Strange isn't funny. I didn't get the humor. Visual gags and recurring jokes. I "get" it. I'm hip. I know how comedy do. But it just feels like nothing.
There are no aspects, nothing about Doctor Strange that stands out as good. It seems to revel in mediocrity. Not even Michael Giacchino's score is good.
I'm the party pooper here. The entire audience laughed their brains out. They applauded at the end. They applauded for a movie that accomplishes nothing.
Doctor Strange is like watching a blank chalkboard. There's nothing tangible about it, nothing to hold on to. In the ever-expanding Marvel universe, this one is one of their lowest points.
There's no feeling, no personality, no magic to this film about the Sorcerer Supreme.