Doctor Strange: Love or Hate? – Review
This might be the millionth review you see of Doctor Strange, or as I like to call it, Iron Man 14, and my opinion might not be as different as other reviewers. Yes, the movie was amazingly dazzling, and yes it was a bit run-of-the-mill when it comes to origin stories, and yes, it was a perfect addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. But the question we should be asking ourselves, as the executives and creative minds continue to add characters, TV shows, spin-offs, and bigger narratives into this expanding fictional universe, is this: do we need a story that involves opening up the universal possibilities of multiple and alternate universes?
Marvel Comics took decades and hundreds of published comic book issues in order to establish deep-rooted characters, find ways to connect them all, and slowly introduce story arcs that spanned multiple series and multiple years.
Marvel Studios gave us a few origin stories before submerging us into an orgy of multiple character arcs and CGI-mad, epic fight sequences.
If this is starting to sound like a complaint, it’s not. This seems to be the crowning complaint for the DCEU: too much, too fast. However, here lies the brilliance of the success of Marvel Studios, and why Doctor Strange is a perfect example.
Do famous characters like Spider-Man need a long introduction or origin story? Do we need multiple films to understand why Iron Man, Thor and Captain America would team up to fight against a villain?
Even a lesser-known character such as Steven Strange had no problem filling in seats this opening weekend. While the Easter Eggs for comic fans and the nods to the rest of the MCU are there, there are no prerequisites to watch these movies. I may call it Iron Man 14 only because I love this universe, and they deserve to be seen as a continuous series, but not required.
So was this movie any good? Yes and no. Marvel Studios now has a great formula in place, and knows how to use it and when to tweak it. If you like Marvel and comic-book films, there is absolutely no reason you will not like this. You will even overlook slight film-making issues, such as pacing, tone and staging. But there are always those who “don’t like superhero movies”, and you are always looking for that “one exception” to lure them to the dark side. If you are one of those who said, “wow, great movie, loved it”, you would usually hesitate when someone asks “so, should I see it?”. It is a hard film to describe, because it is and isn’t a superhero movie.
Cinematically it is a feast for the eyes, and well worth the price of admission. It does not have to be a “great film”, “but a great experience”. And in the end, you are not part of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and are therefore not voting for future Oscar winners. So relax. Just shut up and enjoy.