The action climaxes with a truly impressive finale, one that employs time going in multiple directions that’s like nothing I’ve ever seen in a movie before. The effects shots here aren’t just visually impressive; they actually let the narrative go to places it couldn’t without this level of, you’ll pardon the expression, wizardry.
Yes, this new project shares the same look, feel, and fancy corporate sheen as the rest of Marvel’s rapidly expanding Avengers portfolio, but it also boasts an underlying originality and freshness missing from the increasingly cookie-cutter comic-book realm of late.
The Hollywood Reporter
To his credit, director Scott Derrickson...navigates through the different zones with a fair degree of actual coherence, and delivers the entire package with evident ease and some flair.
It’s a tremendously engaging and likeable superhero ride, in which the classiest of casts show they know exactly where to take it seriously – and where to inject the fun.
Cumberbatch fits Doctor Strange like a pair of snap-tight surgical gloves, in yet another MCU triumph. Beautifully designed, brilliantly executed.
Derrickson (Sinister) crafts a trippy phantasmagoria for Strange to fly screaming through as he begins his path to sorcerer supreme. The only thing missing is a Doors jam as the sequence unfolds a dizzying blend of psychedelia, geometric oddities and nightmarish dreamscapes.
Entertaining in its grand flourishes but spottier when it comes to character work and thematic coherence, the film boasts a slightly darker and more mystical air than its peers, accentuated by some of the most arresting set pieces in the MCU canon.
As with all of the best installments of the MCU, the film’s unique strengths have a perverse way of highlighting the franchise’s shared weaknesses. But Doctor Strange deserves credit for treating several of the ailments that have been infecting the series, and for diagnosing several more.
Make no mistake; there is no disputing this is clearly one of Marvel’s better efforts. And, yes, attempting to break from the expected shackles of a lineage of other origin movies is difficult, but you still feel the formula straining at the core of Doctor Strange.
The bad news is the studio’s most innovative visuals are wedded to one of its most formulaic origin stories. In some scenes, Doctor Strange is Marvel’s most exciting movie yet. In others, it might be its most boring movie since Iron Man 2.