Tyler K. Lopez
And I’m back! Heyo! How are ya’ll doing? I’m doing great! If you didn’t know I went off and got myself married, but I watched Doctor Strange on my honeymoon just to make sure you knew what was up! If you’re looking for a Marvel movie that’s really weird, visually challenging (in a good way), and you have around twelve bucks burning a hole in your wallet, boy have I got a movie for you. Doctor Strange is the origin story of the next wizard to blow your socks off… you know… until Newt Scamander comes along. Here we go!
1- Writing: 8/10
The writing is strong! This is a movie based off a comic made in the 60s by the legendary Steve Ditko and while his origin is relatable, the subject matter that the comic revolves around is at times difficult to comprehend. There are parallel universes, demons, ghosts, magic, and yet all of this is fairly easy to follow along. No easy task!
2- Direction: 8/10
The movie had to play a tough balance of introducing a new character to a huge universe and yet give him the sort of challenge worthy of said universe. Scott Derrickson was a surprising choice for a tough, big budget movie because he’d only done a handful of movies and they were all horror movies (Sinister, Exorcism of Emily Rose, etc). Well Scott knocked it out of the park. It wasn’t perfect cinema, but it was a damn good showing.
3- Cinematography: 8/10
There were a good number of shots in this movie that were fantastic. Any true comic fan had a good ol’ fashioned nerd out when the Sanctum Sanctorum was shown for the first time with Strange in it. It wasn’t the most artistic piece of all time, but still very good.
4- Acting: 8/10
Benedict Cumberbatch was of course his usual fantastic self. Chiwetel Ejiofor was underrated as a supporting actor who had his own motivations that worked perfectly. Wong and Tilda were solid. McAdams was solid as well in her limited role. Shout out to Benjamin Bratt who was in this movie for some reason.
5- Editing: 7/10
The pace was fine although it was sort of difficult to understand how much time passed. Then again, the movie deals with time a lot so maybe it was supposed to be that way… Nah probably not. It could have been better, but it didn’t detract or distract or discombobulate the movie. Discombobulate doesn’t really fit but I like typing it. It’s my article! I can do it if I want!
6- Sound: 8/10
The sound in this movie was just about as disorienting as everything else (again in a good way… I think). In order to create a dizzying reality, sound plays a huge factor. The sound department for this movie was pretty large, but special shout out to Nia Hansen for creating weird and unique sounds that grew the audience experience.
7- Soundtrack/Score: 8/10
Michael Giacchino’s score for the movie is actually pretty subtle, but a good score. Giacchino is an acclaimed composer who has worked on everything in the industry from Call of Duty to Inside Out to Jurassic World. He and the rest of the music department did a tremendous job. Shout out to Beyoncé.
8- Production Design: 8/10
If Disney and by extension Marvel know anything about anything it’s in producing immersive landscapes. You know… like Disneyland. The movie does a great job of travelling all over the world and also of convincing me that things were magical.
9- Casting: 8/10
Uh-oh! This is the one everyone was like “oh what’s Tyler got to say about this?” If you followed this movie at all you know they caught a lot of heat for Tilda Swinton’s role as an ancient Tibetan man. For what it’s worth, she was a convincing Ancient One although her timelessness made it sort of a weird choice. I mean she doesn’t even look her 56 years od age, let alone ancient in any way. Still, Tilda did a great job in her role and an actress of her ability helps any film. Benedict and Ejiofor were inspired decisions. McAdams was a little bigger than her role, but who is complaining?
10- Effects: 10/10
Now this was the cream of the crop of the movie. The creamiest crop! Visually this movie is stunning at times and at other times terrifying and confusing. Ditko’s art was groundbreaking for the comic industry and the special effects of the film were based of that art. Literally the only word that comes to mind is trippy. If you’re really courageous watch it in 3D, but my head was spinning sometimes just in the regular two dimensions I’m used to.
Overall Score: 8.1/10
This was a Disney/Marvel production so you know you’re getting at least a couple of things: a) a coherent story and b) great nerd bait. I am an unabashed Marvel comics nerd and as such I enjoyed this movie thoroughly even with the flaws. The movie doesn’t exactly separate itself from the other Marvel movies with groundbreaking storytelling, but visually it’s certainly Marvel’s most ambitious attempt yet. I recommend it to anyone who wants to have a good time for a couple of hours, however I do warn you that the visuals are at times disorienting. If you’re like Lucille Austero and have debilitating vertigo this movie probably isn’t for you. Shout out to Arrested Development! I’ve done a lot of shout outs… do people still do that? Ah who cares.