Doctor Strange is now in theaters, and it seems that Marvel Studios has added yet another successful franchise to its roster.
Strange is trending at 90% on Rotten Tomatoes and has (at the time of writing this) earned $325 million in just two weeks of worldwide release.
With the Marvel Cinematic Universe continuing to look like an unstoppable entertainment Juggernaught, this is going to be an unpopular opinion: but this writer feels that Doctor Strange was a disappointement.
Doctor Strange plays like several concepts of a movie at odds with one another.
On the one hand, we get the deep character drama and philosophical quandary of Stephen Strange's faith. That is a more serious story, with a lot of deep thematic implications that play out over the course of the film... only to get lost somewhere in the middle.
The physics-bending battles in the film's third act might've been unique and fun; however, they come at the cost of a better character story that might've been, with a conclusion that doesn't payoff the character drama that preceded it.
It Rushes Things
Marvel fans have been scratching their heads trying to synch the events of Doctor Strange with the rest of the MCU - and it's a hard thing to measure, admittedly. For a movie about an artifact able to control time, Doctor Strange has poor measurement of it.
The second act of the film (exploring Strange's studies at Kamar-Taj) is hard to measure. The montages explaining his development as a sorcerer and growing relationships with the likes of Mordo and Wong do not earn the character evolution the movies claims to have achieved, by the end.
For a hero's journey origin tale, there isn't much actual journey that takes place.
Another Weak Villain
Actor Mads Mikkelsen is great, and his Doctor Strange character Kaecilius is a sufficient foe to battle (for what little we learn about him).
However, on the whole, this was another bland and thinly drawn Marvel movie villain made to make things go boom, offering little intrigue (or even much talk) to anchor Kaecilius to memory.
It Ruins Dormammu
If you were a Marvel Comics fan who was excited by the prospect of seeing dark lord Dormammu brought to life on the big screen, it's understandable if you came away disappointed by Doctor Strange.
The movie's giant, psychedelic head version of Dormammu has invited comparison to Parallax in the Green Lantern movie, which is never a good thing. Marvel may have blown a big chance to give us the fearsome villain from the comics.
No Sorcerer Supreme
The biggest disappointment of Doctor Strange is that its origin story isn't even a complete one. When the film ends, Strange is the warden of New York Sanctum, but he's still not yet the Sorcerer Supreme - his official status in the Marvel Comics Universe.
No other Marvel movie has ended without having its hero(es) fully established as their heroic selves. Nor should any other, going forward. It just goes back to the fact that Doctor Strange missed the mark.
Do you agree that Doctor Strange was a disappointment? Or did you enjoy the film? Let us know in the comments or @ComicBookNow.
More Doctor Strange
MORE DOCTOR STRANGE: Captain Marvel Easter Egg? Is Dormammu the MCU Galactus? / Doctor Strange Opens BIG / Doctor Strange Confirmed for Avengers: Infinity War / Doctor Strange End Credits Sequence Explained / Doctor Strange Mid-Credits Scene Explanation / Possible Sequel Villain Revealed / The Living Tribunal Revealed
Doctor Strange is now in theaters; Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 – May 5, 2017; Spider-Man: Homecoming– July 7, 2017; Thor: Ragnarok – November 3, 2017; Black Panther – February 16, 2018; Avengers: Infinity War – May 4, 2018; Ant-Man and the Wasp – July 6, 2018; and Captain Marvel on March 8, 2019.