Doctor Strange is a Satisfying Adventure
Doctor Strange succeeds in bringing a new element to the Super Hero genre while failing to elicit strong emotions of previous Marvel films. Though in its defense, the film happens to follow the very emotionally driven Captain America: Civil War. That isn't to say that Doctor Strange is a bad movie. Where it excels completely drowns out its weaknesses and offers new hope for this staling genre.
What sets Doctor Strange apart from the other films in the Universe is the selfishness of the main character. Sure, characters like Tony Stark or Thor begin their stories with arrogant selfishness, but Doctor Strange tugs away all feelings of a super hero movie to focus solely on him. There are no immediate citizens to save, no tier of criminals to fight past, and his relationship with Rachel McAdams? Cute but forgettable. There is no feeling of heroism, just simply Doctor Strange and his single desire. Although as a whole this can make the movie seem average at best, this is actually where the character himself shines. The narrow vision of the Doctor leads him to an interesting, though predictable, character growth.
The "final villain," so to speak, is introduced immediately, something Marvel does often. Though they are usually accompanied with lesser threats, distractions, or pawns, Doctor Strange's main villain remains so until the end of the movie, only introducing a more powerful being as a foil to said main villain. This contributes to the feeling of abruptness persistent throughout the film. As stated before, the main villain is revealed immediately. Cause happens so soon after Effect, giving little time to "feel" for any one character. However this feeling of suddenness or abruptness fits with the theme of time and the pacing of the visual effects so well that it's jarring in the most exciting of ways.
The best thing about the movie-- a guaranteed unanimous opinion-- are the visual effects. No one will walk away unimpressed with the film visually. It is a result of the ingenuity of Inception, the richness of Avatar, and breadth of Life of Pi. The technical pacing of the effects are quick and stimulating, never feeling slow or odd, even for that universe. The visual effects are so ambitious and demanding that it makes the story slightly lackluster. There is a portion of the movie early on that seems to milk the effects. It was like looking at a visual effect student's senior portfolio after they had just discovered Photoshop. Yet Strange's continued maddening as performed by Benedict Cumberbatch made it all fun. Of course with a strong cast including Mads Mikkelsen, Tilda Swinton, Rachel McAdams, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Benedict Cumberbatch, you couldn't expect anything less than impressive.
If Marvel Studios continued with what they did for Doctor Strange, they could produce movies for another 5 years without staleness. Though some may argue that Doctor Strange doesn't seem like it has a place in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the movie offers the freshest take on super hero movies we've seen so far.
Marvel's Doctor Strange is a completely satisfying adventure through reality and time.
*There is one scene mid-credits and another scene post-credits