Dr. Strange proves less disappointing than anticipated

CJ Housh

So I was ready to tear Doctor Strange a new one. I sat through the first half of the movie, my mind taken up by all the mockery I would through at it, then something happened and I’ll be named Alan Smithy if I didn’t like the thing.

Doctor Strange is the newest installment of the Marvel cinematic universe and is about a heroic team of film writers trying to figure out how to work magic into a creative universe where they’ve gone out of their way to dance around the concept like it was raw plutonium.

I jest, in actuality it’s about Benedict Cumberbatch as American surgeon, who damages his hands while being that guys we all roll our eyes at and has to find Tilda Swinton to fix his hands, he ends up fighting Mads Mikkelsen so he doesn’t sell the world to what the makers of Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer really hoped Galactus would be.

I’m not complaining that much about the cast, just that Cumberbatch’s accent sounds like he spoke all his dialog backwards and they reversed the recording to put it in the film. Tilda Swinton is fantastic as always; I’d pay to see her play pond scum, or Donald Trump, or God Almighty except I already saw her play the angel Gabriel once and that was so good I almost lost consciousness. Disney rolls out Mads Mikkelsen just as they did in Rogue One, so next all he must do is fight the Muppets be in an animated feature and he’ll collect all four of Disney’s rings of power.

The plot is the same one from Ironman, but with all the technology replaced with magic. It’s also the same plot from Star Wars: A New Hope, except that in this Luke Skywalker is a jerk. I’ll be honest, I didn’t want him to get the magic, I didn’t want him to succeed because he’s such a colossal jerk the first half of the movie. Then at some point I started liking him, because they introduced this new idea that sometimes the best heroes aren’t really good people.

The only reason this film was made was because the premise was perfect for a new special effects spectacular for Disney, but for the first three quarters of the runtime I was sitting there saying it’s not like I didn’t see that in Inception in 2010. Then the final action set piece takes place in Hong Kong and somehow, by the will of Walt Disney and a long-handled spoon they actually wowed me. I’ll also commend them for thinking of ways to depict magic other than balls of fire or telekinetic book dumping.

I am going to recommend this, which is playing in Phelps Theater Thursday, Feb. 2 at 2:30 and 6:30 p.m. and Friday, Feb. 3 at 6:30 p.m. Oh, and I’d stick around through the first few credits, it’s one of Marvel’s better stingers.