Doctor Strange and Marvel Movies Yet to Be
1. The Plot
Dr. Stephen Strange, a brilliant neurosurgeon, damages his hands in a car accident. In an attempt to regain fine motor function, he travels to Nepal, where he encounters a secret society of magicians protecting the Earth from otherdimensional threats. Thereafter he crosses paths with Dormammu and his minions, leading to a battle that ranges across time and space.
2. The Cast
Benedict Cumberbatch stars as Doctor Stephen Strange, with Chiwetel Ejiofor as his frenemy Mordo. Rachel McAdams, Tilda Swinton, Benedict Wong, and Mads Mikkelson also appear in supporting roles.
Cumberbatch makes a good Doctor Strange, though I thought some of the humor was kind of forced. The rest of the cast is solid, though there's something about Tilda Swinton's role in the movie that doesn't sit right. It's as if she's only there to give Strange motivation, or to provide requisite plot twists.
Mads Mikkelson's character might have also been fleshed out better. He spends most of the movie being a generic bad guy, though the conversation he has with Strange in the Sanctum Sanctorum is one of the more interesting parts of the movie.
3. The Director
I'd seen all of Scott Derrickson's other movies before this one, so I was quite familiar with his work. I've always thought that his horror films emphasized style over substance, and Doctor Strange hasn't done anything to change my mind. What really carries this movie is the visuals, and I doubt Derrickson had much of a hand in those.
4. Special Effects
I went into this movie knowing that it was never going to be as trippy (Ditkoesque?) as I wanted a Doctor Strange movie to be. Given that Marvel Studios is obligated to tie this film into other, existing properties, there was no way it was going to be weird enough to completely satisfy me.
This said, some of the visuals in this movie are truly spectacular. If I have a complaint about a general lack of "tripiness," it's only with regard to the plot, which is very formulaic. The magic battles alone make this movie more interesting than some other Marvel films, but those looking for Inception-level heights of philosophical trickery are going to be disappointed by this movie.
5. Compared to Other Marvel Movies, It's...
Pretty good. Not one of the best, not the first Iron Man, but I actually liked it more than the recent Civil War, and Ant Man before that. If there's ever a Doctor Strange 2, I think they could take the character to some really interesting places.
6. What Doctor Strange Tells Us About Upcoming Marvel Films
First of all, what's next? In May we get Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, and in July it'll be Spider-Man: Homecoming. About this time next year we'll see Thor: Ragnarok, and the following February it'll be Black Panther. Then, in May 2018, we'll finally get to see Avengers: Infinity War, in which Doctor Strange ought to be appearing.
As far as I could tell from a first viewing, there's nothing relating to Guardians, Spider-Man, or Black Panther in this movie. As far as Thor: Ragnarok goes, there is a mid-credits scene that sets up that movie nicely. And as for Infinity War, they do mention that the Eye of Agamotto is an infinity stone in the film.