Marvel fans in the UK have it made right now. Doctor Strange, which will feature Benedict Cumberbatch in the title role of Doctor Stephen Strange, is now in theaters in the United Kingdom. For us MCU fans in the United States, we have just under a week until the November 4th release date. As the days go by, the anxiety grows, as this will be the next piece in the Marvel puzzle, following this summer’s blockbuster hit Captain America: Civil War.
Now if you are like me, every time you see something related to Doctor Strange, you want to click on it because you want to know. You want to know how it fits into the Marvel Universe as a whole. You want to know what the credit scenes will be. You want to know how well the characters are portrayed, and who is the standout. But then you remember, you do not want to read any spoilers.
Now that is where a site like Rotten Tomatoes can come in handy. For those of you who are not familiar with the site, it essentially gathers reviews for films and gives them an overall ranking based on those reviews. Now you still need to be a careful roaming through the site, as some reviews will feature spoilers. But it is certainly a nice tool to look at to get an overall feel for what to expect, without spoiling any major plot details. If you would like to take a look at the Rotten Tomatoes page for Doctor Strange, you can check it out here (And if you want just to browse the site in general, feel free to go to the homepage here).
Now as a big time MCU fan, I need to get some Marvel fix between movies. I try my best each film to avoid any major spoilers, and always find myself headed over to get a feel of the reviews when they start to pop up. So when the reviews began to drop a week ago, I did just that. As of this writing, the film sits at a very impressive 93% freshness ranking, with 77 of 83 reviews being fresh. Below you will find some of the overall takeaways I took from the reviews I went through. If you want to go into the film knowing absolutely nothing about Doctor Strange and his film’s feel, turn away now and come back after you view the film.
So first things first, this sounds like another win for Marvel. No surprises there, as we have come to expect excellence from any MCU film. Overall Benedict Cumberbatch appears to be getting solid praise for his take on the character of Doctor Strange. This is certainly a good thing to hear, as he is expected to be a major part of the MCU moving forward. He is set to become an Avenger and will have a key role in Avengers: Infinity War.
Next, up, the film is probably the weirdest Marvel film to date. With all the magic and mysticism, this was widely expected. The word “trippy” is thrown around a lot in describing the film. Part of that is attributed to the special/visual effects. These effects are garnering a ton of praise in basically every single review I have read. This review from Business Insider makes it clear the effects are reason enough to see the film.
One member of the supporting cast who appears to become a fan favorite is The Ancient One, played by Tilda Swinton. Entertainment Weekly’s review gives Swinton high praise, putting her in the same class as Cumberbatch in making this a highly successful film. She is certainly a character to keep an eye on when you see the film.
Two characters seem to be underutilized in the film. First and foremost, Mads Mikkelsen‘s villain Kaecilius appears to fall into a category that many Marvel baddies do. One that is rather one dimensional, and not used to his fullest extent. Newsweek’s review hammers home this point by claiming the character falls in line with prior villains Ronan and Malekith.
That same review also puts Rachel McAdams‘ character, Christine Palmer, in the disappointment category. It appears McAdams is not given much material to work with, and pretty much there to serve the love interest role. We know how successful those types of roles have been in the MCU thus far, with Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) and Pepper Potts (Gweneth Paltrow).
When all is said and done, this sounds like a highly entertaining film that will follow many of the basics regarding movie progression. It will stand out because of the visuals, and some highly successful performances. Strange is set to be a big player moving forward. He is clearly the one Marvel is set to push. And it sounds like most people will walk away happy. From the things I have read, this film likely ranks among the middle of the MCU, and maybe slightly higher depending on how weird you like your movie experiences.