Film Info
Directed by: Scott Derrickson
Produced by: Kevin Feige
Written by: Jon Spaihts, Scott Derrickson, and C. Robert Cargill
Based on: Doctor Strange by Steve Ditko and Stan Lee
Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch, Chiwetel Ejofor, Rachel McAdams, Benedict Wong, Michael Stuhlbarg, Benjamin Bratt, Scot Adkins, Mads Mikkelsen, and Tida Swinton
Release Date: November 4, 2016 (Premiered on October 6 in Hong Kong)
Running Time: 115 minutes (1 hour 55 minutes)
MPAA Rating: PG-13 (for sci-fi violence and action throughout, and an intense crash sequence)
Budget: $165 million
Box Office: $165.5 million (as of the posting of this review)

Review

Doctor Strange has been a property that has been shuffled from studio to studio, writer to writer. It was in development since 1990. Finally, in 2014, Marvel Studios gave the green light to a young and ambitious director, Scott Derickson, to launch the film as part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe's Phase 3. The announcement of the film excited many of the Marvel fans, but many almost immediately began to question if Doctor Strange was too much of an obscure character to be a successful a film and even if the film could live up to the incredible and mind boggling images of the comics. By now, we should know to doubt Marvel.

The film tells the story of Dr. Steven Strange, an acclaimed and incredibly gifted neurosurgeon. When a serious car accident renders his hands shaky and medically useless, he begins to exhaust his wealth looking for a cure. When he hears of a man who began walking though having previously been declared paralyzed from the neck down, he travels to Nepal to visit a mystical healer. The healer, known as the Ancient One, displays incredible power by giving Strange an out of body experience into another dimensional plane. Strange undergoes tutelage at the hands of the Ancient One. When Strange inadvertently defends one of the Sanctums protecting Earth from the dark realm, he is tasked with fighting the men trying to hand over the Earth to the dark realm and ultimately become the Sorcerer Supreme.

This film honestly shattered all of my expectations. I was expected a long, drawn out, mess of a film. But not only is the complicated story executed so expertly and stunningly, the visuals that accompany it are astounding. This is the best looking film in the Marvel franchise. The effects are astounding and they never feel like CGI (actually, as many stunts as possible were done practically). The visuals are absolutely mind blowing and accent the story so well. It isn't all flash. It all serves a purpose.

The story is phenomenal as well. It serves an amazing introduction the character as well as supplementing moving forward in the MCU. However, unlike other films in the series, it can stand alone and the references to the MCU, while very minimal, stand to propel the ever growing story forward. The mid-credits scene sets up Thor: Ragnarok very smartly and the post-credits scene sets up the villain of the following film in a beautiful pay off.

Not a scent of the $165 million budget feels unused. So much care goes into the film. Cumberbatch is a more than capable lead and his performance, as well as that of Tida Swinton, accents the greatest elements of this film. All in all, this is the best film of the MCU thus far. It makes me, and will undoubtedly make you, incredibly excited for the next installment of this mammoth franchise.