I’m going to start this review by saying, if you know nothing at all about Doctor Strange and you want to go into the upcoming MCU movie that way, you probably shouldn’t read this review. Most notably, his arch-nemesis is mentioned in this, and he is scheduled to be in the upcoming movie, however, they’ve not addressed that in the trailers.
Other than that note, this shouldn’t have any spoilers, because the storyline seems to be completely different.
I really love Doctor Strange, he’s probably (okay, definitely) my favorite Marvel Super Hero and I’ve been reading a lot of his comics lately. This movie is, if you’re looking for a way to get into the character, the best place to start.
Possibly the best thing about this movie, was their interpretation of Doctor Strange’s best friend Wong. In the comics, Wong is little more than Doctor Strange’s servant (although, more recent comics, The Oath and Doctor Strange 2015 in particular have developed their friendship and given Wong a bit of spotlight), however, this movie is one of the first to expand upon that. The character in the MCU is supposed to be heavily influenced by that.
Mordo, Strange’s nemesis is also pretty well done, and while cliche, isn’t as cliche as he is in most of the comics. Dormammu, the main villain of the movie who is probably one of the most dangerous Marvel villains ever, is also well done and surprisingly frightening for a kid’s movie.
The animation itself is great, and reminds me of anime, although, with its own distinct style. Doctor Strange looks fantastic (I really love his hair, okay?), in fact, all of the characters do as well as the scenery. The magic is not only well animated, but also well explained and seems to have believable limits.
I rarely have an entire section of a review of things I didn’t like, but this one really needed that, because there is one thing that this movie got horribly, horribly wrong.
Doctor Strange heals his hands.
I know that seems like a strange (see what I did there) thing to get hung up over, but I’ll explain why its such a big deal. Doctor Strange has never healed his hands in the comics. Never. Not once. It’s actually a huge part of his character and one of the reasons I love him so much. He’s not perfect, in fact, he’s proof that you don’t have to be a perfect, healthy person in order to make a difference.
Alright, its technically a lie to say he never heals his hands, but the comic that he did that in is considered non-canon so it doesn’t count.
He also, fun fact, suffers from PTSD (which wasn’t covered at all in this movie, but because its a kid’s movie, I’ll give it a pass) and I really hope that they’ll cover that in the MCU. As someone who has recently been told may be suffering from PTSD this means a great deal to be.
The Cloak of Levitation (the red one that he’s always shown as wearing) is never once shown to be sentient. It very much has a personality in the comics and it looks as though it will in the movie, so its a bit sad that the kid’s movie didn’t take the time to add in the character.
I do love this movie, and I will almost definitely watch it again before I go see the movie in November (and yes, I promise I will be reviewing that and I will be in costume). If you’re interested in Doctor Strange, and, if you read this far into the review I presume you are, you should consider watching it. Or if you’re afraid you’ll be completely lost in what is shaping up to be the trippiest movie in the MCU this will teach you the main players.