Marvel has conducted its second preview event where they showcase some of their upcoming movie to critics and fans. Luckily I was one of the individuals at this screening. I will start out with my initial thoughts and tread into spoiler territory near the end but not without a massive indication. Here’s what I thought of Marvel’s Doctor Strange Preview:
I feel like I’ve watched a majority of the movie. This grazed over much of the first and second act with some bits of the third act. It comes as a shock seeing as just a few years ago Marvel conducted the same experiment with Guardians of the Galaxy. That turned out wonderfully as we watched the entire prison and escape scene. Which encompassed a good 14 minutes and didn’t really flesh out the movie too much. With the Guardians preview I felt like I’d seen the perfect appetizer. Doctor Strange I feel like I’ve been served 3/4ths of an entrée. They even show us the Stan Lee cameo.
We are shown Stephen Strange as both medical doctor and sorcerer. I get an Iron Man 1 vibe from his character. Strange is a smartass, pretentious, quirky, and entitled individual. Things change after a particular event that’s already teased in the trailer and he still retains some of ‘charm’ but appears to become more likable as he’s enlightened. I’m not sure if this is necessarily what I want, the structure of the movie feels very similar to Iron Man 1 as well. This was one of Marvel’s best productions with that in mind, it seems as though Marvel is setting up Strange to take the place of Iron Man. Robert Downey Jr. is likely to end his reign on the character soon. Some of the dialogue between characters landed well, some of it fell flat. You can sense Marvel’s quips and humorous moments are as prudent as ever.
What sold me on this movie is that it is visually incredible. Through magic and accessing multiple dimensions at the same time, we get this insane flare that must’ve been an editor’s nightmare. Cosmic colors galore along with buildings and landscape doubles that our character weaves around. Similar to how the city stacks itself in ‘Inception’ there’s a lot for the mind to comprehend in this visual spectacle. Often times it’s overwhelming but that’s also the element that intrigues me most. This movie is eye candy and will undoubtedly win an Oscar for Visual Effects.
VFX don’t make a movie worthwhile with that in mind. The sum of the parts must combine to make a cohesive and compelling story. Doctor Strange has some good elements going for it and some overly familiar ones as well. After the preview I’m more excited to see it. I just hope we don’t go in too familiar of territory and it’s not so much an IM1 rehash as it is its own identity. It encompasses elements of The Prestige, Inception, and Batman Begins, I want a mesh of those while still feeling fresh. Expect a full review out sometime near the end of the month!
Now we dig into this a little deeper for those particularly interested. MASSIVE SPOILERS FOR DOCTOR STRANGE FOLLOW BELOW YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.
I say there’s an Iron Man 1 vibe because we’re shown the very accident Strange is morphed by. While driving a lavish car, Strange gets in an accident and is sent careening off of a cliff. This accident paralyzes him and eventually he ends up in a monastery in the mountains. He is met by The Ancient One (Tilda Swinton) and he essentially mocks anything to do with magic. Then she hits him out of his body into the spirit world. Here, Strange goes on the acid trip of a lifetime. The Ancient One sends him through the galaxy and shrinks his mind to the size of an atom. After this insane 3-minute endeavor, he returns to his body and begs to be taught the ways of magic.
We see brief interactions with Wong, Karl Mordo, and Christine Palmer. Strange is an asshole, he is one of the best surgeons in the world and knows it. He refuses to accept any work that isn’t the most interesting job (with a brief reference to War Machine’s spine). We also see Mads Mikkelsen as the villain, Kaecilius. His motivation isn’t made sound just yet but he chases Strange and Mordo throughout New York City.
This cat and mouse game flips sides as Kaecilius is about to kill Strange and Strange stops and reserves time before this happens. Also they run through different/spliced universes, seeing Strange and Mordo on the side of a skyscraper with other universes and parallel NYCs in the background. Kaecilius uses a burst of magic to throw Strange and Mordo into a bus where when they hit the bus none other than Stan Lee is a passenger. He proclaims “That’s hilarious!” Before they recover themselves and continue to run from the villains.
In the mix of this we get some dialogue here and there, most of it attempts to be humorous and I’d say about it 50/50 hits and misses the mark. Another huge moment is when Strange is speaking to a huge cosmic entity. This scene is only brushed on for around 2 seconds but it appears to Dormammu, one of the earliest and primary Doctor Strange villains. He is shown as a 50 foot levitating head, pictured below.