It must be getting on for nearly 40 years since I last read a Dr Strange story and that would have been a reprint of the earlier 1960s US comic as backup feature in Marvel UK’s “The Avengers”. I found the character a good alternative to the more conventional superhero fare being reprinted. A character based on Eastern mysticism made a lot more sense than the hundreds of weird and wonderful superheroes, each with their own unique origin and costume, often lumped together into convenient groups like a Dungeons and Dragons party. (I had forgotten until researching this that Dr Strange ran the Defenders, a band of unconnected superheroes, which I now find mildly disappointing).
The film made good use of the ‘injured neurosurgeon’ origin storyline and introduced the main protagonists that Dr Strange encountered in the comics. I did feel at the time that the setup dragged on for too long before getting to the interesting stuff but on reflection this time spent on character development was probably worthwhile later on.
I knew that the special effects had to be over-the-top to match the weird and wonderful settings for the original stories and I don’t think they scrimped. The continually changing cityscape was very impressive, especially compared to the Dark Dimension which as a result seemed a bit tame.
The comedy content was spot on, especially the short scene with the cloak’s raised collar. Thankfully the Easter Egg wasn’t left until after the final credits have finished – appreciated. And a Surface product placement – makes a change for me to have something they’re trying to sell.
Overall, a great film for anyone that likes action movies but doesn’t really appreciate characters in silly costumes.