This movie was insanely good. I've been a Dr. Strange fan since childhood and that may be coloring my perception, so take my review with a grain of salt, but, as far as I'm concerned, this movie was perfection.
The special effects were OUT OF THIS WORLD. Yes, most of it we've seen before in Inception, but in this movie it actually makes sense. The plot was tight. The emotional arc was steady (not an easy feat with one of the most bizarre origin stories in comicbookdom--from surgeon to master sorcerer, really?) Even the romantic arc was perfectly appropriate. My favorite part, though, was the magic. Dr. Strange has a pretty complicated magical system based on parallel dimensions, artifacts, and relics. The spell casting consists of hand gestures and fire sigils which resemble old-fashioned Spyrograph designs. It's a far-fetched hodgepodge and yet the movie made sense of it all.
Benedict Cumberbatch's performance was spot on, but the real star of the show were the visuals. This Dr. Strange universe is a tough one to translate to screen with its odd mix of seventies psychedelia, beatnik mysticism, and Salvador Dalí weirdness. I mean, look at this panel.
You know the Lucasfilm techies hit the bottle hard after they saw that.
Needless to say, I was very skeptical about this movie. I really expected it to end up as a big flop, the final code to the Fantastic Four and Howard the Duck fiascos. Even Cumberbatch couldn't make me optimistic about this film. When Tilda Swinton was announced as The Ancient One, i just about gave up hope.
But I was completely wrong. Well, not about Tilda who was the weakest part of the movie, but I was wrong about the rest. The film was witty, visually arresting, and exciting. For us longtime fans it was two-an-a-half hours of pure joy. When Dr. Strange puts on the cloak in this scene, the audience in my movie theatre broke into applause.
Go see it. It's fantastic.