Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch, Rachel McAdams, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Tilda Swinton, Mads Mikkelson, Benedict Wong, Michael Stuhlbarg, and Benjamin Bratt.
Directed By: Scott Derrickson
Where I Watched it: Disney Plus
English Audio Description Available?: Yes
Narrated By: Darrin Rivetz
The Plot: I’m pretty certain I’ve done this before, but this is the origin story of Dr Stephen Strange (Cumberbatch), a brilliant and somewhat egotistical surgeon, who after barely surviving a car accident seeks out any solution he can possibly find that could lead him to a full recovery and back to the operating room. However, what he didn’t expect was that his path would lead him on a path that would rip apart everything he thinks he knows about time and space, and turn him into the Sorceror Supreme. But that’s only if he can stop Dormammu.
What Still Works: Second time around, but first time from the blind perspective. Of course, we’ve also had more time to marinate with Dr Strange, and even more recently he’s taken on the mentor role to Peter Parker in no Way Home, and will lead a sequel that is sure to bring in a million familiar faces with his upcoming sequel. Kind of like how Captain America had all those Avengers in Civil War.
So I definitely saw more of the big picture, and i couldn’t really help that. I’ve come to appreciate Strange more and more as he continues in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, so revisiting this I had a new lens. But I also couldn’t see all of those cool world bending special effects, or Stephen being shoved from his body, or that crazy intense car sequence. Also, i still remember Dormammu, and I’m pretty certain that entire scene is just one big special effect.
I had totally forgotten about Baron Mordo, or his contribution to this franchise. It’ll be interesting to see where he goes from here. I don’t know if he’s in the sequel, but i would assume so. I’ve been trying to avoid spoilers.
Still, it’s not my favorite Marvel film, nor is it my favorite introduction to a hero. however, it’s still in the top half, especially considering I’ll likely never watch Black Widow or Eternals again.
What Didn’t Work: For some reason, either because I could no longer appreciate her performance without sight, or maybe I just wasn’t feeling it, but i was so disconnected from Rachel mcAdams. And I love her as an actress. She’s Regina George after all, always and forever. So i can’t put my finger on it, but this time around I just thought she had no emotional connection to Stephen or to the film itself. She oddly felt like she was in a different film at times.
Sometimes, these normal love interests that the heroes pick up just aren’t given enough story to develop. It’s amazing how many people love Agent Carter, considering I think everyone has forgotten that Liv Tyler is technically in this universe. I think McAdams is headed more for the way of Tyler than Gwyneth Paltrow.
And of no fault to Mads Mikkelson, his villain just isn’t that interesting. Marvel solo films have struggled at times with these villains, though I feel like we said that at some point, and then Venom was like “Hold my beer”, and whatever Riz Achmed was supposed to be in that film happened.
The Blind Perspective: This film gets a 10/10 for difficulty. Not only do you have to narrate the other dimension where the world bends, things drop off, and characters stand on things we don’t normally stand on, but that car crash was well narrated, and all of the mystical stuff (spells and lassos and such) were all top notch.
Add to that the narrator’s enthusiasm, and it made for an experience. He narrated the film much like sportscasters do when they’re calling games. There were so many excited rises in his voice, it was like the first time he was watching Dr Strange was while he was narrating it, and he just couldn’t hold back that excitement. Sometimes, this wouldn’t work. Like on my recent review of the holocaust drama The Survivor, that needs to be as straight monotone as possible.
But here, he made me enjoy the experience just a little bit more the second time around, proving that excellent audio description can actually help elevate a film.
My only nit picky thing revolves around a rather simplistic description of the size of Dormammu. I’m not sure that Colossal quite does it. From what I remember, there is a rather cartoonish size difference between Dr Strange and Dormammu, which adds to the hilarity of that sequence. Maybe colossal was enough. Maybe I’m wrong. But if you’re reading this for the first time, Dormammu is fucking huge. That’s the narration you deserve.
Final Thoughts: I enjoyed this second trip down memory lane with Dr Strange. I’m excited for the sequel, and I hope Wanda resolves that thing she needs to resolve from WandaVision )no spoilers!).
Final Grade: B+