First I should just say that I’m not really a Doctor Strange fan. I’ve certainly read stories with the character that I love, but that’s when he’s surrounded by other characters. I just don’t feel compelled by solo stories about the character. So on one hand this movie had to convince me that Doctor Stephen Vincent Strange was worthy of a solo story.
On the other hand my expectations for this movie were incredibly low. Frankly this movie had one major job as far as I was concerned, and it was to capture the major thing that does make Doctor Strange comics worthwhile: the visuals. Some of the city distortion and twisting stuff is neat, but none of the visual effects feel unique or interesting. It all feels a little tired and recycled. When the movie finally reaches its climactic moment, which is actually a conceptually neat idea, it falls super flat for me because of the visuals.
I had a not-unpleasant time getting to that climax, but a lot of that was contingent upon the idea of a pending visually impressive finale.
I just don’t care about any of the characters. Doctor Strange in particular is an arrogant narcissistic asshole, and while he does have an arc to overcome some of that, he kind of never comes back far enough for me. General motivations for characters feel arbitrary, serving mostly the whims of the plot. The best character in the movie is Doctor Strange’s cape.
The rules for this world of magic just aren’t delineated well. Too much time is spent talking about abstract ideas about what is and is not permitted, even though none of that ultimately matter. What ultimately matters is simple good vs evil stuff, which is fine and what I like, but so much time is wasted on bullshit that doesn’t matter. Scenes of characters talking about bullshit that makes no sense and doesn’t matter that go one for like 5 times longer than they have any right to.
This is a movie where I was pretty indifferent while watching it, but having finished it I just have nothing to recommend about it. This is the worst kind of movie because it’s just kinda boring but not bad enough to be funny or interesting. There were a few funny bits and it has the Marvel polish of competence, but this was a pretty worthless movie going experience.