When you grew up with Marvel Comics, as I did, everyone had their favorites. For me it was clearly Spiderman. Dr. Strange was so on out there, and Oriental in character that it didn’t make my list of top five fav ravs. But comics are one thing, movies are another. For example, I loved the Fantastic Four comics, but the several attempts to film those stories turned out disastrously poorly. Not so with the Benedict Cumberbatch boot up of the Dr. Strange epic. This movie is simply excellent, and if you liked Inception and the visual deception of Inception, you will love this film. It makes Inception look like child’s play when it comes to visual CG.
By now we are all familiar with the basic secret sauce of the best Marvel movies, like say Iron Man I, or Guardians of the Galaxy I, or Antman, or at least one of the Spiderman incarnations. First of all humor is important whether it is prompted by something visual or something spoken. It shows that the story tellers don’t want us to take this too seriously, or at least they want it to be fun. Good for them. Secondly, the good guys need to be somewhat likeable even if they are head cases, or ego maniacs like Tony Stark,or have flaws. Clark Kent in the original DC comics was just not that easy to relate to— too squeaky clean. And yes, the bad guys need to be badddddddd to the bone. Thirdly, of course we need the Stan Lee cameo, ala Hitchcock. Fourthly, we need snappy dialogue and action, alternating back and forth. Fifthly, we need a postlude previewing what’s next up. In this case Dr. Strange provides a tall one for a tall Norse hero. Finally the movie needs to have some positive resolution,and while it’s o.k. to leave us a bit in suspense, it’s not o.k. to leave us in the lurch.