First, let’s talk about the special effects in this movie… amazing! It has some of the best I’ve ever seen, and this is a very heavily CGI driven movie, but it never breaks the immersion of the viewer, which is impressive.
Pulling strikes and pretending they hit a ‘magical shield’, and making it believable is a feat all on its own, and this movie does it very well. The spell casting and hand movements that go along with it are done very well, and don’t look silly at all like one would imagine they might.
The casting and performances for this movie are fantastic as well. Cumberbatch as Dr. Stephen Strange just works. He really brings the character to life, and is the perfect combination of intelligent, arrogant, witty and charming. He has great chemistry with Rachel McAdams, who is also very good. Mads Mikkelsen plays a great bad guy Kaecilius, although I would have liked a little more back story on him so he wasn’t just the “bad guy” and we better understood his motivations.
I don’t want to give too much away so I’m not going to go too in-depth, but if I had to be really picky there are a few things I would have liked explained better. First, how the powers worked, and how powerful Stephen actually is (in the comics he is one of the most powerful beings in existence). We get a very quick training montage with very little explanation and all of a sudden Strange is as powerful as masters that have been training for decades (especially in martial arts training, this doesn’t make much sense… this is not Kung Fu Panda). I also, like I said above, would have liked more character development of the villain Kaecilius, as well as more back story on The Ancient one, but I realize that would have been hard to do, and definitely would have added to the run time.