Marvel Studios’ hotly-anticipated Doctor Strange has begun screening for film critics ahead of its October 28th theatrical debut in some regions of the world (the film hits U.S. theaters on November 4th). While no major outlets have – as of this writing – published a full review of the film, writers for a number of major movie/TV news outlets have already taken to social media services (like Twitter) in order to share their immediate first impressions of the mystical action-adventure.
Doctor Strange stars Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock) as the former surgeon turned Sorcerer Supreme, Stephen Vincent Strange, and was co-written/directed by Scott Derrickson of The Exorcism of Emily Rose and Sinister fame. It’s worth noting that the early thoughts posted immediately after screenings to social media are not necessarily reflective of what the general critical reception for a movie will be. It’s entirely possible that full reviews from these same writers, editors, podcasters and so forth, behind the following Doctor Strange reactions will contain more specific criticism or greater nuance when expanded to full reviews.
With that in mind: Marvel fans and/or fans of the Doctor Strange character will likely feel encouraged by these early responses to the film. The first wave of reactions (see below) paint a picture of a movie that is grounded in the familiar Marvel Cinematic Universe template, yet still delivers a fun new characters and a different kind of world.
Overall, the reactions are positive, though it’s also clear that concerns about the character of Stephen Strange – a brilliant but arrogant surgeon who loses full use of his hands in an accident and seeks a magical cure, only to discover his potential to build a new life as a practitioner of the magic arts himself – being overly similar to other Marvel heroes (specifically, Robert Downey Jr’s Tony Stark) have been born out. Still, most of the reactions praise Cumberbatch’s performance in the title role and heap accolades on the film’s mind-bending visuals and Michael Giacchino’s unusual score (following recent criticism of the MCU’s usage of overly-similar music).
Time will tell if these early reactions are indicative of what both the critical and audience response to Doctor Strange will look like overall. Nevertheless, following on the heels of Marvel Studios’ well-received Captain America: Civil War – the film that kicked off the so-called “Phase 3″ of the MCU – earlier this year, it sound as though Marvel Studios’ latest release will keep their winning streak alive – and could potentially be one of the bigger films of the Fall Holiday season.