Doctor Strange ★★★★

A solid origin story elevated by mind-blowing effects (you've never seen anything like this), Giacchino's excellent score, and a well-cast, talented group of actors led by a great Cumberbatch who is clearly having the time of his life playing the magical, Mister/Doctor/Sorcerer Supreme. The humour stands out too. Was worried Strange would be a little too Tony Stark-esque but both the script and Cumberbatch's portrayal make it something different yet just as appealing.

Two elements that really stood out to me (compared to other Marvel CU films): The set pieces felt very "comic-booky" in the very best way - from costumes to set/art design to framing. I felt like I was seeing panels come to life. Also thought it was well-paced - the first MCU film in awhile where I didn't feel it overstayed its welcome.

I've read some criticism about the female characters being thinly drawn here but I disagree. I confess I had low expectations for Rachel McAdams' character and I was pleasantly surprised by the emotional weightiness of the part (helped along by a very natural McAdams). It felt like they made the most of all of her screen time and built a compelling character without relying on a ton of exposition or damsel-esque moments (yay!) She's smart, skilled, caring and strong. I want to see more of her. And it goes without saying that Tilda is the perfect Ancient One. She has a lot of exposition to throw out there (no way around that) but she manages to be imposing/layered/mysterious and in a few great moments, incredibly vulnerable. In fact, I'd say that aside from Strange, the Ancient One, Christine and Wong kept my attention the most. Both Ejiofor and Mikkelsen are great as well but the others stood out more for me.

Doctor Strange will return...and I, for one, cannot wait.