Doctor Strange ★★½

This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

This review may contain spoilers.

My glass is half-empty on this one, alas:
1) Did we really need yet another hero's journey? Just once I'd like creators to embrace the fact that yes, this hero is exceptional, and yes, that does mean he's better than everyone else, and therefore, yes, he does not need to grow in order to realize his exceptional nature. I mean, this is a fucking Steve "objectivist" Ditko character! And they even deal with that idea half-assedly in the film: the Ancient One essentially fights fire with fire when she pits Strange against Kaecilius, a parallel that's confirmed when Kaecilius quotes Strange back to him. They are literally two sides of the same coin, but only because they both proceed from a sense of entitlement. Why not embrace the character's arrogant side rather than half-assedly arguing that his narcissism (almost) makes him an antihero? This leads me to...
2) The irritating confrontation with Dormammu. The Ancient One tells us point-blank that Strange's biggest problem is that "It's not about you." Which he then proceeds to ignore by facing Dormammu alone. This flies in the face of what Mordo, the moral-challenge-posing voice of reason, says when he suggests the Ancient One was a hypocrite: she takes all the responsibility, and shares none of it with her students, thereby placing the blame for Kaecilius's rampage on her shoulders. What, then, does it say that Strange adopts this same method and assumes that teamwork is for the birds, and only he can solve this problem? Come to think of it: why is the Ancient One telling Strange it's not about him when she practiced that exact philosophy? Isn't this a bit of ass-backwards "Do as I say, not as I do" thinking?
3) Sick of over-edited MCU-ified action scenes. Let the damn choreographers earn their checks.
4) The magic-boosting defribiliator bit is hellaciously dumb.
5) Why would Strange go from "You put something in my tea" to "Teach me" that fast? I don't believe it.
6) Strange's trip through time and space had some neat Ditko-ian moments, but that's it. Generally speaking: didn't feel personal like a Ditko drawing. And yes, I know it's odd to say that about a scene that ushers a character through realms well beyond his ken. Still, the scene left me with nothing more lasting than a "Ooh, pretty colors done on a big budget" sense of wonder. It won't stay with me.
7) The bit where Strange is somehow able to make himself visible while remaining on the astral plane? Bullshit. "Not everything needs to make sense," ok, but come on.
8) Derrickson's cold streak with women continues: Christine is pretty much a human crutch for Strange. Her story doesn't even get a perfunctory conclusion! What horseshit.
9) Couldn't they have done something with Wong other than "He laughed one time?"
10) Mordo running off at the end--after he warns Strange that there will be consequences--made me laugh my ass off. "There will be consequences...and I'm outty! You can foot the cosmic bill, man, I am DONE."