In the view of Variety‘s Peter Debruge, Doctor Strange (Disney, 11.4) “shares the same look, feel, and fancy corporate sheen as the rest of Marvel’s rapidly expanding Avengers portfolio, but it also boasts an underlying originality and freshness missing from the increasingly cookie-cutter comic-book realm of late.”
Debruge then calls Doctor Strange “Marvel’s most satisfying entry since Spider-Man 2, and a throwback to M. Night Shyamalan’s soul-searching identity-crisis epic Unbreakable, which remains the gold standard for thinking people’s superhero movies.”
That’s a recommendation?
I distinctly recall not being especially impressed, much less feeling “terrifically satisfied”, by Spider Man 2, which is otherwise known as “the Alfred Molina Doc Ock one.” And I regard Unbreakable, which arrived in the immediate wake of The Sixth Sense, as a quirky non-starter in the Shyamalan canon. I felt distinctly underwhelmed as I shuffled out of the Los Angeles all-media screening and saying “that’s it?” to a couple of colleagues. I remember Gregg Kilday repeating “they call me Mr. Glass!” during a post-screening discussion on the sidewalk, and my saying that any film that announces the fate of a major character with a freeze-frame title card at the conclusion is doing something wrong.