[Ashley] Welcome to The Know, I’m Ashley Jenkins. [Jon] And I’m Jon Risinger. [A] By the hoary hosts of Hoggoth… [A] I’m sorry.
[J] You feel good about that one? [A] No, I already started off on a low-point. So “Doctor Strange” releases next week, it’s November 4th, marking the 14th entry into Marvel’s massive cinematic universe. Yeah, 14! [J] That’s a lot. [A] That’s where we’re at now. [J] However, Marvel, as always seems to be the case, is fairly confident in its new movie because reviews are already starting to drop, which means, we can pore over them with our third eyes and ask- We’re going to do all those jokes-
[A] Just the two eyes. [J] -the entire time with these stupid Doctor Strange references? Let’s find out: is it good? [A] You’re a wizard, Herry! [J] (laughing) You couldn’t even say Harry right! [A] (laughing)
[J] Herry~ [A] Herry- um, and by the wondrous wand of Wandoom- [J] (heavy sigh) [A] Hey, look, I’m bringing it back, at least-
[J] By the Eye of Agamotto and- and- [A] All of those things. So far, the answer is: yeah, it’s real good. “Doctor Strange” is currently sitting at a 96% rating on Rotten Tomatoes with 23 reviews. That number is definitely gonna change a little bit as more reviews start coming in, but so far, that’s a really solid start. [J] Yeah, that’s not bad. Just to get a slightly different data point, “Strange” is also polling down a score of 73 on Metacritic. That might sound low, but remember movies-
[A] That’s a bit of a swing. [J] Yeah, movies scale kind of weird on Metacritic. That comes out to around 3 out of 4 stars, which is totally acceptable in movie-dom. [A] As for how that early percentage compares to Marvel’s other outings, they’re getting just a little bit too numerous to list all of them out at this point, there are 14 of them now, but it’s in pretty respectable company compared to the most recent releases. “Civil War” closed out at 90%, “Ant Man” was better than expected at 81%, “Age of Ultron” landed at 75%, “Guardians of the Galaxy” at 91, “Winter Soldier” at 89, and “Thor: Dark World” at 66%. So, we’re looking more at the like a “Guardians of the Galaxy” end of the spectrum here, which is a great end to be on. [J] I like Thor 2, what’s wrong with people? [A] Ehh.. [J] The common magical thread among the reviews and critics seems to be that Benedict Cumberbatch is outstanding as the arrogant surgeon turned super sorcerer, Doctor Strange.
[A] We knew you could do it, Curberger. [J] Good lord. Plus, many consider it to be one of Marvel’s funniest movies yet, mostly because it’s cleverly aware of just how ridiculous its own premise is. [A] Which is interesting, ’cause that’s not something that’s come up in the trailers at all. [J] No.
[A] The trailers all seem to be quite serious in tone, so knowing there’s still that sort of Marvel brand of humor is cool. [J] They did that with Thor though, ’cause Thor has an absurdity to it with all the mythology and weirdness of it, and they didn’t show that-
[A] And they just go with it. [J] Yeah, they didn’t show that in the trailers, but in the movie, there’s a lot of like, levity and like, you know, showing like, yeah, this is kind of odd. Also, there’s quite a few reviewers calling out the visual effects and imaginative fight scenes. [A] I mean, it’s basically like all “Inception” all the time, right? [J] Yeah. [A] Now, so from the Dark Dimension, the complaints about the movie in general seem to be that it’s too predictable. I mean, it’s about an egotistical rich dude who gets an injury and then learns how to be a good guy before saving the world, so not sure where they’re going with that one. It’s not like we’ve seen that in a Marvel movie before, but, sure.
[J] Yeah. Other reviewers dinged “Doctor Strange” on its less than stellar characters, while others felt that it struck just a bit too closely to Marvel’s fairly recognizable formula. Which wouldn’t too surprising, considering that this is yet another origin story, their 5th one, to be exact. [A] Right so, the criticisms aside, reviewers were by-and-large incredibly impressed with Marvel’s successful attempt to bring yet another one of their weirdest characters to life on the big screen, and for many, “Doctor Strange” was one the most refreshing super hero films yet partly because it was so weird and imaginative. [J] Yeah, Variety praised the movie’s fresh take on the MCU writing, “Yes, this new project 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.” [A] Now IndieWire, who called this Marvel’s best film since “The Avengers,” said, “Finally, for the first time since “The Avengers,” the action scenes are special. “Derrickson,” the director, “doesn’t create any sequences that are fluid and symphonic as that film’s “Manhattan fight, but he compensates for that lack of grace with a surplus of wonder, contradicting time “with space in order to create unique battles that outshine their familiar stakes.” [J] The visual effects and battles were a big shining point of “Doctor Strange” for many of the critics who have already weighed in on about the film, with many writing that they felt like “Inception” meets the “The Matrix” meets an M.C. Escher (said like Eh-skur) painting. The Hollywood- [A] Isn’t it Escher (said like Es-sure)? [off-screen voice] It’s Escher (Es-sure). [J] I- we- Es-sure, Es-skur- You don’t know. [A] He’s the- he’s the, a dream artist! He’s wonderful and magical! [J] Fine, Escher (Es-sure)! The Hollywood Reporter agreed: “These are sequences, seen to outstanding advantage in 3D, “that mind-trip-seeking audiences back in Doctor Strange’s origin days would have called ‘far-out’, “but today’s fans will simply deem ‘amazing.'” [A] I dunno, maybe we can bring “far-out” back. [J] Sure, why not? [A] Beyond the fight scenes though, the movie rises from fray, not just thanks to Strange’s clock of levitation, but also, it’s witty script, which is better than what we’re managing today. [J] Yeah. [A] Variety said of the film’s writing, “The key is an in-on-the-joke script, which Derrickson co-wrote with Jon Spaihts and C. Robert Cargill, “that ingeniously navigates major plot potholes even as it saddles its actors with ludicrous dialogue.” [J] Alright. And for most of the reviewers, that dialogue succeeded because of the skillful actors on the screen. However, not everyone agreed that the actors or the characters they were given life to did such a good job. TimeOut said of the film’s characters, “Our hero is a brittle, unlikeable snob, played by Cumberbatch as Sherlock with a” slightly “funny accent, “a sports car and slightly improved interpersonal skills. And he’s the closest we get to complex: “Swinton is basically Yoda without the humour, while poor Chiwetel Ejiofor has nothing to do “but stamp and scowl as her sturdy sidekick Mordo. The character we’re meant to care about, “Strange’s ex-girlfriend Christine (Rachel McAdams), is just a blank.” Yeah, but she’s Rachel McAdams. [J] That’s a rough thing to say. Although, to be fair, that reviewer also went on to say that the movie was super fun despite all that, so make of that what you will? [A] I hated everyone but great movie!
[J] Yeah. [A] So just to be a little bit fair here, not everyone topped their criticism off with praise. Forbes in particular panned the movie, calling it Marvel’s most formulaic super hero flick to date. Which, I mean, when you think about it, is saying something. They also compared it to “Green Lantern” which is an extra-harsh burn.
[J] Mhm. Forbes wrote of “Doctor Strange”: “It is a hodge-podge of ‘Kung Fu Panda,’ ‘Green Lantern,’ and ‘The Matrix.’ Lacking distinctive characterization, “it’s the closest thing the MCU has yet offered to a generic superhero movie.” [A] So, not everybody loved it.
[J] No. [A] Of course, the big trick is going to be whether or not viewers fall in love with Benedict Cumberbatch’s impersonation of Tony Stark, and this is a fairly important movie for Marvel’s ambitious Phase 3 content, so I’m sure Marvel’s hoping they do. It’s introducing a new batch of heroes who aren’t the main Avengers like Black Panther’s solo flick, the Wasp, and Captain Marvel. They’ve all got to follow this. [J] Yeah. Right now, early projections have “Doctor Strange” bringing in anywhere from $55 to $75 million in its opening weekend, which would actually place it just below “Ant Man”‘s starting performance. That film brought in $81 million and $38 million in its first two weekends, totaling around $520 million worldwide during its theatrical run. [A] A similar $500 to $600 million haul wouldn’t be bad news at all for the $165 million budget of “Doctor Strange” and would really bode well for future Phase 3 projects, but it would also mean Marvel is still batting below the numbers of the main Avengers solo movies. [J] That sounds like a “no shit” statement on the surface, but remember, that Marvel is getting to a point where they need to a new stand-out hero and star, especially as the original Avengers, namely Robert Downey Jr. and Chris Hemsworth, are nearing the end of their movie deals with the upcoming “Infinity Wars” pictures. [A] So maybe word of mouth and the early positive press can help cast a spell~ [J] Nope! Stop it! [A] Nooo. You can’t stop me. [J] Ugh. [A] Are you magic? [J] I’m not magic- [A] Then you cannot stop me! [J] Okay. [A] Uh, they can cast a spell~ On the movie going public- Yeah, I know it’s bad, okay? -pushing “Doctor Strange” to the kinds of money Marvel is looking for after Iron Man. [J] So, what do you guys think of the early reviews of “Doctor Strange”-
[A] More importantly, what do you think of our amazing magical terms? [J] Bad stuff. Are you planning on seeing the movie? Let us know in the comments. [A] And for more Marvel movie news and ridiculous “Doctor Strange” quotes, because we’ll have plenty of them, like this video and subscribe to The Know. [A] You know what? Like, every time I doubt, [A] every time, it turns out fine.
[J] Even “Ant Man” was…okay. [A] I thought “Ant Man” was gonna be rubbish!
[off-screen] I liked it. [J] Like it doesn’t have as much as the re-watchability as the other ones-
[A] Wait wait wait wait wait- [A] So-
[J] “Ant Man” was good. [off-screen] I just like Paul Rudd, I could watch him all day.”
[A] He gets real small, ’cause he has a special suit. Wooow! And then it turned out-
[J] Pushin’ buttons. [A] It was- it was amazing. [J] Yeah, it was pretty good.