If initial reactions from film critics provide a good gauge, then Marvel Studios has another winner on its hands in director Scott Derrickson's "Doctor Strange."
The review embargo doesn't lift until Sunday, but critics who attended advanced screenings took to Twitter overnight to offer early impressions, with many praising its stunning visual effects.
Peter Sciretta of Slashfilm wrote, "'Doctor Strange's' action set pieces make an MC Escher paintings look tame. Some really great, clever, incentive stuff. Worth the 3D ticket." Alex Welch of Screen Rant said the film "has some of the best action sequences in any Marvel movie EVER." TheWrap's Umberto Gonzalez called it "SPELLBINDING! Hot movie! Great performances especially Cumberbatch as Strange, storytelling, & incredible visual effects!" Fandango's Erik Davis spoke highly of the action sequences, calling it "unlike anything Marvel's done. There are so ferociously loopy, frenetic & nerdy, I adore them."
Mashable's Josh L. Spoockey praised "Doctor Strange's" magic, saying it "makes HARRY POTTER's look like parlour tricks. Dark & spooky psychedelic horrors, abracadabra wowie zowie. Loved it." His assessment also turned somewhat political: "DOCTOR STRANGE = YES on California Proposition 64 because I want some of whatever Marvel has been smoking and I want it stat."
The stars of "Doctor Strange" also received praise, with Spoockey calling them "as multi-dimensional as they can be. Their setups & payoffs are dazzling sleights of hand." Anna Klassen of Bustle said it was "a whole lot of fun watching Cumberbatch be an American asshole. Also, a bit of an acid trip. See on empty stomach."
There was some mild criticism, too, with Collider writing, "not going to say DOCTOR STRANGE is the best Marvel movie. It’s not. But it’s an awesome Doctor Strange movie with visuals that will floor u." Indiewire's David Ehrlich called it "guilty of *all* the usual Marvel movie problems, but Tilda & some VERY trippy visuals make it a spectacle worth savoring."
Mike Ryan of Uproxx compared Marvel Studios' newest charmer, Stephen Strange, to Tony Stark. "I liked DOCTOR STRANGE. The most self-contained Marvel movie in a long time. Fun visuals. Almost felt like a reboot of the first IRON MAN. In that it feels obvious that asshole yet charming Stephen Strange is here to eventually take the place of asshole yet charming Tony Stark. Strange and Stark are *almost* the same character. Makes sense now they'd hire big star Cumberbatch to phase in while Downey phases out."
Finally, Mark Hughes of Forbes estimated the box office potential compared to "Thor: The Dark World," "If 'Doctor Strange' enjoys good reviews and a similarly good audience grade, then I am betting it will see stronger legs than the 'Thor' sequel, especially overseas."
Opening Nov. 4, "Doctor Strange" stars Benedict Cumberbatch, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Rachel McAdams, Benedict Wong, Michael Stuhlbarg, Benjamin Bratt, Scott Adkins, Mads Mikkelsen and Tilda Swinton.