The Source for Parents

Movie Reviews
by Jonathan McKee and Todd Pearage

Doctor Strange (2/28/2017)

Rated PG-13 for sci-fi violence and action throughout, and an intense crash sequence.

Starring Benedict Cumberbatch, Rachel McAdams, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Tilda Swinton, Benedict Wong and Mads Mikkelsen

Directed by Scott Derrickson (The Exorcism of Emily Rose, Sinister, Deliver Us From Evil)

Jonathan's Rating: Rental

Todd's Rating: Worth Buying

Dynamic ImageTODD’S WORD: Personally, I think Iron Man is the best film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but Doctor Strange may be the most creative.

Doctor Strange follows the story of the talented neurosurgeon Doctor Stephen Strange who, after a tragic car accident, must put ego aside and learn the secrets of a hidden world of mysticism and alternate dimensions. Based in New York City's Greenwich Village, Doctor Strange must act as an intermediary between the real world and what lies beyond, utilizing a vast array of metaphysical abilities and artifacts to protect the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

JONATHAN’S WORD: I liked Benedict Cumberbatch, Rachel McAdams, and really enjoyed the character development… but I think people who are high on shrooms might enjoy the film a little more than most.

TODD’S WORD: Ha! Explain.

JONATHAN’S WORD: You know that feeling you had when you watched Alice and Wonderland for the first time?


JONATHAN’S WORD: There you go.

TODD’S WORD: Sure, this Marvel film is way more mystical than most Marvel films to date. And while it appears to be a standalone film, Marvel fans no doubt noticed plenty of hints of things to come in the Marvel Universe.

JONATHAN’S WORD: Yeah, I missed those too. I felt like I needed a comic book nerd sitting next to me to explain things.

TODD’S WORD: Regardless, Cumberbatch is the prefect Dr. Steven Strange. Every word, every mannerism is without question Dr. Strange.

JONATHAN’S WORD: He was great. Really likable even though he was unlikable, in a way. Like House is unlikable in House.

TODD’S WORD: And Mads Mikkelson was so good as the super villain, Kaecilius.


TODD’S WORD: There was a bit of controversy on the casting of Tilda Swinton as the Ancient One, but I thought she did extremely well. The rest of the supporting cast is pretty strong too, with Benedict Wong stealing a few scenes as a mystical librarian and Michael Stuhlbarg who shows up as a rival doctor.


TODD’S WORD: Director, Scott Derrickson, mostly known for a series of horror films, delivers a career-best work here. This is not the easiest or most well-known superhero, but Derrickson tells an origin story that keeps your interest the entire time. There are also plenty of laughs thrown in for good measure.

JONATHAN’S WORD: You and I will have to agree to disagree here. I really respect Derrickson as a director. I had the privilege of interviewing him right after I screened The Exorcism of Emily Rose years ago (fascinating discussion about whether horror films should have a place in the entertainment libraries of Christians), and I was really impressed with what he had to say. And that film, although terrifying, was phenomenal. I wouldn’t rank Doctor Strange above it any day.

TODD’S WORD: It probably will differ with people’s taste.

JONATHAN’S WORD: True. I think some people might really like a lot of action. Doctor Strange had so many dizzying action scenes that I honestly grew tired of them and wished for more dialogue.

TODD’S WORD: Sure, there was a lot of action, but the film also packed in a lot of dialogue. In fact, the script’s mumbo-jumbo factor was quite high. There’s a ridiculous amount of “comic book” dialogue, complete with a whole lot of references like the Eye of Agamotto and the Staff of the Living Tribunal. Those references won’t mean a thing to those who aren’t familiar with the characters or the comic books. But there are two very big reasons this movie is so great: Benedict Cumberbatch and some of the best special effects I’ve ever seen.

JONATHAN’S WORD: Exactly my point. Boring… and more boring.

TODD’S WORD: To each their own. Which is a good segue to the 3D. Doctor Strange actually makes fine, creative use of 3D, which is something you probably didn’t like—I know how you don’t enjoy 3D.

JONATHAN’S WORD: Never have.

TODD’S WORD: This movie uses the “cities-folding-on-themselves” trick (remember Christopher Nolan’s Inception?), but takes it to another level. And I loved the action sequence involving the idea of time moving forward or backwards--which is just brilliant.


TODD’S WORD: I continue to be impressed by Marvel Studios and look forward to the next one. Doctor Strange is a fun, exciting and visually thrilling movie…to me it’s “Worth Buying.”

JONATHAN’S WORD: I enjoyed the acting, and definitely bonded with several of the characters, but the dizzying effects were just too much. I don’t do shrooms, and probably won’t be watching this movie again.

There is no sex or nudity and the language is on the mild side. Like most of the Marvel films, there is a lot of action, and superhero violence. Most of which is non-graphic and bloodless.

The car crash and hospital scenes that follow can be too intense for younger viewers.

  1. There is a scene where The Ancient One challenges Dr. Strange with this,

      “Arrogance and fear still keep you from learning the simplest and most significant lesson of all.”

      Dr. Strange asks, “Which is?”
      The Ancient One replies, “It's not about you.”

    Why does The Ancient One need to say this?

  2. How does the challenge change Dr. Strange?

  3. Read James 4:6

      And he gives grace generously. As the Scriptures say, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”

  4. Why do you think God opposes the proud?

  5. What are some areas in your life where you need to be challenged to be more humble?

Jonathan McKee Jonathan McKee is the author of over twenty books including the brand new The Teen’s Guide to Social Media & Mobile Devices, If I Had a Parenting Do Over, 52 Ways to Connect with Your Smartphone Obsessed Kid; and the Amazon Best Seller - The Guy's Guide to God, Girls and the Phone in Your Pocket. He has over 20 years youth ministry experience and speaks to parents and leaders worldwide, all while providing free resources for youth workers and parents on his websites, and You can follow Jonathan on his blog, getting a regular dose of youth culture and parenting help. Jonathan, his wife Lori, and their three kids live in California.

Todd Pearage Todd Pearage is a movie buff at heart, but he's not your traditional film critic. Todd is a blue collar film geek, from his job years ago at Blockbuster to his heartfelt online movie reviews. But Todd isn't just a film geek. He has worked with middle and high school students since 1991 as a youth pastor and is currently on staff at Calvary Church in Souderton, PA. Todd and his wife Lynda have three children, Brianna, Caleb and Addyson.

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