How strange can Marvel get? Pretty strange, according to early reviews for Doctor Strange that say the upcoming film’s visual effects borrow heavily from co-creator Steve Ditko’s psychedelic artwork in the Sorcerer Supreme’s comic books. Critics agree that the film looks as though Ditko’s hella bonkers panels have crossed a plane of reality and come to life.
Though plagued with yet another weak love interest and ineffectual villain (despite great actors like Mads Mikkelsen doing great work), Doctor Strange upends the traditional superhero origin story format with inventive and outlandish visual trickery. Director Scott Derrickson clearly isn’t afraid to get weird, and critics who saw the film this weekend are loving it.
“They’re so dazzling that it’s easy to forget were watching another origin story,” says Mike Ryan from UPROXX about the visuals, adding that they’re “dazzling” and recommends the 3D. David Ehrlich of IndieWire describes the film as “shot through a kaleidoscope” (it’s a compliment).
Hit up the nerdier outlets who definitely have long boxes in the office and that’s where the Ditko name-dropping begins. “Visually, Doctor Strange is stunning,” says Eric Goldman of IGN, who says comic fans will be “pleased to see the art of Doctor Strange co-creator Steve Ditko is paid proper respect.”
“VFX technology has advanced to the point where the kaleidoscopic iridescence of Ditko’s original artwork can actually be represented and even surpassed onscreen,” writes Polygon’s Allyson Gronowitz, who recommends one to “fork over the extra few bucks” for 3D to “experience” the film’s “dazzling interdimensional cosmos.”
“These cities don’t just bend but shatter into fractal forms and turn and spin like gears,” writes Helen O’Hara for GQ UK. “The Doctor’s trips on the astral plane and through parallel dimensions are mind-bending too, with neon-tinged shapes that reflect Steve Ditko’s ground-breaking drawings in the original Sixties comics as well as every astronomy documentary you’ve ever seen.”
Doctor Strange releases in theaters on November 4.