(We chose to skip Spiderman; I don’t think it adds much to the MCU.)
This film is very, very silly.
Firstly, Benedict Cumberbatch’s accent. Very silly.
Secondly, the CG. It’s a bit too in love with some of the effects. And they just get a bit… kiddy-kaleidoscopic.
Mostly, I think it feels uncomfortable with the mystical nature of what it’s trying to do. With the exception of the Thor movies, the MCU is resolutely science fiction – it’s drugs or radiation or tech. Even the Thor movies kind of try to skip over the fantastical elements of being gods – I know they use the Bifrost and so on, but Thor himself tells Jane that what she’s talking about (Einstein-Rosen bridges etc) is just another word for… . What Thor can do is just an ability, not so much being a god. Here… while, yes, there’s a bit of vague handwaving about the multiverse, this is trying to be all mystical while simultaneously (it seems to me) being a bit embarrassed about that.
The movie isn’t a complete loss. It has Chiwetel Ejiofor. And Benedict Wong. And Mads Mikkelsen as an entirely acceptable villain.
I do not, though, like Steven Strange. He’s an arrogant twat without Tony Stark’s redeeming features of a) a good line in snark, b) attempts to genuinely do better, c) Pepper, d) Mickey Rourke (ok, that might be rectified in the sequel), and e) tin suits rather than an uppity cloak. Also, his facial hair is ridiculous.
The cloak is actually another thing that’s ok about the film. But there’s a bit too much playing up its ?sentience, which as a result got old faster than it should have.
I don’t mind Tilda Swinton in the role as the Ancient One, considering the position in isolation. I do have a problem with the fact that the film made the character “Celtic” (whatever that means) rather than from [somewhere in the Himalayas], as the comics portray her (him) – given the initiate school is actually in Kathmandu, that seems a bit off.
The film is necessary within the context of the “Infinity Saga” – we need to know what the Time Stone can do, and that it’s protected. I feel like it could have had a better vehicle than this.