Doctor Strange (2007, 76 minutes)
Plot: After suffering a career ending injury, a brilliant but arrogant doctor seeks a cure but finds himself on a far different journey.
Source material: This is essentially the classic origin of the character shaped into a film. In fact I wouldn’t be shocked if the live action film winds up feeling a lot like this. It’s such a solid example of the origin template. The film draws heavily on the comics, packing in a solid amount of references in only 75 minutes.
Animation: Solid but maybe not earth shattering. At times the animation felt very TV, especially in the fights. It’s a bit stiff here and there, with a number of shots not flowing quite as they might on a bigger film. It does however have a great look with really strong scenery and demons that pose a real threat. There is great character design work throughout. But most importantly, there are more than a few solid moments that capture Steve Ditko.
Script: This is the giant winner of this project. Greg Johnson scripted from a story by him and Craig Kyle and he delivers something genuinely strong. This follows the template of the big blockbusters quite well. Strange is a strongly etched character and his journey feels real. It’s solidly paced too. A coworker noted this could easily be the film script. Not wrong.
Voice Acting: Not bad but not spectacular. Unlike with DC’s animation, Marvel went strictly with voice actors which was nice to hear. That said, while Bryce Johnson did a great job in the title role, nobody else really grabbed my attention. It’s all fairly par work, and honestly a tad bit TV.
Final Rating: Going with a very warm 4/5. This is a phenomenal Doctor Strange movie on a script level and everything else is at least stronger than the norm. Easily the very best Marvel animated film.