If you've seen "Inception," you'll quickly understand the shtick of #Marvel's latest entry into the superhero universe, "#Doctor Strange." He can shift time, manipulate worlds and do a lot of other magic tracks. It's another appealing superhero in their canon, but one that lacks the same charm and shackles of previous forays.

About the film

"Doctor Strange" is a superhero film, the fourteenth one in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Directed by Scott Derrickson ("Sinister") and starring Benedict Cumberbatch ("Sherlock") as the titular hero, the film was released on November 4, 2016.

After losing his ability to be a neurosurgeon in an arrogantly-caused car crash, Stephen Strange distances himself from his friends and colleagues and goes to Nepal in a last ditch effort to restore functionality to his hands. While there, he discovers mysticism under the guise of the Ancient One and becomes entangled in the prevention of a plot to destroy the world. Strange must choose sides and confront the darkness that threatens to swallow the Earth whole.

Seen it all before

Cumberbatch serves as a convincing Doctor Strange. For the first half of the movie, he's one of the most unlikable heroes ever, one that's hard to get behind. But he warms up to his heroic side and immediately becomes one of the more commanding presences in the Marvel universe.

His presence doesn't distinguish itself much from the rest of the canon, though. His entry seems just like every other origin story thrown into the fire -- a need to overcome adversity and save the world while discovering the true extent and purpose of his powers. Seems familiar.

This film is missing two things that make the Marvel movies what they are: humor and rules.

There aren't very many funny things happening in this movie; the film and the writing takes itself very seriously. The only genuine attempts at humor seem to rest in weird tonal moments: after Strange does battle with a nemesis, they very quickly find themselves chatting like old compatriots. The film's climactic battle boils down to a word game, not the powers that help Strange reach the key moment.

And speaking of powers, Strange's powers are pretty cool, but they feel disingenious in the Marvel world. Heroes used to be limited by what they couldn't do, either physically or morally -- "Captain America: Civil War" was entirely about that. Now, heroes can do whatever they want, physical limitations and consequences be damned.

The dizzying effects are cool, but the credit sequence for "Doctor Strange" seemingly lasts as long as the film itself. If a movie is going to have a wow factor with the action, the rest of the pieces have to come together; the movie was entertaining, but nothing terribly special.

Rating: B #MovieReview