It's been a long time coming, but the advent of the so-called Cosmic MCU was always going to be a major gamble for Marvel. Even with a great cast, a hugely talented director and a budget to really show off some stunning effects and set-pieces, Doctor Strange was never a sure thing, and given what potentially comes next, it was also one of the most highly pressured of all of the studio's releases.
Luckily, it's mostly excellent. It is pregnant with stunning visuals and has an unrivalled commitment to spectacle on a different scale to anything ever seen in Marvel films before. And crucially for Marvel, it not only offers hope for more supernatural MCU projects and a deeper exploration of the Multiverse, but it also offers instant promise for more Doctor Strange movies and for the MCU beyond Phase 3.
In short, it ticks every requirement Marvel must have drawn up for it at the very earliest planning meetings. Kevin Feige cane once more crow about a success, but it isn't flawless by any means, and drilling down into the detail reveals some things that hold it back from true greatness.
Here's exactly how Doctor Strange stacks up: please be aware that there's a general mild spoiler warning on this article.
Starting with the positives...