MOVIE REVIEW – DOCTOR STRANGE
Doctor Strange is a 3D extravaganza. This might easily be Marvel’s most visually dazzling film yet as part of their Cinematic Universe. Warning, spoilers ahead…
One of the strongest characteristics that the Marvel Cinematic Universe has done since it began almost a decade ago is their casting. We saw this with Robert Downey, Jr. as Iron Man and Chris Evans as Captain America. We’ve even seen it in other Marvel properties that don’t make up the universe with Ryan Reynolds and Hugh Jackman as Deadpool and Wolverine respectfully. Now add Benedict Cumberbatch to this impressive list. He is without question, Doctor Stephen Strange. The entire film hinges on his performance that if he doesn’t deliver, all the special effects in the world would not have saved this new entry in this ever-expanding universe.
Like so many of its predecessors, Doctor Strange follows a formula that introduces a protagonist that is hard to relate to or even like. Cumberbatch plays Dr. Stephen Strange, a gifted and arrogant neurosurgeon with a god like touch with his hands that makes him the very best. As you would expect, his arrogance comes at heavy price when while texting and driving, Strange crashes his Lamborghini and nearly dies. The biggest casualty is magical hands is now a mangled mess with irreversible nerve damage.
Following the material source to the letter, Strange heads to Nepal in search of Eastern mysticism and meets Master Mordo (Chiwetel Ejiofor) who brings him to meet the Ancient One played with to perfection by Swinton even though her casting was one of great controversy given that the character in the comic books created by Steve Ditko and Stan Lee in 1963, was an Asian man. I understand the outcry but regardless, Swinton nails the character and should be applauded for a wonderful and mesmerizing performance. Throw into an already impressive class of actors, is Mads Mikkelsen as Kaecilius, a former disciple of the Ancient One who uses dark magic and wants the power to control time. All the wizardry feels very much like we entered an extension of the world of Harry Potter. Doctor Strange also co-stars Rachel McAdams who plays Christine Palmer, an ER doctor who loves him despite all his character flaws.
Can anyone who is so set in his ways and who seemingly is always in control, give up control and surrender to faith and belief? That’s exactly what Cumberbatch’s Stephen Strange is asked to do. Give Marvel all the credit in the world for branching into all avenues of their character archives to give new life to characters that to be honest might have been long forgotten. And now thanks to Cumberbatch, who is one of my favorite actors, he breathes new life in a refreshing and fierce way that makes Doctor Strange the new must see Marvel film. And just wait till you see the Cloak of Levitation. WOW!
As with all Marvel films, make sure to stick through the final credits. There are two post credit scenes, one that brings the good Doctor into the world of the Avengers.
Directed by: Scott Derrickson
Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch, Tilda Swinton, Rachel McAdams, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Mads Mikkelsen, Michael Stuhlbarg and Benedict Wong
PG13 115 Mins
DOCTOR STRANGE – **** (out of 5 stars)
May the Dork be with you,
The Dork Knight