Doctor Strange review – Yet another mightily entertaining Marvel movieCultureCinemaMovie reviews
A feast for the eyes and overall delight, Doctor Strange is yet another success from Marvel as it introduces audiences to the magical realm of its universe – and spectacularly so. Neuroscientist Doctor Stephen Strange, an egotistical and not entirely likable individual, finds himself thrown into the world of mysticism where not only must he master the spiritual arts to take on Kaecilius (Mads Mikkelsen) – a mystic gone rogue – but also have his ego slapped into submission by The Ancient One (a bald Tilda Swinton). On Strange’s journey from charmless to charming hero, director Scott Derrickson presents a masterclass in how to do CGI right; time itself is manipulated and bent in kaleidoscopic fashion as good battles evil, and it is done with such sophistication that it’s reminiscent of Christopher Nolan’s Inception. However, in a crucial difference, Derrickson doesn’t dwell on trying to explain the time tricks and instead simply indulges in the brilliant scenes he is able to create as cities fold into themselves, staircases curve in two, and Strange is thrown all over the place. Until, of course, he gets his red levitating cape game on.
Doctor Strange is a great watch, and magnificent as the visuals are, much of its success lies in its refusal to take itself too seriously. Cumberbatch hits the right note with his portrayal of Strange, making him just annoying enough at the outset for the audience to relish the process by which he gets put in his place. The script is sharp too; the screenwriters do a great job of modernising a comic dating back to the 1960s. The clichéd exoticism of Strange’s journey to “The East” to find his mystic way is tempered by the writers’ self-awareness as well-timed jokes about Wi-Fi passwords and the like keep the film enjoyably quick on its feet. Unfortunately, Rachel McAdams is somewhat wasted in her role as the-woman-who-has-history-with-the-hero, Christine Palmer, but as the relationship between her and Strange generally takes a back seat this is forgivable, and leaves room for development in the inevitable sequels.
Doctor Strange is not in and of itself a particularly original story, and Derrickson doesn’t try to disguise it as one; rather, he brings this new branch of the Marvel world to life with a panache that will leave fans both old and new mightily entertained.
Doctor Strange is released nationwide on 25th October 2016.
Watch the trailer for Doctor Strange here: