Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch, Tilda Swinton, Benjamin Bratt, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Rachel McAdams, Linda Louise Duan (Rated M – 115 min).
When is a superhero movie not a superhero movie – when it is Doctor Strange, the latest spectacular vision in phase three of the Marvel universe roll out of comic book character adapted films.
There will be no spoilers in this review so I suggest catch the movie quick as certain events throughout are so mind boggling and fantastic, you don’t want to lose the surprise factor. Think Inception (2010), a film that takes two sittings to adjust to.
Shedding his British accent this time around, Benedict Cumberbatch has unique style in whatever he appears in, so the towering oddity which is Stephen Strange perfectly fits the acting components which has brought him to the wonderful world of Marvel. A famed neurosurgeon, he is irritating, obnoxious, rude, brilliant at his job and knows it.
Stephen takes a journey to enlightenment reluctantly at first, before eventually seeing the light, literally, albeit in a dark dimension. After a car accident occurs, he is robbed of physical hand movement, an essential capability for his career which could be over until given a second chance by an unlikely duo.
Androgynous Tilda Swinton, I adore Tilda (she could have gender swapped Stephen Strange amazingly herself), is the Ancient One who delivers the news to the egocentric Doc that he has a future in the paranormal alternative universe and could be healed, forever. Her disciple Mordo (the outstanding Chiwetel Ejiofor) becomes a mentor.
Rules within certain superhero themed stories are removed making for weird, powerful, even thought-provoking content far from straight forward saving the day agenda. One particular scene where Strange is given a task on the top of Mount Everest is shot like you’re actually on top of the summit with him. Exciting, intelligent science-fiction storytelling.
Special effects are the seed of wide-eyed amazement that astounds the senses while creeping you out, a major feat really. The plot delivers a bad guy, devilish actor from television’s Hannibal, Mads Mikkelson is all teeth eyes and snarl, worthy of the best Marvel Villains, while sweet Rachel McAdams (The Notebook, Morning Glory) is more than just a damsel in distress, thankfully.
Let your imagination run wild, it’s funny too! A big screen must-see! old on to your popcorn, it may just fly everywhere as you jump in delight.
WARNING: Don’t leave before the end credits are finished rolling, this is really just an introduction to Doctor Strange and the connection to other marvel characters.
Shane A. Bassett