Directed by Scott Derrickson, starring Benedict Cumberbatch, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Rachel McAdams, Tilda Swinton, Benedict Wong and Mads Mikkelsen. A brilliant, but arrogant Neurosurgeon is involved in a car crash which severely damages his hands, he embarks on a journey across the world to Kamar-Taj in order to try and heal himself and regain his old life.
Marvel films have finally delved into the extreme and trippy world of magic and mysticism through the brilliant character of Doctor Stephen Strange. As far as Origin stories go, Doctor Strange has made them fun and interesting once more. While others have been entertaining such as Thor, Strange creates a level of entertainment intelligence that makes you want to look at everything on screen. The writers have done a fantastic job intelligently explaining the character with a lovely touch of a subtle comedic tone throughout. Much in the same way Iron Man once did 10 years ago, indeed the similarities between the characters is noticeable but not jarring as the characters are quite similar in many respects, even down to their very specific facial hair.
Though this is, of course, another piece in the gigantic universe that Marvel films have been building for some time, it has more than enough distinctions and unique components to play with. Strange has made a big impact for its debut and feels as though it very much owns it’s own narrative rather than a stepping stone for the bigger picture, as was the case in Iron Man 2.
Thor may have introduced us to a certain kind of magic and teleportation, but Doctor Strange plays and manipulates magic in both fight sequences and it’s use of the environment, which spends a great deal of time being manipulated and experimented with really successfully. Inception on steroids maybe an adept description of the new world we watch Strange play with.
I was most impressed by the pacing and structure of the narrative with the subtle ways in which the various key components of the character were introduced, such as the house and cloak. I was very pleasantly surprised at the twists and turns of the film and, in particular, the third act which I have found lacking in originality in Marvel films for a while.
I am an avid fan of the Doctor Strange comics, but it’s an ambitious comic when you consider the scale of its content. By this I mean the sense of the weirdness of the environment, the isolation of the characters and their relationships to one another, none of which is normal. Doctor Strange as a film really works which is a huge compliment to the director as the film has successfully introduced audiences to the weirdness that is Doctor Strange; weird but not quite Tim Burton weird, Strange weird.
My only complaint about the film is the use of Mads Mikkelson. Mads is a very powerful actor who has most memorably appeared in the TV show Hannibal, he has starred as one of my personal favourite Bond villains Le Chiffre in Casino Royale and is soon to be seen in the upcoming Rogue One Star Wars film. He is a charismatic, empathetic and powerful actor, yet he is woefully underused in Doctor Strange. There is nothing wrong with the character himself, he serves a very valuable purpose in the film, my annoyance is choosing to cast such a good actor in that role; however, that is a small blight on an otherwise exceptional film.
OVERALL **** The most refreshing Marvel origin story since Iron Man; however, Mads should have been given more screen time.
Recommendation- If you enjoyed inception, or are looking for fun interesting entertainment then I recommend this film, if you are a Marvel fan then, of course, this is essential viewing.