Director: Scott Derrickson
Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch, Tilda Swinton, Chewetel Ejiofor, Mads Mikkelsen, Rachel McAdams
Running Time: 115mins
Dr Strange follows the story of Dr Stephen Strange from his position as a highly prolific neurosurgeon, capable of many feats of amazement with a scalpel to beginner sorcerer through to Sorcerer Supreme.
A devastating accident causes Dr Strange to lose the majority of his motor function in both his hands. From here he begins a downward spiral in his attempt to try and regain his lost profession. This ultimately leads him to search for non-standard remedies and other pathways for getting himself capable again. But it doesn’t work out that way. On his journey he becomes, eventually, enlightened by becoming resident at a retreat in Kathmandu, called Kamar-Taj, under the teachings of The Ancient One.
We are catapulted into the world of magic, spells and alternate dimensions in this latest release. As this is a Marvel film, we are treated to some really good action sequences, resplendent with Inception-busting ground-bending and perspective-altering scenes. The chase scene through New York, whilst being bent and altered at a rapid rate, is a wonderful sequence and really pushed the 3D effects to their limit. As with some other MCU films we get a good dose of humour throughout, lightening some of the more dramatic moments with genuine laughs.
Mads Mikkelsen plays the traitorous Kaecilius, bent on destroying the Earth by removing it’s magical defences against the planet-devouring, Dark Dimensional being Dormammu. Kaecilius and his zealots go about this by attacking and destroying the 3 sanctums, of New York, Hong Kong and London, that are protecting the Earth from the Dark Dimension with their magical power.
Benedict Cumberbatch is wonderfully cast as the at-first egotistical neurosurgeon. His journey from the top of his world to the bottom and then his rebuilding as the Sorcerer Supreme is really well portrayed, as is Tilda Swinton’s The Ancient One, providing the reverence and calmness of one so accomplished in their field but also a underlying sense of humour which is in contrast to Chewitel Ejiofor’s Mordo who brings determination and drive and effort and is a real stickler for the rules.
A visually appealing film, there is some great work to bring the magical elements to the screen whilst maintaining the MCU staples of action and big hits. It doesn’t have the feel of standard Marvel fare and that might be because of the distance these characters seem to have from the other superheroes, the mystical and magical elevates it above the crash and bang of the other films. In that sense it has far more in common with GotG than Iron Man or Captain America. The only downside I could see is that the dimensional being Dormammu reminded me of the villain from the Green Lantern film, Parallax. And being a Dimensional being removes the immediate threat by being something that we aren’t familiar with, lessening the impact, but they tried hard to make the threat more specific in this film to allow that translation from other-worldly to relatable.
I highly recommend anyone go watch this film if they are wanting to see a film that feed their visual appetite whilst pushing the buttons for action at the same time.