‘Doctor Strange’ delivers a fun ride in a ‘Matrix’ inspired journey with ‘Inception’ styles
Benedict Cumberbatch continues to amaze in Marvel’s latest film, Doctor Strange, a special effects filled, action-packed magical journey, blending Inception with Harry Potter and Iron Man.
Cumberbatch’s Stephen Strange is an arrogant, genius surgeon refusing procedures which could damage his resume while is pseudo-love interest Dr. Palmer (Rachel McAdams) works the ER to save one life at a time. Strange makes Tony Stark look like a humanitarian when his world is rocked after shocking car accident leaves him maimed and unable to perform as a doctor.
While struggling to climb out of his pity-party, Strange ventures to Nepal in search of a “mystical” cure and begins studying under The Ancient One (Tilda Swinton) and gradually begins to transform into an amazing hero in his own right. Mads Mikkelsen plays Kaecilius, the Ancient One’s traitorous former disciple bent on bringing the demonic Dormammu to destroy the earth.
Fans of Sherlock and Ben Batch will love Doctor Strange, a mesmerizing film centering about Cumberbatch, almost to a fault. Benedict Wong, McAdams are relegated to vanilla characters, easily replaced by lesser actors. Most important to the film is Chiwetel Ejiofor as Mordo, a skilled ally under the Ancient One’s mentoring, but feels betrayed by the end of the film.
Doctor Strange is chalked full of jokes such as Wong’s single name: “Like Adele or Beyonce,” Strange jabbed or Strange’s Cloak of Levitation which protects him several times in the film.
Marvel plays it safe with their entertaining formula: introduce a new central hero with a band of supporting figures, use a disposable villain to set up bigger and badder villain(s) and have a ton of fun in a special effects packed film to appeal to the 3D ticket buyers. Enjoy a mid-credit and a post-credit scene with set up a future film, elaborate on the villain(s) in the film and fuels interest in future films.
The special effects are too overwhelming at times and Cumberbatch’s American accent is actually distracting at a couple of points as the Brit slips into his Sherlock tone. I don’t understand why Marvel even hires big hitters like Mikkelsen or McAdams and never give them anything to work with. It’s clear to anyone familiar with the comic books that Ejiofor will be back, so this is a “chapter one” origin story for him as well.
If you liked Ant-Man, you will like Doctor Strange. If you love Sherlock or Cumberbatch in other films, you will love him here. If you just enjoy the fun-filled films Marvel delivers, this is for you. If you are expecting something new, a different take on a superhero or Marvel figure, you will be disappointed.
Overall Doctor Strange earns 3 1/2 stars of 5 stars