Please be aware that my opinions may be slightly biased as I am hopelessly devoted to Benedict Cumberbatch.
This new Marvel film shows an arrogant, materialistic, over-confident neurosurgeon (played by Benedict Cumberbatch) undergo life changing realisations as he goes from being Doctor Strange to… well…. Doctor Strange. So it’s not exactly going from Peter Parker to Spiderman, but the name isn’t important. The man that we start the film with is a very different one to who we end with.
Following a horrendous car crash, which is done slightly over the top if you ask me, not even a superhero would have been able to walk out of that ridiculously expensive car alive, but never the less, Stephen Strange is left with irreparable nerve damage, causing his hands to shake and ending his steady-handed career. He deals with this by lashing out at his sort-of girlfriend (played by Rachel McAdams) and travelling to seek treatment. He then comes across a bald Tilda Swinton, otherwise known as ‘The Ancient One’ and his skeptical mind is opened to the powers of other dimensions, the multiverse and so on.
I would just like to say that I saw this film in 3D and I have a controversial opinion when I say that this was a mistake. The 3D takes away from the film rather than add to it, I can see it can show off the special effects, but I found it very distracting and unnecessary. Plus it made me feel a bit sick, but if you are big into 3D I guess you might enjoy the feeling of falling through the multiverse but it seemed like a waste of money to me.
Benedict Cumberbatch gives a very good performance as Doctor Stephen Strange and from what I’ve seen of the original comic illustrations, he makes a very good match. I think the thing that makes Benedict such a good actor is his lack of vanity. He has so issue with throwing himself through dimensions looking a bit worse for wear. He gives a good American accent from what I can gather and continues his skill for playing the arrogant and the intelligent. Rachel McAdams also gives a convincing performance, however I feel her character is sort of null and void. She is just there to show him lashing out at her and then showing that he’s changed by trying to get with her again. It is a much smaller part than I was expecting.
There was humour in the film, however the parts that were supposed to be funny did not resonate with me. I felt they were trying a bit too hard to add that element of humour in some areas, making it a little bit cringey.
The overall plot and character arc was quite good, however I felt the need for more explanation into the whole other dimensions and multiverse thing. Why were they able to bend New York in a thousand directions? How did they find the power to open portals to other dimensions? I know they can’t exactly tell us really because it is impossible, but there should have been a little explanation, otherwise why doesn’t everyone on the streets open a portal when they move their hand in a circular motion? I know they needed that ring to set things in motion but you catch my drift.
Similarly, there was not much back story into the villian of the story played by Mads Mikkelsen shown, so whats his motivation for trying to mess up the normal world? Where did he come from?
I have been rather critical so far about the film, but overall I found it an entertaining watch. It would be great for the Marvel fans and fans of the comics I’m sure, as well as viewers who hadn’t heard of Doctor Strange prior to this film. This origin story takes you on a journey with the character and holds your attention throughout, there is no risk of clock watching. I cannot fault any actor’s skills as they have managed to collect an incredible cast, including Chiwetel Ejiofor, Benedict Wong, Tilda Swinton, who are all as convincing as ever.
The special effects of this film are second to none, and as I said before, I think they are appreciated more in 2D. This film just screams ‘big budget’, yet isn’t just composed of the typical action fight sequences. Yes it does have some of these which are excellently choreographed, but unlike some superhero films, it doesn’t over-do it.
So to conclude, I would highly recommend going to see this film, it is worth the trip. Excellent acting with an exciting plot, with just a few plot holes if I’m being especially critical. I would reward this film 4/5 stars. ★★★★