Review of 'Doctor Strange'

dr_strange.jpg Dr Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) is a gifted, but cocky, neurosurgeon who loses control of his hands after a horrific traffic accident. Pursuing all medical avenues he is unable to fix the problem until he talks to a patient who had completely recovered from a similar accident. He is directed to visit the Ancient One (coolly and confidently played by Tilda Swinton) in the Kamar-Taj temple in Kathmandu where, despite initial scepticism, he learns to harness supernatural energy from within himself to open portals to other locations and defend himself. As his studying progresses Strange learns that they are a secret group saving the world from multi-dimensional enemies. A former temple student, Kaecilius (Mads Mikkelsen), has stolen some pages from a book that the group feel he will use to summon Dormammu, a very evil entity determined to destroy earth. Like it or not, Strange soon finds himself using his new-found powers for more than just fixing his hands…

Quite a bit of a departure from the super-strong superheros of other Marvel movies here we take a walk on the mystical side. Thankfully a lot of the mystical mumbo-jumbo is kept to a minimum but enough that it is plausible and, indeed, interesting. What was a bit of a surprise was the amount of humour here. Despite his self-obsessed ego Strange's sceptical nature here pops quips left, right and centre as he initially does not take too seriously what is going on around him. This certainly lightens the mood of what could have been a very serious and heavy film. Cumberbatch here does what he does best sprinkling a frankly unlikable character with humanity and charm. Of course, this is intentional as we see his character mature and grow to the hero he becomes. One of the reasons we went to see this film is that we just love anything that Cumberbatch is in (yes, his Hamlet was amazing) and in this we were not disappointed.

There was a bit of a surprise at the end with Mordo (played straight by the wonderful, but always cool, Chiwetel Ejiofor) a fellow devotee of the sect whose beliefs dramatically shift when a secret is revealed that shatters his world (see the clip a few minutes into the credits for an even more shocking aspect of this - oh and, yes, there is a clip at the very very end of the credits so stay for that as well).

Obviously as an origin story there is a certain amount of exposition but the action does continue apace throughout the movie and manages to keep the viewer entertained throughout. It only slightly lags in the middle as it then quickly throws us into the climax.

This is a part of the larger Marvel franchise and there are obvious hints to this throughout the movie as well as the words “Dr Strange will Return” at the end of the credits. A fun first outing for one of the most mystical of Marvel characters.

Rating: “Really good but I have some issues”

Review Date: 2016-11-15

Directed by: Scott Derrickson

Studio: Marvel Studios

Year: 2016

Length: 115 minutes

Genre: Action/Adventure