Film Review : Doctor Strange

Andrew Stephens, Wednesday the 16th of November, 2016 in Films, Science Fiction

Doctor Strange Poster
Official Site
Stephen Strange is an world class neurosurgeon and a world class arsehole. Stephen Strange is not a world class driver; when an accident nearly kills him and leaves him unable to perform surgery, Strange must seek out a mystical healer to cure him, gaining cosmic powers in the process.

Doctor Strange is yet another Mavel superhero project. Mavel long-ago reached the bottom of their intellectual property barrel but the deeper they scrape the more effort they have to put into the films. You can tell they worked very hard on this enjoyable piece of nonsense.

Benedict Cumberbatch makes an excellent Doctor Strange although his American accent travels across the states faster than the Cannonball Run. I appreciated that his dialog was not wall to wall quips - Doctor Strange has amusing moments but minimises the snappy comebacks and one-liners in favor of more visual joke telling. Cumberbatch certainly looks the part once he gets his goatee and cloak,

Everyone else is better than they need to be as well. I especially liked that the villain (Mads MikkelsenBenedict Cumberbatch, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Mads Mikkelsen, Tilda Swinton. These comic book writers are obviously running out of believable character names. Oh wait, that is the cast list. Please disregard this footnote.) was somewhat charismatic, actually seemed to believe he was doing the right thing, and tried to talk Strange around to his point of view. Another thing I really like was the juxtaposition of Strange's old life in the hospital intersecting with his post-magic career, it made for some amusing scenes.

But the special effects are the real star of Doctor Strange, with all sorts of imaginative visuals on display. Many of the characters can manipulate reality and the films best scenes involve walls bending and gravity tilting in interesting ways. It makes a nice change from people punching each other. All this malarky cumulates in a climatic fight on a Hong Kong street that is one of the neatest things I have seen in cinema, and then it gets even weirder and better as Strange literally threatens a God.

There has been some chatter about The Ancient One, master of the vaguely oriental arts, being played by the very European Tilda Swinton. It works better in the film than is does on paper, her character is not a sterotypical asian masterItself a hoary old water-chestnut representative of the local culture, just someone who happens to live in Katmandu. It didn't really feel like whitewashing to me and certain plot developments make the choice make more sense.

One could fairly say that Doctor Strange is a pretty standard super-hero origin story with the generic Save The Cat beats all present and correct. But in this case the store-bought pizza-base foundation has been slathered with high quality and slightly unusual ingredients, cooked to perfection. If you don't like pizzato continue the analogy you won't be impressed, but I recommend it to everyone else.