Are you tired of superhero movies?
Considering that 2016 had the most superhero movies to date (SIX!) – a valid concern would be creeping fatigue – would the sheer volume of such movies turn people against superhero movies in general?
A grown up Harry Potter?
Although he had a costume and powers, strictly speaking, Doctor Strange isn’t a superhero but is the Sorcerer Supreme. Meaning that Strange is the primary protector of Earth against magical and mystical threats, which makes this movie somewhat different from the typical superhero movie. Almost a Harry Potter movie but with adults (now that’s one way to target the millennials!)
In the beginning …
Essentially an origin tale, the story reveals how Steven Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) went from being the world’s top neurosurgeon to becoming the Sorcerer Supreme. In this respect, the movie is quite faithful to the comic book – Strange is arrogant and passionate about his work, is involved in a car accident that crushes his hand effectively ending his career. He tries in vain to find the means to heal his hands, which in desperation lands him in Nepal in search if The Ancient One (Tilda Swinton). He does and his journey begins…
The stakes are impossibly high
Kaeclius (Mads Mikkelsen) – former disciple of The Ancient One – is the baddie of the piece, hoping to summon even bigger bad guy Dormammu – a evil being from the Dark Dimension – to Earth. To do so, Kaeclius has to destroy three sanctums – in London, New York and Hong Kong and Strange and colleagues Mordo (Chiwetel Ejiofor) and Wong (Benedict erm… Wong) have to try to stop him.
The original Steve Ditko-drawn comics were unique in presenting the psychedelic realities that Doctor Strange operated in (back in 1963 mind you, before the flowering of psychedelia three years later) and the movie takes advantage of CGI to bring these sequences to life brilliantly.
The British are coming!
Apart from American Rachael McAdams (who played Christine Palmer, Strange’s former colleague/love interest) and Mikkelsen (who is Danish), there is a distinct British flavour about the main cast, which, added to the quality of the performers, was a big strength of the movie. Cumberbatch looks like he was born to play Doctor Strange and despite the ‘whitewashing’ controversy over The Ancient One, Swinton did an excellent job throughout.
In the final analysis…
Yes, there are minor plot holes here and there but none of that will get in the way of a casual movie-goer simply loving the hell out of this movie. The third act is handled extremely well, considering the mis-steps in that respect of recent movies like Captain America: Civil War, Suicide Squad and X-Men Apocalypse and even avoiding the cliches of the denouement to Ant-Man. It will be intriguing to see how Doctor Strange fits into the MCU as a whole – do not miss the TWO post-credits scenes.
… still there’s more …