Film Review: Doctor Strange

The title of this film is a massive indicator of the tone, and let’s just say it’s definitely a weird one as Sherlock Holmes dons a poor american accent, a pair of scrubs and heads on the trippiest gap year of his life in the latest from the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

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I think my intro pretty much summed up the movie rather nicely… but to give you a little more context: Doctor Strange MD, is an award winning neurosurgeon; over confident, rude and hates to loose – his life is turned upside down one slippery evening. Normally a man of medicine and science, believing only in what he can see touch and feel, he needs to open his mind to the impossibly unexplainable if he wants the miracle he has spent his last penny getting to Kamar-Taj to find. Naturally when it comes to the thing you want most in life, there is a price far greater then money to pay, and Doctor Steven Strange is not sure its a cost worth paying.

One of my favourite things about this film was also one of my least, and that was the effects shown in the image above. The best way to describe it is, bending dimensional space in a mirror reality which has no effect on the real world or the people in it. Watching buildings bend and reshape, forming new patterns and sequences as the characters run and jump off of walls and defy gravity is fun – like playing a video game set inside a kaleidoscope. But after a while the effects are dizzying and everything looks exactly the same and you realise you’re actually pretty bored because as fun as it is to watch… it’s adding nothing to the overall story.

dr-strange-demo

This leads on to my next flaw with the film; everything other than the magic felt muted. It was as if that’s where all the planning for the film went into; finding ways to explain the magic, which left the characters lives and situations feeling small and rushed. It may not sound like much but when we look at the antagonist (who we meet in the first few minutes) and learn that the reason he has turned evil is because the Ancient One lied to him – you shake your head in confusion and think: That’s it…? That’s why you want to destroy the entire world?
It was such a shame too as the antagonist was played by  Mads Mikkelsen, who always does such a great job in villainous role, and was sadly underused.

I know that I teased Benedict Cumberbatch in my first breath of this post, but I also understand that him playing an Americanised version of Sherlock is all down to the writers. However he was chosen because he does such a uniquely intriguing job of embodying such a role. Making the audience hate him one second, be enthralled by his mind the next and be rooting for him by the final bell, so kudos to you sir, it’s positively elementary.

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A special nod to Rachel McAdams – as small as her role was – she did a fantastic job in Doctor Strange as the “woman” of the dominant male lead (a whole lot better than Natalie Portman in Thor and almost as good as Gwenyth Paltrow’s Pepper Potts) she was funny, sweet, sassy and made a lasting impression in her short time on screen that I hope they keep her around should Doctor Strange have a sequel… or feature across other Marvel films.

That’s all there is too say. I love wibbly wobbly timey wimey… stuff, and all the shop talk this film did with explaining the earths place in the multiverse and the fluidity of time was a work of art… However half of it was lost on me and so it’s probably best that the next time I watch Doctor Strange, it’s at home with subtitles and a pause button.

Tip
There are two Easter Eggs in this film so stay till the very end, though most of us know when it comes to a Marvel movie, that’s always the safest option.

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