Doctor Strange

Benedict Cumberbatch

Chiwetel Ejiofor

reviewed by Tom-Tom

starstarstarhalf star

The MCU continues. Back in 2008, the brilliant Jon Favreau introduced Tony Stark as Iron Man. It was a brilliant piece of comics brought to life. The charismatic Robert Downey Jr. brought the rather mild mannered and somewhat two dimensional character of the comics to a new level. All great adaptations combine the best of the original and suitable if limited license to their place on the big screen. Iron Man was a textbook example of everything going right. In Doctor Strange, there is a sort of an attempt to replicate the success of Iron Man. In its slightly awkward scenes, the arrogant extremely skilled Doctor Stephen Strange (Cumberbatch) conducts intensive open surgery to a playlist of classic rock esoteric enough to please Star Lord of Guardians of the Galaxy and probably intended to be Vol. 3 when everyone meets up for Avengers: Infinity War next year. For those us whom have seen Strange in the comics, he is sagely, philosophical, and rarely raises his voice not to mention cracking a joke. His arc here is similar somewhat to Thor’s in his “origin” story film: A fall from grace followed by a humble crawl back to heroism of a different kind.

One original addition (within the scope of the MCU, anyway) is the unexplained magic charged opening which leaves the viewers in a gleeful confused awe. Very notable here is the use of kaleidoscopic special effect fanning windows around, breaking the window of one plane of existence and entering another. It is beautiful to behold. Inception eat your heart out.

Doctor Strange’s fall from grace is a great commercial for discouraging smart devices while driving. His resulting state leaves him searching for cures all over the world. Ironically, the only doctor who could have healed him is his pre-accident self. His physical therapist tells of a former patient who made a complete recovery after a serious injury gives Strange hope and leads him to Nepal.

Strange meets Mordo (Ejiofor), a loyal and skilled disciple of The Ancient One (Tilda Swinton, always interesting in whatever she does!), the keeper of magic, which is the measured use of altering reality for the betterment of mankind. Mordo and Wan (Benedict Wong), the Librarian help the Doctor to open his mind and realize the scope of the world beyond measurable data and provable fact. His mistakes are many and rather amusing. His hair and beard gray a bit and The Ancient One gives him a bit of a push which jump starts his skills. Even then his magical skills are novice helped only by the Eye of Agamotto as anyone’s would be.

While the big boss is the typical bucket of absolute evil wanting to destroy the world, the principal foe, Kaecilius (another great role in addition to his performance in Rogue One) is perhaps the most sympathetic character in the entire film and his motives are perfectly sound and understandable. The final showdown is rather original balancing the aforementioned kaleidoscopic effects with fun reverse time action. It is a tremendous balancing act but one which is very well done. As with any MCU film, stay to the end of the credits, you won’t regret it!