A few tweaks here and there, and these guys could be a force to be reckoned with.
So Marvel have gone and done it again, and raised a new bar in this wild comic book genre that has taken over Hollywood ever since Tony Stark injured his chest…
Dr. Stephen Strange life changes forever after a horrific car accident robs him of the use of his genius neuro-surgeon hands.
When medicine fails him, he is forced to look for alternative therapy, in an unlikely place, known as Kamar-Taj. He quickly learns that this is not just a place for healing, but also the front line of a battle against dark forces bent on destroying our reality.
Before long Strange, armed with newly acquired magical powers, is forced to choose whether to return to his life of award winning surgery, or leave it behind to defend the world as one of the most powerful sorcerers that has ever lived…….
The comparisons to Inception and The Matrix are there, and they are wonderfully reminiscent of those two films, if you look beyond those two behemoths, you find yourself comparing this work of genius to Russells Altered States, and even in some instances Kubricks 2001 and Koyanisqattsi.
If The Winter Soldier was Marvels venture into the political conspiracy thrillers of the seventies, then Doctor Strange is Marvels psychedelic trip into a wonderland of visceral set pieces, delicious special effects, and a plethora of wonderfully talented actors putting in some truly great performances. AKA, there is no chewing of scenery in this film.
Cumberbatch is wonderfully egocentric as the titular character and for the first act, he is a very unlikable and selfish person, which when you consider that this is a franchise opener, it’s a risky choice for the studio, but thankfully it pays off well, as he discovers to respect his new found power.
Swinton is the Morpheus of the film, clearly enjoying every second she has on screen, and makes for one interesting and memorable mentors we have seen in a while.
Mikkelsen almost dominates the film as the villain, another wonderful actor clearly enjoying his role, because not only is he a very formidable villain, he is quite amusing when he isn’t destroying the earth.
Ejiofor is good, but it’s pretty clear toward the end of the second act that there are bigger things to come from his character in later films, as for the majority of the film he is Basil Exposition, and explaining the wonderful philosopher the film has.
McAdams is wasted in her role, and although she is always watchable, she has no need to be in the film, as she never appears to be in any danger like Pepper Potts or Jane Foster got into.
But all in all, it’s a tremendous achievement, the film is dazzling, with some truly ground-breaking, almost drug induced effects, and there are some subtle, but very clever references to the Marvel cinematic universe.
It gets straight to the point with the narrative, and it’s humour is wonderfully over the top, particularly the exchanges Strange has with Wong.
My only gripe is the obligatory cameo from Stan Lee. They used to be quite endearing, but now they are becoming quite annoying, and this one really took me out of the film, particularly when you consider the scene that is playing.
But all in all, this must be the riskiest Marvel movie yet. But it pays off, never fails to entertain, and dare I say it?? It’s easily the greatest film in the Marvel cinematic universe, just beating Winter Soldier.