Doctor Strange, |
directed by Scott Derrickson
(Marvel Studios, 2016)
After a car accident destroys his hands, the renowned Doctor Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), whose brilliance is matched only by his ego, must set aside his arrogance to seek help from the Ancient One, the leader of a mysterious cult. During the healing process, Strange acquires mystical powers. He also learns that the world is under attack by other evil sorcerers, and that he might be one of the only people who can stop them.
Benedict Cumberbatch as the titular character is perfect in every frame. Tilda Swinton as the Ancient One almost steals the whole film, and Mads Mikkelson as Kaecilius is chillingly perfect. Chiwetel Ejiofor is Karl Mordo, Strange's mentor, a complex character who becomes dangerously disillusioned with the moral contradictions of being a dimensional guardian. Rachel McAdams is touchingly appealing as Christine Palmer, a fellow doctor who's not just a love interest but a good friend to Strange. Benedict Wong is excellent as Wong, not a manservant as he's depicted in the comics but a Master of Mystic Arts tasked with protecting the cult's most valuable relics.
Marvel is entering its second phase of filmmaking quite smoothly with this rather vivid addition to its canon. The kaleidoscopic effects are a triumph of visuals. Everything, from magical illusions to mind-bending mirror sequences, is on point, perfectly recreating the dizzying parallel worlds and different time dimensions Strange regularly inhabits and commands. The narrative, while rather familiar, is predicated on action set piece after action set piece, using the mystical, cosmic elements of the comic book in interesting and original ways. The Marvel sense of humor also is humming along, adding to the enjoyment.
Doctor Strange is an entertaining, funny and well-acted film with some of the most inspired and creative special effects to date.
4 March 2017
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