I spend so much time complaining about how long the UK has to wait for a lot of theatrical releases, so when it was announced that we were getting Doctor Strange early I made sure to take full advantage and see it in the first week! That said, I wasn’t sure how to feel about the movie before I went. There’s no escape from superhero movies lately, and I knew quite literally nothing about Doctor Strange. Turns out I just need to accept the fact that Marvel doesn’t make bad movies! I promise to keep this spoiler free.
Dr. Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) is a fantastically skilled neurosurgeon, albeit fairly arrogant and cocky. A horrific car accident leads to Stephen damaging the nerves in his hands, leaving his career and mind in tatters. He learns of a miracle case where a man paralysed from the waist down learned to walk again, which brings Stephen to leaving his love interest Christine (Rachel McAdams) behind and travelling to Kathmandu. Here he meets Mordo (Chiwetel Ejiofor) and the The Ancient One (Tilda Swinton), who teaches him the ways of mystic arts.
First of all I have to say, if you get the chance to see this in IMAX, go for it. It’s rare that I even bother with 3D but I heard on the grapevine that Doctor Strange had some intense visuals, and I was so glad I listened. It’s mind bendy as hell, guys. I want to use the words ‘visually stunning’ but that’s normally my get out clause for a bad movie. You know, ‘the plot wasn’t great, but it was at least visually stunning’. Whatever the next level up from stunning is, this is it. I honestly feel like it’s a game changer in that department. I spent the whole of the opening sequence with my jaw on the floor.
Doctor Strange himself is a difficult character to warm to, he’s often rude and disrespectful, like a cross between Tony Stark and Benedict’s own Sherlock Holmes. That’s his nature though, and you really do see his character develop throughout the movie. Tilda Swinton is another stand out star here, there’s a lot of depth to her character and she surprisingly has quite a few funny moments. I haven’t seen much of Chiwetel Ejiofor but he shines on screen too, and you feel the moral struggle that he goes through. Mads Mikkelsen is a fantastic bad guy, but really, what did you expect?
Another reason I was wary of Doctor Strange was that it didn’t seem to have the potential for the amount of humour that Marvel packs into it’s movies so well (take note, Suicide Squad). However, although it isn’t the funniest movie in the Marvel universe, there were plenty of laugh out loud moments that were unexpected. The ever stone faced Wong (Benedict Wong) brings a lot of laughs, but oddly enough it’s Doctor Strange’s Cloak of Levitation that steals the limelight here!
I found the plot quite complex (I have a simple mind, though) and it had a few twists that I didn’t see coming. I’m certainly looking forward to seeing it again to fully get my head around the spiritual-ness of it.
My only real criticism would be the speed that the movie moves through the section of Strange training in Kamar-Taj. It can be forgiven, as this is an origin story with a lot of content to go through, but it looked so much fun. You still felt the passage of time through the changing outfits (which were all stunning), but I’d have loved more time during that part.
As always, stay till the very end of the credits when you see this. It pains me to see so many people getting up and leaving as soon as the credits roll, and then another wave leave after the mid credits scene. You’ve sat there for 2 hours guys, 5 more minutes won’t kill you!
I am VERY excited about the mid credits scene, my mind wanted to explode at the possibilities of where Doctor Strange fits in with the other Marvel characters. Very excited indeed!