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Review: Doctor Strange

Doctor Strange is directed by Scott Derrickson and stars Benedict Cumberbatch, Rachel McAdams and Mads Mikkelsen, to name a few. The film is the latest in a long line of films produced by Marvel Studios and seemingly far from the last!

Marvel's DOCTOR STRANGE..Doctor Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch)..Photo Credit: Film Frame ..©2016 Marvel. All Rights Reserved.
One example of the fantastic visuals found within the film.

If you are getting a sense of déjà vu with all of my reviews for superhero films, where usually I will say something along the lines of “the same as every other one … superhero films need to evolve or they will die out … the humour is rubbish,” just know that Doctor Strange has a very different feel to it. However, it still commits some of the cardinal sins that I have come to expect from this genre.

Should I waste words saying Cumberbatch was very good in his role as Stephen Strange? You are correct; I most definitely should not! Mikkelsen is one of the best villains within the Marvel franchise, and having played the stellar role of Le Chiffre in Casino Royale this was no surprise. Rachel McAdams got bonus points in my book because her character was called “Christine Palmer”, and she was very serviceable with the limited material that she was given. However these bonus points were swiftly deducted once “Kaecilius” was not pronounced in the same way as the name of the legend from the Cambridge Latin Course.

Marvel's DOCTOR STRANGE..Doctor Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch)..Photo Credit: Jay Maidment..©2016 Marvel. All Rights Reserved.
Doctor Strange about to exercise his magic abilities.

The film echoes The Matrix at specific points. Between the mind-bending action there are points of genuine philosophical interest, as the film strives to be more than “another superhero film”. The fact it tries to transcend this label is commendable, but (say it with me!) it still includes out of place and out of character moments of forced humour!

The fact that I have said this in previous reviews confirms to me that there is no way it will change anytime soon. Films need to eradicate it to become more than comic book movies because at the moment the fact we call them “superhero” rather than “sci-fi” films demonstrates that they have become massively formulaic.

The best superhero film of the last five years is Man of Steel. The reason for its success is that it does not feel like a superhero film, and the science fiction atmosphere it produces is why I love it so much. Many criticisms are thrown at Man of Steel for not being “fun” enough, as crybabies whine that it is not “their” superman. However, by playing with themes such as prejudice and humanity’s place within existence Man of Steel has become what Friedrich Nietzsche would describe as the super-superhero film. It simply supersedes every other recent film of its genre.

Marvel's DOCTOR STRANGE..Doctor Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch)..Photo Credit: Film Frame ..©2016 Marvel. All Rights Reserved.
A longer period before Stephan gains his powers would allow Cumberbatch to play a more broken man; a part he would portray with ease.

Apart from the humour, my other main criticism was the rushed start of the film; we spend limited time with Stephan Strange before he goes to train as a sorcerer. This time could have easily shown off Stephan’s flaws and his struggles when his pride is shattered with his arms and he becomes more and more desperate trying to restore both.

The action sequences in the film are some of the best in any superhero film, as the choreography breaks all natural laws, taking the spectacle to the next level.

While it may seem that I dislike Doctor Strange it is by far my favourite Marvel Studios film and probably my favourite superhero film of the year. My ranting about the humour is, if nothing else, letting off some steam at a problem that has built up over many films and it is one of the worst trends in Hollywood today.

★★★★☆