Benedict Cumberbatch is Doctor Stephen Strange, a brilliant yet arrogant neurosurgeon whose fate changes in unexpected ways in Marvel’s latest super hero blockbuster. Whilst the character isn’t as well known as the eponymous Spiderman or The Avengers, Marvel have still decided to let him have his moment in the cinematic spot light and (despite a hesitant trailer which looks like Marvel meets ‘Inception’) the good news is that the film is not only solid but also surprisingly entertaining. I’ll explain.
... the x factor here is the charm and humour interspersed between the bangs and the crashes.
In many Marvel films the third act usually ends up being a loud CGI fest when big things hit even bigger things and the emotional connection to its characters can get lost. Whilst some people might actually go to the multiplexes for these on-screen fireworks, it’s the dialogue and characterisation in ‘Doctor Strange’ that will ultimately win you over. Much like Robert Downey Jnr’s first turn as Tony Stark in ‘Iron Man’, the x factor here is the charm and humour interspersed between the bangs and the crashes. Similar to ‘Ant-Man’, a Marvel film so left field that it had foaming fan boy purists rattling over their internet keyboards, ‘Doctor Strange’ doesn’t take itself too seriously, and like ‘Ant-Man’, it’s all the better for it.
But what about these Inception-like special effects I mentioned? Well I’m pleased to report they are short-lived and are replaced with an even more creatively diverse display of alternate realities than in Christopher Nolan’s aforementioned actioner.
In the acting stakes Benedict Cumberbatch is solid as the hero, eschewing his Sherlock performance despite the close character similarities to ‘Doctor Strange’. However it’s only in the final two end-credit sequences (yes, stay to the very end) that the success that ‘Doctor Strange’ is, becomes fully obvious. For a movie that has to straddle the difficult problem of being both entertaining whilst not too thoughtful (sic Ang Lee’s ‘Hulk’) ‘Doctor Strange’ is a surprise success. In watching the final scenes it’s only then that it will hit you how well the character has been realised and how much you’ll be relishing ‘Doctor Strange’s’ first wit-laden exchange with Robert Downey Jnr’s Iron Man.