What do you get when you take Sherlock and mix in a little Harry Potter and Batman Begins, and then throw in Inception on steroids? You get Marvel’s latest comic book adaptation, Doctor Strange. This film is not only one of the best films of the year, it is also one of Marvel’s best origin stories.
The film follows Dr. Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) as his life changes after a car accident robs him of the use of his hands. When traditional medicine fails him, he looks for healing, and hope, in a mysterious enclave (not dissimilar to Bruce Wayne in Batman Begins). He quickly learns that the enclave is at the front line of a battle against unseen dark forces bent on destroying reality. Before long, Strange is forced to choose between his life of fortune and status or leave it all behind to defend the world as the most powerful sorcerer in existence.
This movie has a really fantastic cast. Benedict Cumberbatch is one of the best actors in the world right now and this film showcases his talent brilliantly. Tilda Swinton gives a performance that in unique for her career and her character is more endearing than I ever thought possible from her. Benedict Wong was wonderful and so was Chiwetel Ejiofor. Rachel McAdams gives a very good supporting performance as Cumberbatch’s love interest and fellow doctor. And last but not least, Mads Mikkelsen gives my favorite Marvel villain performance outside of Loki. I’ve heard it said by prolific comic writer Paul Dini that the best villains are the ones that think they’re doing the right thing, and Mikkelsen really sells that.
The film is infinitely creative in its portrayal of the mystical side of the Marvel Universe. It expands on the psychedelic visuals that were introduced in Ant-Man, but gives some great exposition for all of it. I can’t wait to see these scenes again.
Even with all visuals dealing with other dimensions and what not, the most jaw-dropping scenes were the action set pieces. They were exquisite. You’ve likely seen the trailers and no doubt made a comparison to Inception. And rightly so. However, I will say that Doctor Strange takes what Christopher Nolan did with landscaping altering action and takes it to the next level.
I am usually very anti 3D for any movie yet this one almost made me a believer. I saw in IMAX 3D and I have to say that the action and reality-altering elements of the film were greatly enhanced in this format. Although I still get perturbed at how dark the screen is and how distracting the 3D can be, this one is the exception where I will recommend that everyone see it in 3D.
There is a lot more humor than I expected, and more of it from Benedict Cumberbatch than I thought possible from him. Benedict Wong also got in some great comedic beats, as did Rachel McAdams.
Doctor Strange is my favorite film of the year so far and is my favorite Marvel film since Guardians of the Galaxy. Its action, acting, characters, humor, and visuals make it a must see for everyone.