Director: Scott Derrickson. Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Rachel McAdams, Tilda Swinton, Benedict Wong, Mads Mikkelsen. USA, 2016. IMDb: 7.6. My rating: 2.5/4. Marvel superhero flick, this time with magic.
– Well, what’s this? My mantra?
– The Wi-Fi password. We’re not savages.
(conversation between Dr. Strange and a monk)
The never sleeping guys from Marvel continue to expand its cinematic universe, this time with the introduction of magic and Benedict Cumberbatch. As usually, “Dr. Strange” gives us exactly what is expected from an average Marvel film – awesome effects, humour, not much gore, cynical but good-hearted main hero and an overall charming feel of a little marvel. Maybe it doesn’t reach the heights set by the first “Avengers” or “Iron Man”, but lots of fun and entertainment are guaranteed.
Still, I feel that ”Dr. Strange” got way too much praise than it actually deserved.
So, what’s new this time? “Dr. Strange” may look like a extramarital son of “Batman Begins” and “Inception”. From the first one it got the long introduction with a top-class egoistic and sarcastic surgeon losing his ability to operate due to a severe car crash, so he decides to find some other way to heal himself. Dr. Strange (yes, it his name) finds a secret ancient group in Nepal, where he “must forget all he has ever known” and embrace the world of magic through severe training (or the “alternative coding of the reality”, as he is taught by mentor played by Tilda Swinton).
From “Inception” it inherited awesome special effects, where different parts of our reality are deconstructed and reconstructed in a different way – the building falling into each other, bridges separating, the fighting switch from the floor to the ceiling and then back – but it develops these ideas and takes them to the next level. Then add to the receipt ancient books, artifacts and an ability to create your own weapons. As it takes some time to learn new skills, we also realize that there is a bigger menace that could swallow the whole planet in a so-called dark area…
“Dr. Strange” has enough humour, mostly coming from sarcastic and cynical Benedict Cumberbatch, the Man-Otter. It doesn’t get – unfortunately – to levels of Tony Stark though but still delivers some good laughs. Cumberbatch is a good actor and he does his best here. By contrast, all other characters are pretty serious.Chiwetel Eijofor plays a fellow warrior (cannot say anything bad about the role but the character is pretty simple) and Tilda Swinton is the mentor of the group. Well, Swinton always looks impressive whatever she does though her character could have undergone a bigger development. The director is Scott Derrickson, who made one of the most boring sci-fi films of the 21th century (The Day The Earth Stood Still, 2008). Do only I think that Marvel is capable of being kind of a high quality conveyor that brings out the best of people? Rachel McAdams was a nice add as the Dr. Strange’s girlfriend, she is a good and versatile actress. The main bad guy Mads Mikkelsen was… well, not that evil and bad as he was supposed to be? Kind of a typical bad guy with painted eyes, but his motivations and ”I am death!”-kind-of-malice seemed somehow dubious. Too much pathos.
The special effects are pretty cool with the impressive final scene being the most remarkable episode. Dr. Strange applies the time-rewinding ability after the destruction of the city district (the scale of the movie is not that big) and while everything is rewinding to its original form of 15 minutes ago we see the epic fight of good vs. bad. The final encounter with the big evil is also hilarious – Marvel definitely learnt something from the success of ”Guardians of the Galaxy”.
Oh, and the guys in Marvel always know how to make references to their universe. Here the monks explain do Dr. Strange, “Avengers protect the earth on a physical level, but we on spiritual.” By the way, remember to wait for the titles to finish – there are two small surprises.
Worth watching? Yes, if you like Marvel or just in a cool company with some beers. I don’t really share all this crazy euphoria about ”Dr. Strange” as it looks like typical Marvel superhero movie, just with new heroes and no Avengers (probably many got tired of them?). Still, it’s wild enough, funny and entertaining with a good portion of awesome visuals and special effects.