Director: Scott Derrickson.
Cast: Benedict Cumberbatch / Chiwetel Ejiofor / Rachel McAdams / Tilda Swinton
Content Rating: PG 13 for sci-fi violence and action throughout, and an intense car crash sequence.
While on a journey of physical and spiritual healing, a brilliant neurosurgeon is drawn into the world of the mystic arts.
I love Marvel. DC has never blown me away, but Marvel has always delighted me. Their rich characters, pitch-perfect humour, excellent fight sequences, very rarely fail to win me over.
So Doctor Strange was on my list to watch, obviously; the temptation made even more delicious by the cast: Cumberbatch and McAdams together on screen?! For some reason I just love the idea of them as a couple; don't know why. They just seem to go together.
I didn't know what to expect when I sat down to watch DS. But I came away satisfied by the result.
The special effects were spectacular. It was visually radiant, and the colours coupled with the action on screen were vibrant. Every scene was so rich and lavish, and I loved soaking it all up.
The dialogue was very boring and forgettable, and the cinematography was nothing special. The actual backbone of the story (with regards to magical realism, etc) did not make sense, and it's the kind of story you just have to suspend disbelief for; and I admit I struggled with that during the first half. It's so bizarre, and, specifically from a Christian's point of view, totally unrealistic. (I'll talk more about that in a moment).
You have to be willing to just relax and enjoy it, otherwise you'll end up hating or over-analysing or criticising every other-worldly occurrence.
The story was satisfying, refreshing and classy. The beginning was very shaky and pace was rather off, but it improved when it got going. It was nice to see a whole new set of characters and a brand new story detached from The Avengers' plot lines, etc etc. There were fresh characters with their own, never-before-seen personal stories, fresh stakes, and I enjoyed the change. Stephen Strange is a wonderfully flawed character, and the writers did an excellent job with him. I just hope to see more character development in Infinity War, since I was rather disappointed with the amount of his backstory they left "un-revealed."
Benedict Cumberbatch was the highlight of the film for me. He was fantastically compelling as Strange, and it was almost impossible to pay attention to the other actors when they shared a scene with him. He was superb, and completely carried the film; it would not have been the same without him.
Rachel McAdams was a comforting presence, and her acting was how it usually is: solid, but never amazing. I did like the scenes between her and Cumberbatch, and her character wasn't as "pointless" as I admit I was expecting. I really liked Christine, and McAdams' screen presence was easy to enjoy.
I wasn't won over by Tilda Swinton's performance. She didn't seem to fit the character, and while her acting wasn't bad, exactly, I just wasn't convinced by it. I was disappointed in her.
On a personal note, I just thought I'd mention how, as a Christian, I perceived the other-worldly aspects of the film: There were a lot of "God-like" parallells which did not sit well with me, and I did not agree with the backbone of the plot; that being, that are other dimensions we will be able to access if we simply "believe". It reminded me a lot of that Scarlett Johansson film, Lucy, which claims we are not using our full brain capacity and, if we do, we can become more than we are and thus unlock certain other-worldly potential. Or powers, so to speak.
To cut a long story short, I didn't agree with the messages Doctor Strange was sending out.
I feel like I'm rating everything three and a half flowers these days...
Doctor Strange was a refreshing Marvel instalment that was both satisfying and entertaining. Carried by its cast and spectacular special effects, it was a good film, but not an amazing one. I wouldn't watch it again, but I'm glad I did.