‘Doctor Strange’ (2016, 12A)

Is Marvel Studios’ latest film full of spectacular sorcery or just mediocre magic?

Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) is the world’s leading neurosurgeon, living a life of luxury in his New York penthouse when he’s not showing off to his colleagues at the hospital. But, when a car accident results in his hands shaking uncontrollably, leaving him jobless and without a well-being, Strange travels to Nepal where he meets a being called the Ancient One (Tilda Swinton) who teaches him in the mystic arts, giving him control of his hands once again, as well as teaching him of the dark forces that are coming to destroy the Earth.

Before I start, let me just say that this is not a bad film. However, it’s not particularly spectacular one either. There’s nothing which made we go “wow!” or “that’s amazing, I never predicted that!”. I think this is down to one thing – it’s an origin story. I understand that every character being introduced to a shared universe such as the Marvel Cinematic Universe needs an origin, but I felt that this one was all too familiar. It was, essentially, like any other origin story movie from Marvel, only this time with a bit of magic and sorcery thrown in there.

And  that magic and sorcery definitely made for some confusing viewing. In the trailer for ‘Doctor Strange’, you get a glimpse at the mind-boggling CGI but when in the cinema it really is a sight to behold. Although amazing to watch, some of these mystical, trans-dimensional scenes did give me a bit of a headache and I dread to think what it would’ve been like if I watched the film in 3D.

The next point is a bit of a love-hate subject, especially for fans of Marvel movies, and it’s that ‘Doctor Strange’ isn’t, in my opinion, as linked to other Marvel films as it could’ve been. Apart from an establishing shot of New York with the Avengers tower and a slight mention of the Avengers in a conversation, there was no real link to any of the other Marvel movies in this film. Some may criticise this, however, I think it’s a good thing that ‘Doctor Strange’ isn’t too linked to the rest of the Marvel Universe just yet as otherwise I feel it would draw away from the main character, Stephen Strange, if the film was full of references to other Marvel films.

Overall, ‘Doctor Strange’ is a strong action movie with good CGI and cast. However, the plot’s lack of originality means ‘Doctor Strange’ achieves eight-out-of-ten.

8/10.

 

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