Doctor Strange (2016) – A Mind Bending Conspiracy of Shapes (Plus Benedict Cumberbatch!)
Marvel’s mantle has, and continues to, explode. Their quest to box office domination continues with their latest film, which is an introduction film rather than sequel.
Prestige, power and accolades are daily expectations for Dr. Stephan Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch). As a renowned neurosurgeon, he’s used to life in the fast lane, and he doesn’t like being questioned. Everything changes when he's involved in a near fatal car wreck that impairs his ability to practice medicine. His most valuable commodities, his hands, are now useless.
Obsession begins to dictate every one of Stephen’s actions. He searches the world of medicine for an answer. He pushes away his ex-girlfriend, Christine (Rachel McAdams) believing her motivations are out of pity. Until one day he simply disappears. He seeks out a place in Nepal, an ancient healing place that might give him more than a scientific explanation.
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For new readers to Finding Wonderland, I'll tell you a secret, one of my obsessions is the world of Marvel. Ever since I saw my first Marvel film (which would have been the early 2000s and Fantastic Four, though at the time, I didn’t realize it was Marvel), I was a devoted fangirl. That has grown with each film, each twist, each character and every Funko figure I’ve collected. In preparation for the next Avengers installment, the producers ready us with the arrival of Dr. Stephan Strange.
Though it’s only guesswork on my part, I suspect Strange will play a role in the Avenger’s next outing. Especially since one of the Infinity stones plays a key role in this film, and Dr. Strange becomes New York’s “guardian” of a sort. As an introductory script, this is sublime. The opening which sets up Strange’s desperation and leads him to Nepal is neither “too long” or too brief. It clips along, but gives the viewer insight and an accurate picture of who Dr. Strange is, and snippets of a past that is sure to be further deconstructed in future. As of now, Cumberbatch is supposed to be in the upcoming Thor: Radnarok and ‘Infinity Wars, Part 1.’ Needless to say, no matter what comes, Dr. Strange isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
Speaking of this character, the brilliant Benedict Cumberbatch plays the titular to perfection. As usual, Cumberbatch adds finesse to the role that no one else would have. None of this even touches on the fact that Cumberbatch is born to do the “cape flip.” And boy does he do it well. The talent of this actor is a testament to why he’s so “in demand” just now. The only jarring thing about his performance was the lack of his British accent. I’d not have minded Dr. Strange’s character being British (which I assume he isn’t in the comics) had it meant the accent could have remained.
Beyond the star, the talents of Mads Mikkelsen, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Tilda Swinton are all seen in this film. Not to mention McAdams' potential love interest of the good doctor. It was great to see Rachel in a Marvel film, especially since she’s a favorite actress. However I suspect, like so many of the leading Marvel men’s fate demands, she might not be “end game.”
Much ado was made about the special effects leading up to this opening. The talk is all worth it. The special effects are indeed incredible, and fascinating. Every mind-bending scene is almost a scene-stealer. It’s like you don’t quite know where to look or what to follow. Everything in between the acting and characters to the effects is brilliant. Like each that came before it, this is another must see. It’s memorable with its trademark Marvel humor and leaves you just where Marvel wants you to be: Wanting so much more!
Content: there are some minor instances of profanity. Magic plays a prevalent role, but the violence (as I remember) never becomes graphic. The film is rated PG13.