'Doctor Strange' film review
Anyone who knows me well knows that I am a massive Marvel fan and the anticipation I have for any of their films is off the charts. 'Doctor Strange' is the newest film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and it revolves around the comic book character Dr Steven Strange. Strange, portrayed by Benedict Cumberbatch, is a world renowned neurosurgeon who, after an accident, seeks a way to heal himself by seeking out the Ancient One, who teaches him new supernatural mystic arts.
This film had a strong plot which had a good pace to it. I felt it was an exceptionally great introduction to the character of Steven Strange and the opening twenty minutes or so really gave you a fantastic insight into the kind of man he is, his motivations and his faults. I think Benedict Cumberbatch did really well as Dr Steven Strange. He was convincing in his actions and his portrayal of the character. I was even able to tolerate his American accent, which has thankfully improved since his time in '12 Years A Slave'. I liked his chemistry with Rachel McAdams who plays Dr Christine Palmer, Strange's fellow surgeon. There was such a feeling of a deep but complex relationship and the two did well exploring the messy side of relationships which is very central with their characters.
There are some brilliant supporting actors in this film. Chiwetel Ejifor's Baron Mordo had a great developing character arc which will give him a better role in a sequel but felt rather unfinished in this film. I cannot ignore the controversy surrounding the Ancient One. Tilda Swinton was cast as a traditionally Nepalese character, which sparked a lot of negative response, particularly online. However, and whilst this is in no way me condoning the white washing, it has to be acknowledged that Tilda Swinton gave a really solid performance in this film. She captured the mystery and weirdness of the character and she possibly gave the best acting performance in the film.
My favourite part of this film, however, was the visual effects. The visuals in this film are utterly incredible. They were very different to what we've seen in the Marvel universe to date and there was just something so psychedelic and beautiful about them that blew my mind. There is a scene where Strange is beginning to experience the mystic arts and he sees himself falling through an almost kaleidoscope-like space and it just truly took my breath away. I wish I had seen this film in 3D as I think that would have been hypnotic to watch.
This film did have a few issues. Only Rachel McAdams and Tilda Swinton got any level of screen time and the lack of female characters was obvious. Mads Mikkelson did an alright job as the villain of this film (it did not sink to 'Generic Blue Marvel Villain' levels but it also wasn't great) but Marvel still have a long way to go in terms of its villains. The sense of time was slightly off and if it wasn't for a mid-credits scene, I wouldn't be sure where this film sits in relation to the other films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Some of the jokes also failed to land as they felt out of place with the tone of the film, however as an origin story, I greatly enjoyed this film and I am excited to see more of Dr Steven Strange.