Our newest contributor, Sue-Ellen, loves movies. She’s been watching, reviewing and writing about them for years. In her first post for Newcastle Live, Sue-Ellen sat down to review Doctor Strange.
Stephen Strange (Cumberbatch) is a brilliant yet arrogant neuro-surgeon who is left physically and emotionally broken after a devastating car accident. He does everything he can, utilises all modern medicine has to offer but to no avail. His precious hands, the cornerstone of his existence, will never be the same. He can no longer be a doctor.
His work colleague/ex-girlfriend, Christine (McAdams) tries her best to encourage Strange to look at the world from a different perspective but it is only when he hears of a single case where a person was completely healed of such severe nerve damage that he feels any hope. When he seeks out this person and hears what he has to say, Strange embarks on a quest that will alter not only his perspective of the world, but of reality itself.
Soon enough, Strange is standing in a Himalayan temple, arrogantly rolling his eyes as The Ancient One (Swinton) invites him to heal himself. She shows him what is possible, if he truly wants it, and it is only here and now that he truly begins to heal.
This newest addition to the Marvel family is a most welcome step to the left. Dealing with the mystical aspects of the universe in a way none of the other movies have, it introduces us to the world that is hinted at and alluded to but never quite seen. As Wong (Benedict Wong) tells Strange ‘The Avengers protect the world from physical dangers. We safeguard it against more mystical threats.’
The script is strong and sustains itself right until the very end. It is imbued with more than a touch of humour and with all Marvel projects, is not afraid to poke fun at itself. It is these qualities that will make it a firm favourite with the Marvel tragics and those unsuspecting few who will wander in ‘just to see what all the fuss is about’. Oh and there will be fuss, mark my words.
Cumberbatch, against all my expectations, brings elegance and a touch of campy goodness to his Doctor Strange. His best on screen moments are those he shares with the non nonsense monk Wong and his cape. Swinton is simply a Goddess who ignites the screen whenever she appears and Ejiofor lends a stern, serious balance to the movie.
The special effects are mindblowing and surreal! I have to go all the way back to Inception, released in 2010, to draw appropriate comparisons with the shifting, bending city landscapes of this film.
With comic book/superhero fatigue becoming a bit of a thing, the introduction of Doctor Strange at this point in time is a genius move. Whilst not a Cumberbatch convert just yet, I am no longer a non-believer.
4 1/2 stars
Director : Scott Derrickson
Starring : Benedict Cumberbatch, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Tilda Swinton, Rachel McAdams, Benedict Wong, Mads Mikkelsen, Michael Stuhlbarg, Benjamin Bratt
Running Time : 115 minutes
Release Date : October 27