Once again, Marvel gives us a solid, all around fun origin flick with their newest Superhero to hit the big screen, Dr. Strange (though obviously not to be confused with the 1964 masterpiece Dr. Strangelove: Or How I learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb).
Once again proving he is best when playing the smartest character on-screen, Benedict Cumberbatch gives a rounded performance as neurosurgeon Dr. Stephen Strange. Strange is both brilliant and arrogant (though neither as much as Cumberbatch’s other, better role as the title role of Sherlock). He is basically another version somewhat of Tony Stark (aka Iron Man, for those who somehow don’t know), though he becomes a little more kinder quicker than Stark did.
An accident leaves Strange with severe nerve damage mainly in his hands, leaving him unable to work again (it is a comic book movie, so it would be hardly spoiling anything if I mentioned there was an accident scene.) Despite letting all his anger out on his on again/off again girlfriend Christine (Rachel McAdams), he learns of help in Nepal. There he meets Mordo (Chiwetel Ejiofor), and later The Ancient One (Tilda Swinton). It is here that Strange learns his hands are not the only thing that can be healed. They are after a former student named Kaecillius (Mads Mikkelsen).
What I personally feared most going into the movie was that I would be confused. I have stated before I never read comic books as a kid (something I regret now as an adult), so I had no real knowledge of what to expect. What were Dr. Strange’s abilities? Was he a wizard? Does he even count then as a superhero? More than anything, would the explaining of the origin of Dr. Strange be too much for me to handle?
Thankfully, the movie explains only what it needs to, and nothing more. It also dashes in enough humor (as expected now by Marvel) to make sure we are smiling still. There is a scene where Mordo gives a piece of parchment to Strange, who is confused to what it is (it says “Shambala” reminding me of that great oldies song from Three Dog Night). The answer? The WiFi password.
The action scenes are not to be missed. The CGI is nothing short of spectacular (they reminded me a lot of Inception). I never was a fan of 3D, but I would not mind if I saw the movie again with those annoying glasses on.
Parents, the PG-13 rating is very mild. There is no sex (one mention of dialogue, though nothing horrible), some swearing, and mainly a little violence (a character at the beginning does get his head cut off, though it is not filled with gore). Basically, if your kids have seen any superhero movie made in the last fifteen years, they are fine seeing this.
In the classic Disney/Pixar flick The Incredibles (2004), the character Edna mentions how she does not like costumes with capes (the examples are always smile inducing). She may change her mind when she sees Dr. Strange’s cape. It is quite the character itself.
This movie is quite the charmer.
Overall: Four Stars ****