Doctor Strange’s inspirations are clear. It’s hard not to think of Nolan’s Inception when seeing the kaleidoscopic reality-bending special effects, or of 2001’s ‘stargate’ sequence when Strange is flung through the multiverse by the endlessly watchable Tilda Swinton. Yet this film wears these inspirations on its sleeve and never presumes to completely rip off these ideas, and is made all the better for it.
Benedict Cumberbatch plays the eponymous main character, a dry, egotistical wonder surgeon who, after suffering permanent damage to his hands, embarks on a healing pilgrimage so he can go back to being a doctor again. Instead, he inevitably becomes Marvel’s next superhero, a Mr Miyagi of silly quips and air stencils, if you will.
The main selling point of Marvel’s films is the action sequences, and these certainly don’t disappoint. It’s so refreshing to see a large studio try something a little different for once, although the cinematic universe’s usual tropes are still present in some shape or form. The traditional apocalyptic blue light in the sky is replaced with a large ethereal face this time around, but it isn’t really much of an improvement.
One thing that Marvel can never seem to nail down properly is action comedy. The ‘funny’ scenes are always so detached from the action, and even when comedic elements are introduced, they are barely incorporated into the fighting. I don’t see why not; the films don’t exactly take themselves too seriously. There was an attempt in Strange, but one notable example involving the cape felt more like an outtake than actually part of the film.
Nonetheless, Doctor Strange is a very enjoyable film, with a very eye catching and sophisticated cast list and not a single weak performance.