Doctor Strange (2016) – Film Review


Director: Scott Derrickson
Cast: Benedict Cumberbatch, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Rachel McAdams
Certificate: 12A

by Anel Blazevic

As the Dark Knight trilogy, Guardians of the Galaxy and Deadpool did before it, Doctor Strange takes the superhero movie and reinvigorates it. And after this year’s damp squib overkills, Batman Vs Superman and Suicide Squad, the genre really needs this shot in the arm.

But this is no normal superhero flick. In fact, it’s a trip. Taking the comic book’s playful magic realism and filtering it through a warped kaleidoscope, Doctor Strange adds psychedelia, surrealism, time warps, dimension shifts and all sorts of visual exuberance to the mix. It’s a must for 3D lovers – and even better if you can watch it on IMAX.

That’s not to say the visual thrills are all the film’s got going for it. The script is unusually bold – especially so for a movie of this ilk – with the eponymous hero relying on spirit and wit over physical strength and abilities. Strange’s journey is one of gradual empowerment and a mastering of his own shortcomings.

doctor strange film review benedict

“The full cinematic experience”

Benedict Cumberbatch, riffing heavily on his Sherlock Holmes persona, moves into the Hollywood A-league with a mesmerising performance.

He’s an arrogant neurosurgeon who, after a bad accident, learns to bend time and space. But the arc of the story is really how he also learns to manage his own workaholic, narcissistic tendencies into something positive and good.

Tilda Swinton is astonishing. Bravely cast against the comic’s gender, she is fierce and otherworldly as The Ancient One. She brings an icy cool intrigue to a character that could easily have become a boring dispenser of arcane exposition.

This is the full cinematic experience and it is worth every one of your heard-earned pennies. Oh – and make sure you stay in your seats for the end credits outro scene. It’s really worth it.


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