• Guy Jeffries

Doctor Strange Review


Director: Scott Derrickson.

Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch, Tilda Swinton, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Mads Mikkelsen, Rachel McAdams, Benedict Wong, Benjamin Bratt, Michael Stuhlbarg, Scott Adkins.

Horror writer/director Scott Derrickson, famed for Sinister, The Exorcism of Emily Rose and Deliver Us From Evil, has his wicked way with Marvel's Doctor Strange, the 14th film of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Derrickson is a big, self-proclaimed Doctor Strange fan and he even funded his own concept film to impress Marvel studios so he could direct. This franchise, without Doctor Strange, has already reaped a whopping estimated £10billion!

Doctor Strange, or otherwise known as Stephen Vincent Strange is a strange character indeed, even for Marvel standards, being the first hero that dealt with magic and mysticism. First appearing as a filler in Strange Tales back in 1963 before getting his own origin story five issues later. His physical appearance was based on horror legend, Vincent Price, hence his middle name.

Now, I've never been a fan of Benedict Cumberbatch and when I heard he was given the role I was originally put off, thinking, and I still do, that Game of Thrones' Aidan Gillen could have made a brilliant Strange. But, Cumberbatch does good, playing the egotistical, super-surgeon who goes in search of some mystical healing and ends up something stranger. He looks the part, acts the part and I even forgot for most of the movie that he was Cumberbatch. I think he's done a better job than what Joaquin Phoenix could have done.

It's an all-star cast and I'm thinking eventually every actor/actress is going to have a part in the MCU. I know there was a lot of controversy around the casting of Tilda Swinton as The Ancient One, but I agree with the creative reasoning behind the decision, being more of a title as oppose to a single character.

Chiwetel Ejiofor plays Mordo, but not exactly the Baron Mordo comic fans will know with this film possibly leading up to him, as Mads Mikkelsen plays the key villain Kaecilius who has a much smaller part in the comics. Mikkelsen never fails to play the bad guy with that unflinching, menacing look, however I don't think he was bad enough.

Benedict Wong is superb as Wong and I do hope he's around for the rest of the story as Doctor Strange's sidekick valet. Rachel McAdams, Benjamin Bratt and martial art film-star Scott Adkins make up the rest of the cast and all do extremely well. I don't think McAdams read the script because she sincerely looks shocked for a lot of her part.

The movie itself is way out there, being very much like its source material sticking to Marvel canon. When the comics were first published, some readers thought creator/artist Steve Ditko and others behind the story to be high on something and this film goes way beyond anything we've seen from Marvel before, not even from Fox or Sony Pictures.

It's like Marvel has taken the ingredients of Inception, The Matrix, Harry Potter and then mixed with a bit of Big Trouble in Little China and a dash of Edge of Tomorrow. It's beautifully mind-bending, like a live action M.C. Escher puzzle inside a psychedelic kaleidoscope.

Even Pixar's regular composer, Michael Giacchino does an interesting and broad score to reflect the vast weirdness of the movie using an array of instruments such as chimes, bells, harpsichords and a choir; no two tracks are the same with some baroque and even some backmasking which is quite spooky.

It has all the Marvel trademarks including the comedy elements which are, actually very amusing, especially the personification of his cloak. I like the little nods and connections to the rest of the universe that might be missed first time round, tying in with the incoming Infinity Wars

It's well paced, visually mind-blowing and a good addition to the MCU. I'm looking forward to seeing how everything comes together. But it isn't the best, different yes, but not as good as some of the others we have seen. Be sure to stay right till the very end for the usual couple of linkages.

That's it from Marvel Studios this year but 2017 is looking good with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2, then Spider-Man: Homecoming followed by Thor: Ragnarok. Who's up for a Marvel Marathon?

(EDIT: now seen for the second time and actually forked out on an IMAX ticket because of the visuals of this films and I would strongly recommend seeing this 3D or IMAX if possible.)

Running Time: 10

The Cast: 8

Performance: 8

Direction: 8

Story: 7

Script: 8

Creativity: 9

Soundtrack: 8

Job Description: 8

The Extra Bonus Point: 0

Would I buy the Blu-ray?: Yes. Being part of the MCU, you have to!

74% 7/10

#ScottDerrickson #BenedictCumberbatch #TildaSwinton #ChiwetelEjiofor #MadsMikkelsen #BenedictWong #RachelMcAdams #BenjaminBratt #ScottAdkins #MichaelGiacchino #MichaelStuhlbarg