Doctor Strange

Film, Action and adventure
3 out of 5 stars
4 out of 5 stars
(18user reviews)
Doctor Strange

Time Out says

3 out of 5 stars

Benedict Cumberbatch is an arrogant super-surgeon in Marvel’s weirdest and wackiest movie ever

The Marvel-verse has never shied away from a bit of groovy psychedelia, from the prog-rock cityscapes of ‘Thor’ to Ant-Man’s voyage into cosmic inner space. But they’ve never gone full-bore down-the-rabbit-hole acid freakout – until now.

There are sequences in ‘Doctor Strange’ that could burn the top layer off your eyeballs, crammed as they are with some of the most unashamedly drug-inspired imagery since the ‘The Simpsons’ episode where Homer takes peyote. But problems arise when ‘Doctor Strange’ tries to tackle the everyday stuff, like telling a half-decent story.

Benedict Cumberbatch is all spite and ego as Dr Stephen Strange, a New York super-surgeon more interested in fame and fortune than saving lives. But when his hands are shattered beyond repair in a car crash, Strange heads to Kathmandu in search of a miracle cure. He ends up at the feet of The Ancient One (Tilda Swinton), a shaven-headed guru who promises to open his mind to the endless possibilities of this infinite universe. But first they have to deal with Kaecilius (Mads Mikkelsen), a preening psycho wearing digitally enhanced guyliner who’s trying (like countless other identikit villains before him) to open a portal into hell and reveal the secret of eternal life.

Kaecilius isn’t the only character in ‘Doctor Strange’ who could use a little rounding out. Our hero is a brittle, unlikeable snob, played by Cumberbatch as Sherlock with a funny accent, a sports car and slightly improved interpersonal skills. And he’s the closest we get to complex: Swinton is basically Yoda without the humour, while poor Chiwetel Ejiofor has nothing to do but stamp and scowl as her sturdy sidekick Mordo. The character we’re meant to care about, Strange’s ex-girlfriend Christine (Rachel McAdams), is just a blank.

Luckily, the 3D visuals compensate. From hurtling, ‘2001’-inspired intergalactic excursions to ‘Inception’-style city-folding antics in the ‘Mirror Dimension’, the film has a freewheeling, gravity-defying buoyancy that’s beautiful to behold. But it can all feel a little threat-free – it’s hard to sustain tension when literally anything can happen, and the constant need for reams of exposition to explain what the hell is going on doesn’t help.

Director Scott Derrickson (‘Sinister’) should be applauded for sticking to his guns. He promised ‘Doctor Strange’ would be ‘weird and wild’, and so it is, at least within the context of a major Hollywood blockbuster. If only he’d found a way to contain these giddy surrealist elements within a compelling, compassionate storyline.

Details

Release details

Rated:
12A
Release date:
Tuesday October 25 2016
Duration:
115 mins

Cast and crew

Director:
Scott Derrickson
Screenwriter:
Scott Derrickson, C. Robert Cargill, Jon Spaihts
Cast:
Benedict Cumberbatch
Chiwetel Ejiofor
Rachel McAdams
Tilda Swinton

Users say (18)

4 out of 5 stars

Average User Rating

3.7 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:4
  • 4 star:6
  • 3 star:7
  • 2 star:1
  • 1 star:0
LiveReviews|18
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tastemaker

Tired of Marvel superheroes with a colourful cape and a fancy dress, and looking for a "human" superhero? Then Doctor Strange is a film you will love. He was born human and acquires powers only through knowledge and by studying ancient textbooks on magic arts, his superpowers grow in his mind and transform him into a powerful magician. The interpretation by Tilda Swinton and Benedict Cumberbach is amazing, giving to the film an interesting and mysterious vibe. Landscape and cinematography are stunning and characters' development was brilliant; everything together contributes to make this film enjoyable to everyone. Bonus tip: If you are going to watch Marvel Infinity War then watch Doctor Strange before watching it, you will pick up much more references and understand the film better.

Tastemaker

Benedict Cumberbatch does his usual thinking woman's crumpet routine, but he finally gets his comeuppance for his arrogance (and his incredibly bad driving), when his life takes a literal tumble (actually, many tumbles) into disaster. As with other superheroes, he finds his vocation among his secret, own kind. The plot is nonsense, and there is really only one reason to see this film--the amazing performance by Tilda Swinton as Doctor's Strange's eventual spiritual leader and healer. In fact, her role is so good she makes Rachel McAdams, as Dr Strange's love interest, appear wasted in more senses than one. There may have been controversy about Swinton taking on a role of a Tibetan, but she is so mesmerising on screen that she owns the role and the film.

Tastemaker

Not what I was expecting but cool nonetheless. Witty at times, well executed by Benedict Cumberbatch for his first foray into comic book franchise films.

Too much going on in terms of CGI and lots of gesticulating, a cross between Inception and Harry Potter. I probably wouldn’t go to see the sequel.
Tastemaker

Benedict Cumberbatch is in danger of getting typecast. Once again, he plays an arrogant self-obsessed weirdo who's super intelligent but lacks some of the human qualities that make him likeable to the opposite sex and...well anyone really. Here he plays Stephen Strange, a brilliant surgeon who loses his skills in a tragic accident. It sounds like normal superhero stuff but this one's different down to the fact that it's a lot more mystical, with portals to other realms opening up, levitation cloaks and mirrored worlds where the buildings close in on themselves and become deadly traps! It's absolute nonsense and makes no sense whatsoever but Cumberbatch's sarcasm is entertaining and the martial arts with a Harry Potter twist is well directed.

moderator

I enjoyed it. It was weird, as it should be, after all is Dr Strange. Benedict was superb. Loved the special effects, the pseudo-philosophical undertones, the evolution of his character. You must stay until all credits are finished for a surprise.

tastemaker

I liked some aspects of the film, but the finale was bizarre, well I suppose that's to be expected; the whole film is based in a Strange parallel world and so one has to expect the bizarre and the unexplained but the way the villain was dispatched with was forced and his eye make-up was, well eye make-up when in fact it was meant to be the partial disintegration of his body... If there is a sequel it will be interesting to see where they go. All these first films suffer from having to explain the origin of the character and we are all sitting there going, okay when's he going to 'turn' into something super-human? Get on with it... just too weak a plot I felt. Some dodgy supporting cast performances also let it down.

tastemaker

Watched it in 3D in the Imax. I'm not Marvel fan and I rarely watch anything that involve action / cgi.
I barely blinked once through the whole film. I was seriously impressed. My friends and I all walked out the cinema saying how it was definitely, the best Marvel, and one of the best cinema experience of 2016.
Highly recommend it & must watch it in 3D!

Tastemaker

As a precursor to this review: let me state that I'm not a fan of superhero movies. Superfluous cloaks and predictable storylines are not really my scene.

So I had low expectations for Dr Strange, but darling Benedict lured me to the cinema.

What a surprise (for the uninitiated that is!) An interesting plot, an excellent Tilda Swinton and some genuinely hilarious moments. It was two hours of sheer fun that, yes, may have drifted into ridiculous territory but overall delivered some interesting concepts, excellent performances and daring set pieces.

A superhero movie for those who don't like superheroes, Dr Strange is both entertaining and impressive!


Dr. Strange doesn't stray far from the established Marvel origin story formula, but its one of the studio's most visually distinct offerings since the neon-tinged interstellar splendor of Guardians of the Galaxy. Cumberbatch lends his usual roguish magnetism to Strange, showcasing a surprisingly convincing American accent and enough pathos to make the egotistical character likable. The plot moves a bit too quickly (Strange goes from crippled doctor to masterful hero in a matter of minutes), but the set pieces are stunning and varied, including a relentlessly clever finale. Like most Marvel flicks, it's perfectly enjoyable, but no amount of forced humor and CG spectacle can save it from being yet another variation of a tired narrative structure.


I found your review quite unpleasant!  Strange is egotistical and arrogant in the beginning of the comics and Cumberbatch & Swinton are terrific - the scene with him and Swinton when she is dying are the best in any Marvel film.

Tastemaker

One of the weaker MCU films and essentially a vehicle for some mindboggling special effects (Inception x ∞), with a typical origin story.  I'm not a huge Cumberbatch fan and he doesn't have a huge amount to work with here, nor do much of the fine cast with all characters being one-dimensional and paper-thin (even for comic book films).  There's a surprising amount of humour though and damn, those effects.  Watch at the cinema on the biggest screen you can (don't bother with the 3D though), beyond that - one you can safely skip.

Tastemaker

I never used to enjoy comic-related films, but I gave Dr Strange a go after enjoying some other comic-based films over the past couple of years.


Benedict Cumberbatch was fantastic as Dr Strange - he really acted the role very well, and was as weird and wonderful as you'd imagine. 


Tilda Swinton was fantastic casting for her role as The Ancient One - she did mystical, weird, amazing and unbelievable all rolled into one!


The colours in the film were gorgeous, although I'm sure it helped that we were watching this in IMAX 3D (which, by the way, is worth the extra money!). It reminded me of some sort of mystic lava lamp at some point, and it was so vivid and bright and fast moving, that your eyes just didn't know where to look!

Staff Writer

This film will massively divide audiences. I absolutely loved it because it was full of action, gorgeous special effects, ROFL-worthy quips and a great cast. As a lover of Marvel and Marvel films, I could watch it and all its plot holes time and time again. But my husband thought it was boring and silly. Well, you can't please them all but I'm pretty happy with it.

tastemaker

It was well... Strange. Visually impressive but just a slightly odd film. Still definitely worth a viewing.

Tastemaker

Doctor strange is not the typical super heroe and this new version with Benedict Cumberbatch as Dr. Stephen Strange's is absolutely briliant.

Stunning special effects!

Tastemaker

I've never read a Marvel or DC comic but I love the tv and film adaptations. I came out of Dr Strange 3d with a huge grin on my face. Benedict Cumberbatch is perfectly cast - he is funny, sexy and ridiculous. Chiwetel Ejiofor also great in his  honest, passionate role and Tilda Swinton again perfectly classed as an inscrutable weirdo.


You can easily pick a film like this apart - does it make sense? is it ridiculous? No and absolutely - that's why I loved it - totally escapist and fun, fun, fun. The 3d was really effective and powerful.


I can't wait for the sequel - if you want some superhero fun - GO!

tastemaker

The first 2 thirds of this film are refreshingly not like your typical Marvel movie (self-referencing jokes aside) with a very different tonal feel and thankfully just a few references to the wider Marvel universe.

For a couple of trippy sequences alone it’s well worth catching in IMAX 3D. Unfortunately there are only really 2 characters of note – Benedict Cumberbatch in the title role and Tilda Swinton as ‘The Ancient One’ - as Rachel MacAdams, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Mads Mikkelsen are given such thin roles their talents seem quite wasted.

Cumberbatch, to his credit, does drive the movie along well and keeps his Stark-type character just on the right side of likeable.

The final third sadly falls into the marvel trap of big ‘save-the-world-again’ territory with inevitable results including a a post-credits cameo sting from one of the aforementioned Avengers team. There is clearly potential with this character to do something quite different if the Inception-esque visuals are anything to go by but on this occasion it’s just let down a bit by the formula.