Doctor Strange (2016)

Since its inception in 1939, Marvel comics has always tried & often failed to match the popularity of DC comics’ greatest super heroes Batman and Superman. But one cannot deny the fact that Marvel has created a great cinematic universe.

Doctor strange is the latest entry, in Marvel’s cinematic superhero universe. He is a neurosurgeon was highly stable hands & nerves to perform the most complicated brain surgeries with ease. His fame and stardom as a surgeon is in danger when he meets with an accident which renders his hands and usable. He then moves to the east to try out some Eastern medicine for his recovery and what follows is what becomes the legend of Doctor Strange.

But, to be fair, Doctor Strange is a somewhat different beast from the studio’s previous films – one with distinctive elements, particularly a unique and trippy visual aesthetic – even if it does seem awfully familiar at its core.

Sherlock star, Benedict Cumberbatch easily slips into the highly familiar role of a brilliant yet cocky neurosurgeon, Dr Stephen Strange, operating out of New York. But sadly, his glamorous, almost playboy like life sinks, when he survives a dangerous car crash, while travelling to another on of the parties, he could not miss to attend. This crush demolishes both his spirit and his hands. The story felt strangely familiar to me at times. On later introspection, I found that, the plot in-fact is very similar to Iron Man, but still is different in its own way.

Staying faithful to the blueprint of previous Marvel films – and frankly most films in the superhero genre – a major part of Doctor Strange is devoted to Cumberbatch becoming comfortable and associated with his new powers. But it’s the film’s visual audacity that truly separates it from other properties in the canon. Never shying away from the character’s psychedelic roots in the comics, director Scott Derrickson pushes for an entirely bold look and feel characterized by kaleidoscopic mind-scrambling visual effects, including stunning sequences of buildings and entire cities bending and folding in on themselves Inception-style.

Unfortunately, at the time of the release, I wasn’t there in Bombay to experience it in IMAX 3D. Hearing from my friends and with speculation, I can only imagine the visual treat the IMAX viewers might have had. A bald Tilda Swinton, as The Ancient One, steals virtually every scene she’s in. But both Chiwetel Ejiofor as The Ancient One’s assistant Mordo and Mads Mikkelsen as Kaecilius, the villain Dormamu’s follower from the Dark Dimension, fell not enough fleshed out. Benedict Wong as the never laughing librarian Wong, delivers a necessary relief in the screenplay.

In the end, Doctor Strange is entertaining despite its formulaic plot, but will need more than just good humour and snazzy CGI to justify a sequel. I’m going with 3½ out of 5 for Scott Derrickson’s Doctor Strange.

P.S. It’ll be interesting to see what he brings to the next Avengers film where he’ll join the rest of the gang.