If this is what Marvel’s B-list looks like, the future is very, very bright
Things are getting a little strange in the Marvel Universe. And that’s a very, very good thing.
Not that the film adapation of Marvel’s resident sorcerer didn’t come without concern. Doctor Strange isn’t the most decorated superhero pal to the likes of Spiderman, Captain America and the Hulk – his stories were most popular in the 1970’s, the last decade of the Silver Age of Comic Books. His gig, weaved together with wizards and spiritualism, hasn’t exactly thrived since…but the concept opens up the door for some truly mind bending stuff, and the perfect ‘next’ chapter for his pals, the Avengers.
Oh, and Strange makes for a darn fine stand alone adventure, to boot.
Benedict Cumberbatch stars as Dr. Stephen Strange, one of the world’s top neurosurgeons. He’s rich, cocky, and the best of the best at New York’s finest hospital. But when his ridiculously expensive sports car takes flight on a winding road just outside the city, Strange is left with irreversible nerve damage in his hands and fingers and looks to be out of the game.
The good EX-doctor’s search for healing takes him to Nepal, where he finds The Ancient One (Tilda Swinton) who teaches him to control energy, create portals to other dimensions and other tricks that not only help him to miraculously recover, but assist him when a former disciple of Swinton (a very intimidating Mads Mikkelsen) returns to present Earth to an all-powerful tyrant named Dormammu.
Sometimes, origin stories of superheroes can get bogged down by details. Yet, even though ‘Doctor Strange’ is perhaps guilty of information overload, this is an engrossing, lively and visually spectacular debut for Cumberbatch’s character. Much of the credit goes to the star, for his Tony Stark-like balance of arrogance, charm and vulnerability. But the real star is director/co-writer Scott Derrickson (‘Sinister’). He bends old school formula with contemporary magic to launch one of Marvel’s finest flicks in some time. And, given present company in the spandex-clad locker room, that’s very high praise.