Doctor Strange (2016)
written by John Spaihts, Scott Derrikson, and C. Robert Cargill
based on the Doctor Strange comic books created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko
directed by Scott Derrikson
Disney and Marvel Studios continue their evil plans for world domination with yet another comic book adaptation that expands the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). And even though in my latest blog post on Captain America: Civil War (2016) I admitted to be suffering from superhero fatigue, I felt the trailer to Doctor Strange was intriguing enough to make me give it a chance: Mystical portals? Alternate dimensions? Time travel? Fine, I’m there.
Benedict Cumberbatch plays Stephen Strange, an arrogant neurosurgeon (is there another kind?) whose hands get mauled in a car accident, prompting him to seek help from the Ancient One (Tilda Swinton), a powerful sorcerer in Nepal. But instead of getting his extremities healed, the doctor becomes the Ancient One’s apprentice, letting go of his human desires (somewhat) and becoming part of a secret group protecting Earth from evil forces, all while looking good in a cloak. It’s a lot of fun, with a mind-bending climax in which Strange tries to avert a catastrophe that’s already happened by turning time backwards even as he himself is moving forward. I’m sure brain surgery has nothing on this.
Doctor Strange is not at the level of slightly deeper Marvel outings such as The Avengers (2012) or Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014), both of which were able to balance spectacle with a welcome dose of emotion. But it’s good in the way Captain America: The First Avenger (2011) or Ant-Man (2015) are: A solid couple of hours of cool action, nifty special effects, and witty characters.
Carlos I. Cuevas