In case you’ve been in a coma since forever, a’ la Rick Grimes; Doctor Strange is out.
Since I’m clearly hooked on superhero movies the way Captain Crunch is hooked on sugary corn snaps, I’ve already been to seen Doctor Strange. So you’re about to be treated to my Doctor Strange review.
First, let’s talk about the elephant in the room. There are a lot of comparisons between Iron Man and Tony Stark. Both are Kim Kardashian-level rich. The inciting incident of both characters involves trauma. Both characters are so handsome they make me cry every time I look in a mirror. And they’re both so far up their own a-holes their next-door neighbours are yesterday’s sweetcorn.
Where Iron Man and Tony Stark diverge is that the former embraces science while the latter goes down a mystical path. One took the Stephen Hawkings way of “I’ll cook up futuristic sciencey goodness”. The other went down the metaphysical path of Immanuel Kant. Both routes are worth the trek. And Doctor Strange covers the metaphysical path wonderfully.
You can’t do celluloid metaphysics without beautiful visuals. What would Inception or The Matrix be without their special effects? It’d be like taking Emilia Clarke on a date to McDonalds. It just wouldn’t work. And besides, she’d say no. I already asked.
Speaking of Inception. Doctor Strange feels like Inception and 2001: A Space Odyssey had some demonic love child. It’s mindboggling. Benedict Cumberbatch sprints through a kaleidoscope world for two full hours while the camera follows him around. It’s like we’ve jumped right back down the rabbit hole. And damn, what a journey it is.
Backing up this metaphysical romp is stellar acting. Tilda Swinton, who’s been on a John Cena-level win streak with performances in Only Lovers Left Alive and The Grand Budapest Hotel and more, puts in another amazing performance as The Ancient One. Chiwetel Ejiofor’s Mordo in an ass-kicking man-beast, as is Mads Mikkelsen’s Kaecilius. Rachel McAdams actually gets the opportunity to use who wonderful emotional range. And Benedict Wong provides the solid straight-acting required for his role as Wong.
For years, people have spat all over the place about how comic book movies are formulaic. And it’s often a legit complaint. Having hurled hundred of millions of dollars at a movie, producers want to know that their latest flick is going to pay dividends the way Apple stock paid dividends in the early 00s. It’s not every comic book movie that can go ham on originality like Guardians of the Galaxy. And yeah, Doctor Strange is a little formulaic. But it is still a beautifully presented movie with stellar acting, and you would be as insane as Gary Busey not to go see it.
Doctor Strange is a must-see movie. It might not be the most original flick of the year. And it might not be about to redefine the comic book movie. But for two hours this movie will grab you the way your girl grabs you after oysters and a bottle of Domain Ramonet. And trust me. You want to be grabbed that way.
4 out of 5.