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Movie Review: DOCTOR STRANGE
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DOCTOR STRANGE
movie review by David Blackwell

115 minutes, Rated PG-13
STUDIO: Marvel Studios
Theatrical RELEASE DATE (North America): 11-4-2016

STARRING Benedict Cumberbatch (Dr. Stephen Strange), Tilda Swinto (the Ancient One), Chiwetel Ejiofor (Mordo), Benedict Wong (Wong), Mads Mikkelsen, Rachel McAdams
SCREENPLAY by Jon Spaihts, Scott Derrickson, and C. Robert Cargill
DIRECTED by Scott Derrickson

DOCTOR STRANGE is one of the most enjoyable Marvel movies since GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY.  It is a trippy action movie with a 1960s psychedelic like score as the characters sometime fight and race through moving M.C. Escher environments.   This movie may be one of the few 3D post conversions that may have effects that really be suited to seeing this movie in 3D.   Benedict Cumberbatch is able to portray Doctor Stephen Strange through a variety of emotions and sometime even display the proper moment of humor.  The movie is very much an origin story which does have some plot holes while also setting the stage for the mystical part of the Marvel Universe.  Director Scott Derrickson wants to introduce Nightmare in the sequel where I think Marvel’s Kevin Feige is dead set on having Mordo being featured given where the movie ended and the end credit scene reveals about the possible sequel.

 

Doctor Stephen Strange (Cumberbatch) is a brilliant arrogant neurosurgeon until a car accident mangles his hands.  He tries every type of surgery to get the nerves in his hands to work like they used t which leads him to, Kamar-Taj, a mystical place in Napal where he begins to train under the Ancient One (Swinton) and Mordo (Ejiofor) to learn the mystical arts (aka magic and astral protection).  Meanwhile, one of the Ancient One’s former pupils, Kaecilius (Mikkelsen), is trying to decipher a page he stole from one of the big magic tomes.  He wants to open a portal to the Dark Dimension so he and his disciples can get eternal life from the powerful Dormammu.   Strange learns quickly and he may be Earth’s only hope to stop Kaeilius and Dormammu.

 

DOCTOR STRANGE sets the stage for many things in this origin story which could have used more room to breathe, but Strange’s training seems a little too accelerated.   The climax and set up are fantastic, but they could have worked on the story that connected the two a little more.   I do have high hopes that the sequel could be better than the first DOCTOR STRANGE movie as long as Marvel Studios lets Derrickson come back as the director of the sequel and stay hands off when it comes to the script (and hopefully not try to shoehorn another Marvel storyline from another character into the sequel).  Go see DOCTOR STRANGE and hope Marvel takes more chances with their movies instead of just catering to the general mass market expectation.

This review is 11-11-2016 David Blackwell and cannot be reprinted without permission.  Send all comments to feedback@enterline-media.com

 

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