DOCTOR STRANGE (12)
D: Scott Derrickson
Disney/Marvel (Kevin Feige)
USA 🇺🇸 2016
W: Jon Spaihts, Scott Derrickson & C. Robert Cargill [based on characters written by Stan Lee & Steve Ditko]
DP: Ben Davis
Ed: Wyatt Smith & Sabrina Plisco
Mus: Michael Giacchino
PD: Charles Wood
Benedict Cumberbatch (Dr. Stephen Strange), Chiwetel Ejiofor (Karl Mordo), Rachel McAdams (Christine Palmer), Benedict Wong (Wong), Tilda Swinton (The Ancient One), Mads Mikkelson (Kaecilius)
The Marvel comic book character Doctor Strange was originally tackled in 1978 with a TV movie, but without any real budget or the technology for special effects, it's fair to say that this version failed to take flight.
With the Marvel Cinematic Universe in full operational swing and filmmaking tricks now able to convincingly bring the magic to the string, this 2016 film not only blows the 1978 version out of the water, it practically destroys its existence (I haven't reviewed the 1978 version on this website because of its television roots).
The origin tale follows the path of Dr. Stephen Strange, a brilliant but arrogant neurosurgeon who suffers irreparable nerve damage following a car accident, and when conventional medicine fails to remedy him, he turns to a mysterious cult in Nepal who teach him of spiritual arts, including the separation of the physical world from the astral world, allowing him to bend the rules of time, space and physics.
An enemy rears his head in the form of Kaecilius, who separated ties with the cult in order to practice the dark side of the spiritual arts.
The effects are easily the most impressive ever seen in a Marvel film, with no bounds to the limitations, but some of the visuals will seem incredibly familiar to other films (Inception, The Matrix) and the story follows the all too familiar origin story path. Even the character of Doctor Strange is modelled so close on Tony Stark, they could easily be related. That being said, Benedict Cumberbatch fits the character like a glove and the film sets up a follow-up film to perfection.
The superhero genre may be a little oversaturated recently, but with offerings like this, there's still plenty of mileage to go for Marvel.