Dr. Strange (7/10)
by Tony Medley
Runtime 115 minutes.
OK for children.
Except for horror and
silly chick flicks, if I made a list of movie genres I loathe, superhero
fantasies would be at the top. Which is why for me to give this a
positive rating means that there must be something in it other than the
ridiculous story. Thinking about it, I probably would have felt the same
way about Homerís Odyssey had I been a critic in 800 BC. Iím not
a big fan of fantasy.
Dr. Strange is
nothing if not ludicrous fantasy, set in a world that never existed and
never will exist. It starts out with Dr. Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch)
as an arrogant, brilliant surgeon who is in some sort of a romantic
relationship with Dr. Christine Palmer (Rachel McAdams), a character
about as irrelevant to the play as Rosencrantz and Guildenstern were to
Dr. Strangeís hands
get injured and he goes into a huge funk, ending up in Nepal (where
else?) looking for The Ancient One who has been highly recommended by
Jonathan Pangborn (Benjamin Bratt) on a basketball court. The Ancient
One turns out to be Tilda Swinton, who has lost her hair throughout the
eons she has been in existence. Her right hand man is Karl Mordo (Chiwetel
Ejiofor), another character with a questionable raison díÍtre. Somebody
had to play these minor characters like Palmer and Mordo, but I guess
they picked stars like McAdams and Ejiofor to draw in an audience.
However, the audience for these fantasies is going to attend regardless
who plays the characters.
After Dr. Strange
comes under the sway of The Ancient One, she gets him involved in an
intergalactic battle with Kaecilius (Mads Mikkelsson), who plays a kind
of Lucifer to The Ancient Oneís God in this tale that seems to mirror
the story of creation in the first book of the Bible, Genesis.
What follows is the
movie, which is the battle between good and evil and multiple universes
involving gravity-defying buildings and locales, with some of the best
special effects you will ever see and, without question, the best 3-D I
have ever seen. It was so good that I actually got dizzy watching some
of the scenes. It is because of these special effects and 3-D that I
stretched to give this a positive rating, certainly not the fantasy or
the sophomoric philosophizing that goes on between the characters.
Equally wasted along
with McAdams is Mikkelsson, one of the better actors of his generation.
Playing a role like this, in which he walks around and scowls with heavy
makeup around his eyes, is a desecration of his talent. There was
probably a lot of money here, but I wish Mads had eschewed it.
This is actually more
of a comedy than any kind of serious dramatic effort. Itís an
ďentertainment,Ē and, as such, isnít bad.