Viewed – 07 March 2017 online rental
A brilliant neurosurgeon (Benedict Cumberbatch) suffers a car accident that leaves him with injuries to his hands … his tools you might say. So with the fear his career might be in shambles, he seeks out some of the worlds greatest surgeons. However all refuse or fail due to the extent of his injuries, and so Strange is forced to seek out more spiritual methods and stumbles upon a centuries old battle to save the world.
Special effects have come a long way and pretty much anything is possible on screen. So here you get a kaleidoscope of visual wonder that seems to initially borrow from that ‘turn the city upside down on itself’ moment from Inception and run with it. It’s dizzying but opens up a wealth of possibilities only limited by a director’s imagination. Cumberpatch is perfectly cast, charismatic, a little bit arrogant and really looks the part complete with a great goatee. Supporting him is Tilda Swinton as a mystical ‘ancient one’ – think Morpheus from The Matrix if you think of Strange as Neo. Add to this welcome but under-used support from Rachel McAdams as Strange’s sort-of (but not really) love-interest, and also Mads Mikkleson as a rogue student who’s trying to bring about Armageddon more or less with the help of a giant CGI face.
It’s all wonderfully bonkers and should probably be taken as such as it lacks emotional weight or personal stakes and largely washed over this viewer, despite several exciting sequences (a chase through parallel dimensions for example). Thankfully Cumberbatch and especially Swinton help make everything work to an extent and this makes for good entertainment that’s also surprisingly funny at times. What the concept might bring to the Marvel Cinematic Universe (hinted especially during the end credits) is ripe with potential … but despite touching on such possibilities, only delivers a partially satisfying experience.
Verdict: 3.5 /5