Benedict Cumberbatch in Doctor Strange

  • Film
Benedict Cumberbatch in Doctor Strange


Thu, 27/10/2016 - 17:51


Benedict Cumberbatch in Doctor Strange
Benedict Cumberbatch
27 October, 2016

Certificate 12a

AS film-makers scour the comic book barrel for adaptations, it feels like Marvel’s run of adaptations may be reaching the end of the road.

They’ve done us proud with their Avengers series, and you can see why, on paper, bringing the oddball tale of Doctor Strange to life using the skills of Kentish Town resident Benedict Cumberbatch looks like a great idea.

But there is something missing at the heart of this big effects blockbuster.

Doctor Strange (Cumberbatch) is a leading neurosurgeon who has made a name for himself for his skill with a scalpel and a bone drill. 

He isn’t the nicest of people, treating his girlfriend Christine (Rachel McAdams) with a Sherlock-like detachment. When he is severely injured in a car crash, his career is ruined. Desperate to find a way of fixing his various physical ailments, he abandons Western medicine and heads to Nepal in search of a secret society he believes may have answers as to how the body can find ways to heal itself.

Doctor Strange begins meditation and martial arts training under the guidance of The Ancient One (Tilda Swinton) and discovers a world of powers that are beyond human comprehension. As he does so, he is sucked into a war between those who follow the Ancient One and a disciple (Mads Mikkelsen, with little to do but be shouty and throw some kung fu kicks about) who has gone awry and wants to use his power to unleash evil. 

Doctor Strange has a huge hole at its centre – characters are fleeting, the story is so far out as to make you lose interest and we are treated to some truly boring scene setting using conversations between characters that sound like the sort of talk that takes place in Glastonbury’s Green Fields at 4am. 

It also hammers you with special effects. The creation of a “spiritual” cosmic world is an eye­ache. Some work – an early scene where Regency buildings in the West End flip in all directions – is clever, but later computer-generated concepts of other dimensions become tiresome. 

Doctor Strange, with a mid-Atlantic accent, lacks the chutzpah of Marvel’s Iron Man or Captain America. Let us hope in the sure-to-come sequel, he’ll have the edges knocked off by Tony Stark and his wise-cracking cronies.

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