Friday, March 3, 2017

Now on Netflix: Doctor Strange (2016)

Doctor Strange (2016) - Directed by Scott Derrickson; Written by Jon Spaihts, Scott Derrickson, C. Robert Cargill; Starring Benedict Cumberbatch, Tilda Swinton, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Mads Mikkelsen, Rachel McAdams, Benedict Wong, Michael Stuhlbarg, Benjamin Bratt.

By Kenny Howell

Magic can be tricky.

On one hand, it can be a crutch. With magic you can do basically whatever you want because you can just say, no matter how ludicrous the resolution, "magic did it!"

But on the flip side, it allows you to be amazingly creative, summoning new worlds and creatures that have never been seen before.

Luckily, Marvel's latest film Doctor Strange does the latter. Through unbelievable special effects, Doctor Strange shows us a multiverse world that is like the one we saw in Inception, Paris folding over on itself, times 100.

The always great Benedict Cumberbatch (The Imitation Game) plays the titular Strange, a doctor who is horribly injured in a car crash and seeks rehabilitation so he can go back to being the master neurosurgeon he was before the accident. When things don't go as quickly or as well as possible, he seeks alternatives. He hears of a man that had injuries as bad as him but is now walking around, playing basketball and back to a normal life.

That man points him to the Himalayas, where a mystical healer can get him back to health. What Strange finds is The Ancient One, played by Tilda Swinton (A Bigger Splash), a woman who can access other worlds through magic, and she enlists Strange to battle against evil.

The cast is outstanding with Oscar winners and nominees like Swinton, Cumberbatch and Chiwetel Ejiofor (The Martian), plus another who should be in Mads Mikkelsen (A Royal Affair). It helps to really sell this wacky world of multiple universes, even if the special effects do much of the work for them. How this didn't win the Oscar for Best Visual Effects, I am not sure, it is a very impressive place where worlds are folded into each other and interlock like gears on a giant machine.

Director Scott Derrickson (Deliver Us From Evil) assembles all these pieces and takes it past where it is expected to go. It's a feast for not only the eyes, but clever and fun. Exactly what a comic book movie should be.

Doctor Strange is now streaming on Netflix.

Rating: ***

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