Doctor Strange (12A)

Internationally acclaimed actor Benedict Cumberbatch enters the Marvel universe as the sorcerous superhero Doctor Strange.

Doctor Stephen Strange is a brilliant neurosurgeon capable of saving countless lives and yet he only focuses on the cases that will bring him more fame. In short he’s a royal prick.

Karma bites him in the ass when a car accident leaves him in a hospital bed needing the kind of state of the art surgery only he can provide. After a long period of sulking and trashing his rich boy penthouse apartment Strange decides to sell everything he owns and embark on a journey of self-discovery.

Strange travels to the Far East where he becomes the protégé of the mysterious Ancient One (Tilda Swinton) who reckons she can fix the doc. Ancient One is a mystical being who invites Strange to travel to alternate dimensions and make a real difference. But true to form his arrogance gets in the way of his training. It’s less Karate Kid and more Sulking Sociopath.

He finally gets his shit together and learns how to manipulate space and time in his new role as a superhero Doctor. Right on cue his new-found abilities and giving attitude are put to the test in the form of a villain named Kaecilius (Mads Mikkelsen) who fancies destroying the entire world for shits and gigs.

Will Strange get his shit together in time to save the world or just shirk it off and find a new planet to be a sad egomaniac on? To be honest by this point in the movie I had given up. I just didn’t care anymore. In all honesty I nearly dozed off at some points.

Doctor Strange just goes to show that Benedict Cumberbatch isn’t on point all the time. It may be his first step into the Marvel universe but here’s hoping it’s a short-lived visit. We all know it won’t be though. It’s as though Marvel are going through a sticky divorce and need to squeeze as much moolah out of the franchise as possible. Shove 15 characters with differing storylines into one movie? No problemo. Does it make sense? Nope. But hell it makes money right? Who cares about context when you’re raking it in?

Doctor Strange is 2016’s most forgettable action movie. The plot is obviously in another one of the Marvel multi-verses because it sure as heck isn’t here. Benedict Cumberbatch’s American accent is painful. It felt as though every word hurt my brain a little bit more than the last. Like a dull ache.

Chiwetel Ejiofor plays his role with all the enthusiasm of one of Strange’s mangled patients.  Tilda Swinton is her usual vacuous self, offering little to her huge part. Then there’s Rachel McAdams, who tries her best to make the best of her overplayed role of the thankless love interest. Iron Man, Thor, Captain America and Deadpool all have that in common too. Here’s hoping that Brie Larson’s role as Captain Marvel can shake some of these shackles off and given a more diverse view of the Marvel universe than just hapless girlfriend waiting to be rescued.

By Ruth Walker

★☆☆☆☆

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