Doctor Strange

Dir: Scott Derrickson, 2016

4/10

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I’ve never been quiet about my lack of interest for superhero films and this hasn’t done anything to change that.

The fourteenth in the Marvel Comics Universe, Doctor Strange is a case of all style and no substance.

To be fair, it could be argued that because I don’t, generally, radiate to the genre of film this is, I’m not giving it a fair assessment. I would be inclined to agree, but there isn’t a dislike towards them and I certainly found a couple of them highly enjoyable; Iron Man and Thor for example.

But, this is just very slow and uninvolving.

A brilliant neuro-surgeon, Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) loses the use of his hands in a car accident.

Strongly believing that he can regain the ability, Strange travels to Kamar-Taj in Kathmandu in the hope that they can help him.

There, he is taught to unlock his supernatural, psychic ability and fight Kaetillous.

At just under two hours, the running time is too long and the film drags in places.

The special effects are outstanding and impress, greatly but Doctor Strange rings of The Matrix far too much. Nothing about the film seemed fresh or original.

I get that all the characters in Marvel overcome some tragedy or debilitating condition so the rise to superhero is a celebration of defeating adversity, but, there’s only so many times you can reuse the concept. It might work well in comics but in film it becomes tiresome.

Cumberbatch isn’t quite right for the lead role. Known for playing Sherlock Holmes in the updated BBC TV series, Sherlock, the English actor screams middle or upper class toff and would be more suited to a role that reflects that.

Employing an unconvincing American accent, the Sherlock star feels ill at ease as a superhero and bashes his way through the script.

A major problem with the film is it’s denial to allow the audience to empathise, or even just like, Strange. Arrogant and cocky, Dr. Strange is so full of himself that we can’t care for him or his accident, which he caused by driving like a twat and using his phone instead of looking at the road ahead. It’s difficult to feel sympathy when he’s the victim of his own stupidity. You need to be able to root for the hero and, here, you can’t.

Director Derrickson doesn’t add anything new to the character and chooses to rehash movie stereotypes. As a surgeoun, he must live in a penthouse with a grand piano, be cultured and possess an immaculate and finely tuned wardrobe with a selection of highly expensive watches. It would’ve been refreshing to see something, maybe, a little more down to earth and identifiable.

Rachel McAdams is the ex-love interest Dr. Christine Palmer. However, she is given very little to do and doesn’t, really, inject any flavour to the film. An intermittent screen time, McAdams goes through the motions by, simply, saying her lines and buggering off again. The inclusion of the character is a mystery.

But it’s not all negatives. There are some rather funny scenes that lift you out of the pit of boredom.

It seems to have become a trend in cinema to put all the effort into the special effects and little into the plot and writing. Frustratingly, Doctor Strange starts well and grabs you but then trails off just as quick.

Bland and dull, Doctor Strange should have been so much more but gives way to flashy exhibitions and risible dialogue.

A missed opportunity.

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