Review: Doctor Strange offers a new kind of cinematic magic

Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor StrangeBenedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange
Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange
Matt Adcock reviews Doctor Strange (12A), starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Tilda Swinton

The Doctor will see you now – but Marvel's Doctor Strange is the story of the talented neurosurgeon Doctor Stephen Strange (Benedict ‘Sherlock’ Cumberbatch) who, after a nasty car accident, travels to the mystical Far East to try and find healing. What he encounters however changes everything and with the world in peril he must put his massive ego aside and learn the secrets of a hidden world of mysticism and alternate dimensions.

Director Scott ‘Sinister’ Derrickson has come a long way since making direct to video Hellraiser sequels, and here he crafts the compelling origin tale for a key new member of the Avengers – just in time for the Infinity War which hits screens in 2018. Doc Strange is not like the other Avengers in that he wields magic as his super power (and is helped no end by his superb Cloak of Levitation which has more personality than many sidekicks).

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Packing a vast array of metaphysical abilities (OK, spells then), Doctor Strange might sound like a Marvel Cinematic Universe take on Harry Potter but this is by far the coolest magic we’ve seen on the big screen to date. Strange makes Harry Potter’s wizarding world look weak in comparison (and has certainly thrown down the mystical gauntlet to Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them in terms of sheer jaw-dropping ‘oohhhhh' factor).

Everything about Doctor Strange, as a film, feels fresh and exciting, giving the Avengers universe a nice ‘Inception’ world-folding boost in the process. The visuals are just incredible and the plot bounces along without dragging, working to establish and make viewers care about what is quite an odd character.

On hand to support Strange are the female contingent of the movie. His talented one-time girlfriend Christine Palmer (Rachel ‘True Detective’ McAdams) who is handily a surgeon to patch him up and The Ancient One (Tilda ‘Narnia’s own White Witch’ Swinton) who trains him in the arcane ways are both great too.

Also on hand is baddie Kaecilius (Mads ‘Casino Royale’ Mikkelsen), a sorcerer who has turned to the dark side and now seeks to usher in the dark dimension for his big boss Dormammu and end the world. Can Strange save the day? It’s a new kind of magic.

Superhero fans should book an appointment with Doctor Strange ASAP and be sure to stay for not one but two end credit scenes.