Truth be told: I really tried to write an objective review about my newest cinema experience. But since it had been announced that Benedict Cumberbatch would be the hero in Marvels Doctor Strange and that Tilda Swinton would play another lead as well, I have been ecstatic. My two favourite actors in one movie together? Still a thought I need to wrap my head around. Even the controversy after Swintons casting was announced – her character is an old, Asian man in the comic books – could barely tamp down my excitement.
So it is really pointless to pretend that I did not read a few of the comic books beforehand or to keep quiet about the fact that I was so excited before watching the movie that I was barely able to eat for a whole day and was giddy afterwards for hours.
I probably would have been happy, if the movie had turned out to be mediocre and just granted me few nice scenes between Swinton and Cumberbatch. But Doctor Strange managed not to only exceed my expectations, it managed to blow me away.
The first scenes of the movie already prepare the audience for big things to come: Nothing short of dimensions are being transformed and intertwined in an epic fight scene between The Ancient One (Tilda Swinton) and Kaecilius (Mad Mikkelsen). It is just after that, that we get to know our protagonist Stephen Strange at his workplace, performing a surgery.
Doctor Stephen Strange is a talented, award winning but extremely arrogant surgeon. One evening while driving, he still consults with one of his colleagues over the phone. In the split second that he is looking at the screen and not the street, he loses the control over his car. It drives off a cliff and Stranges hand are completely shattered during the accident.
A lot of surgery later, which cost Strange all of his money and still don’t regain him the control over it hands, it appears that he has lost everything and everyone, including his ex-girlfriend Christine (Rachel McAdams) who looked after him.
Just when he thought there was no hope left, one of his therapist tells him that he once had a patient who was miraculously able to walk and live a pain free life after taking a trip to Kathmandu. Filled with new hope, Strange grabs the last of his cash and takes the trip.
When The Ancient One and Stephen Strange finally meet each other, the audience gets the chance to feast their eyes on two amazing actors and their craft. Swinton is playing The Ancient One with a coolness that is downright incomparable and Cumberbatch is playing the arrogant genius which he has down to perfection.
A few minutes later, the movie shows its audience how it is going to deal with the different dimensions as shown in the comics and that it really stayed close to its source material. It is a trippy way down fantasy lane which I have never seen before.
After a while, The Ancient One agrees to teach Strange. He takes up to his role as student very enthusiastically and quickly becomes one of the most well read and most talented of the group around The Ancient One. But up to this point he is still just after two things: Regain the control over his hands and to get back to his old life. It will be a long, long journey until he is fully able to control magic, to become the Sorcerer Supreme and to protect the world. It is also a long way until we are going to see a certain cloak. The Cloak of Levitation is a way for Comic relief, but definitely the tiny, secret star of the movie.
Doctor Strange is a solid base for more of his adventures in the Marvel universe. It also treats its roots to the comic books respectively in terms of plot and visuals. A scene in which Strange is being operated by Christine while simultaneously telling her what to do via his astral self, has been taken directly from the comic The Oath, for example.
Fans of Stephen Strange and newcomers alike can be swept away by this movie. That is not only down to the plot, the effects or Cumberbatch and Swinton, but the rest of the cast as well. Chiwetel Ejiofor as Mordo, Rachel McAdams as ex girlfriend Christine, Benedict Wong as librarian/monk Wong and baddie Mads Mikkelsen give stellar performances.
One recommendation that I will probably give for the first and last time, is to watch Doctor Strange in 3D and IMAX. I am someone who has to wear the cute “double glasses” look while watching one of these movies and am also not a big fan of 3D. But even I have to admit, that these effects work wonders for this movie.
You are probably not like me and can just confidently walk into a cinema to watch this movie and then not have to do a little happy dance in your seat every now and then. Still: If you want to experience a two hour long movie that you won’t forget for a while? I highly recommend Doctor Strange.
In German cinemas from October 27th
And you know what is the best thing about a movie with your two most favourite actors? They are doing the promo tour together!
In the last several days, I was witness to Cumberbatch and Swinton playing Jenga while being totally jetlagged (25 minutes well spent!)and moments like these:
Have fun watching Doctor Strange!