The comic book character Doctor Strange first appeared on the pop culture scene in 1963. Flash forward to 2016, and the character is making a splash on the big screen in the film “Doctor Strange” starring Benedict Cumberbatch (“Sherlock”) in the title role. The word strange is appropriate for both the character and the movie. In other words, this is one eccentric movie. “Doctor Strange” is an origin story, and introduces us to the character of Steven Strange(Cumberbatch), a famous neurosurgeon who loses use of his hands as the result of a harrowing car accident. Distraught at his condition after numerous failed surgeries, learns about a paraplegic who was mysteriously able to walk again. When Strange seeks out the man how was healed, the man sends him to Kamar-Taj, where he was healed. Upon arriving in Kamar-Taj, Strange is taken under the wing of a sorcerer named Morod (Chiwetel Ejiofor), who trains him and introduces him to the Ancient One (Tilda Swinton).
The Ancient One reveals to Strange the astral plane (the place where angels, spirits,etc. exist) and other dimensions (an example is Asgard the home of Thor). I told you this movie was eccentric. Once Strange learns how to harness his power via teaching by the Ancient One and Morod, he is ready to tackle the bad guys of the film, led by the power hungry Kaecillus (Mads Mikkelsen), who has really bad dark and cracked circles around his eyes. Kaecillus and his followers are bad because they have stolen pages from some ancient books that have allowed him to summon the Dormammu of the Dark Dimension, where time does not exist and you can live forever.
Meanwhile, before his battle with Kaecillus begins, Strange has come in possession of the Cloak of Levitation, that has a mind of its own, and the amulet called the Eye of Agamotto, a really cool green glowing stone that reminded me of Kryptonite. The battle between Strange and Kaecillus is very exciting and involves all sorts of special effects, some of which reminded of those used in the film “Inception”. The film also features several sequences which might make you feel as if you are tripping, and not over something.
All the actors involved, specifically Cumberbatch, are excellent, and the lead actor continues to show he is one of the best working actors of our time. Swinton is perfect and especially jarring as the Ancient One, who appears more alien than human in appearance. Even though I am a comic book fan, I only had limited information about Doctor Strange, so I went into the theater with little knowledge of what I was about to experience.
While I enjoyed the visually stunning film (a must see in 3D), I was at times a bit confused, but still managed to enjoy the proceedings. The role was tailor made for Cumberbatch, and falls in line with his other extremely intelligent characters, including his star turn as Sherlock Holmes in the British television show “Sherlock”, and Khan in “Star Trek Into Darkness”. Overall, “Doctor Strange” is one of the more creative and daring films from Marvel Studios, I just don’t recommend you take younger kids to visit this doctor. (Rated PG-13) 3 cloaks (out of 4)