Saturday, 12 November 2016

Doctor Strange (2016)

"What's this? My mantra?"

"It's the wi-fi password. We're not savages."

This may not be the best Marvel film ever, perhaps. It's not even the second best I've seen this year. But you know what? It doesn't need to be. Yes, it may be a fairly standard fantasy/sci-fi plot to the point that you know the Ancient One's going to die because Obi-Wan Kenobi, but it's standard stuff done very well, shot superbly with some splendidly trippy and Ditko-esque magic special effects and the perfect Stephen Strange in Benedict Cumberbatch, who not only plays the character superbly but looks exactly like him. There's no witty dialogue, which is odd for a Marvel film, but the brilliantly stylised and trippy direction and effects really elevate the film visually.

The Escher-esque weirdness with the cityscapes of London and New York is what I'll probably remember most from a film with a deliberately predictable plot, but the film just looks and feels exactly as Doctor Strange should. It feels trippy, Ditko and as psychedelic as the snippet of Pink Floyd's "Interstellar Overdrive" that we hear at the start. It doesn't feel like a Marvel film, but then Doctor Strange never felt much like the Marvel Universe anyway.

So, yes, an average Marvel film, if very far from a typical one. But Marvel set the bar high, and an average film of theirs is well worth seeing.

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