Dr. Strange: A Very Short Review

by Brenda W. Clough

drstrange Marvel comics have never been core for me. But like most comic fans I’m well familiar with the major landmarks of the Marvelverse — the X-men, the Fantastic Four and so on. Dr. Stephen Strange I know only by sight. Nevertheless, the idea of seeing Ditko creativity on the big screen was irresistible, and we live near an Imax 3-D theater.

And it was glorious — escapism in pure hot molten form! An actor who can dominate as Hamlet is not going to be stretched by starring in a superhero flick, so it is a pleasure to watch Benedict Cumberbatch totally rule in the title role. He has this in the palm of his eloquent hand.

The power of CGI has increased exponentially in just these past few years. Since Dr. Strange works with mystic realities they’re able to demonstrate on the screen the warping of reality and the various magical dimensions. OMG, that tiling — wait until the credits and see how many hundreds of people worked on the digital effects. It does indeed look like the comic books of the ’60s. This is a movie worth seeing in 3D. Seeing it on a six-story Imax screen is hallucinatory, like being on LSD — not for those prone to motion sickness!

What makes the movie, however, is the script. It’s witty in that Marvel way, unlike the similar but leaden DC action movies. I particularly admire the fact that Dr. Strange doesn’t completely give up on neurosurgery — he has all this medical knowledge and he continues to use it even though he has mystic powers and possibly the keenest cape in the world, ever. Seamstresses around the world are panting to examine that garment — the seaming at the shoulders, how is it done? Is there interfacing? And that it has a separate autonomous will (it beats up villains for him, when the doctor is too busy!) is just fun.





Dr. Strange: A Very Short Review — 3 Comments

  1. I saw the (very weird) Cumberbatch Hamlet that was telecast to theaters last year, and while the production itself had issues (why does Elsinore seem to explode half way through?) he was brilliant. To that point I had not fully appreciated how physical an actor Cumberbatch is; Dr. Strange takes full advantage of that physicality in gestures large and small.

    And yes, the cape is wonderful. The drape of the thing, the personality… it’s as if Aladdin’s rug grew up and became a garment, in the best possible way.

  2. Do not neglect to catch Cumberbatch in the title role of FRANKENSTEIN — it was filmed in both its versions (he plays the Monster in one and the doctor in the other). They’ve been touring it around to art-house theaters. I reviewed it somewhere in the blog a while ago. Utterly thrilling, and yes, they fully explore the physicality of the actor.

  3. Hah! I’m glad I’m not the only one who was fascinated by the costumes! The imbricated front of Tilda Swinton’s robes was gorgeous – I’d love to know how that was made.