(director/writer: Scott Derrickson; screenwriters: Jon Spaihts, C. Robert Cargill; cinematographer: Ben Davis; editors: Wyatt Smith, Sabrina Plisco; music: Michael Giacchino; cast: Benedict Cumberbatch (Dr. Stephan Strange), Chiwetel Ejiofor (Mordo), Rachel McAdams (Christine Palmer), Benedict Wong (Wong), Mads Mikkelsen (Kaecilius), Tilda Swinton (The Ancient One), Michael Stuhlbarg (Dr. Nicodemus West), Benjamin Bratt (Jonathan Pangborn), Scott Adkins(Lucien/ Strong Zealot); Runtime: 115; MPAA Rating: PG-13; producer: Kevin Feige; Disney; 2016)
“A wacky mystical movie from Marvel.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
A wacky mystical movie from Marvel, that is lighthearted and filled with 3D special effects. Horror maven Scott Derrickson(“Deliver Us From Evil”/”Sinister”) directs and co-writes with Jon Spaihts and C. Robert Cargill. It’s filled with sparkling psychedelic images and pop culture humor, which elevates the absurd story line to a higher level than it probably deserves. Dr. Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch, British actor) is a brilliant but arrogant NY neurosurgeon, interested in fame and fortune. Following a costly car accident that leaves his hands permanently mangled, he’s unable to practice medicine. Since Western medicine can’t cure him, in desperation he goes for a mystical miracle cure to Kathmandu, Nepal, to see the shaven-headed guru called the Ancient One (Tilda Swinton). She specializes in healing those who are completely broken down and who are willing to do anything she says in her spiritual treatment. Strange can be cured only by letting go of his ego and trusting his teacher to put him on the right path. He struggles to let go of his ego but when he does he ends up manipulating mind over matter so his body can cure itself. He then turns himself into a sorcerer who rules the world using a doomsday weapon that at will can fold time and space. In fights in New York and Hong Kong to battle supervillain (Mads Mikkelson), Strange rules the day.Rachel McAdams plays Christine Palmer, the ER doc who can’t resist Strange even if rebuffed by his huge ego. Chiwetel Ejiofor plays Mordo, one of the many masters in the Ancient One’s service. And, Benedict Wong is Wong, the protector of the Ancient One’s secret books. The three great Brit actors Cumberbatch, Ejiofor and Swinton give the superhero fantasy film added dazzle, but can’t add depth to a story that’s all about spectacle.
REVIEWED ON 11/5/2016 GRADE: B-