Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating 7/10
Cast: Benedict Cumberbatch, Tilda Swinton, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Rachel McAdams, Benedict Wong, Mads Mikkelson.
To corrupt the great Bard, there is more in the Universe than we can ever understand, and at times it feels like that when you immerse yourself into the world of the comic book Superhero, to many it just seems a waste of celluloid or its digital sister and yet under the surface, the latent power it fills others with is at least enough to further enhance their imagination, and for that alone films from the houses of D.C. and Marvel have a place that would leave the world slightly less colourful for their absence.
The latest in a long line of productions from the Marvel Empire is a case in point. Doctor Strange, the enigmatic, often overlooked mystic hero has so far alluded the big screen, it is one that even a decade might have floundered without the technology to back it up and whilst it doesn’t hit the heights afforded by The Avengers or the Iron Man trilogy for example, it certainly is not bogged down by the insincerity of form associated with the likes of re-launch of the Fantastic Four.
To take on the world of magic is a hard ask, you are already asking the audience to suspend their belief once in the story of superheroes and other worldly beings, but to then take the crowd into the realms which could be nightmarish for sales to all but the most ardent of comic book fan, that it is almost surreal and mind boggling.
Without the redemption of having Benedict Cumberbatch in the lead role and the ever impressive Tilda Swinton taking on the changed for cinema part of The Ancient One and the impressive graphics, the film itself could descend into a desperate account of keeping the Marvel house in the viewers’ minds in the face of resurgent D.C. adaptations.
Doctor Strange is flash but not brutally showy, colourful but not gaudy and at times even fun, the odd one liner lively and vivid; it is though a difficult ask to suspend the imagination on many levels, not least when the action on screen depends on the reserve of what isn’t truly there; a film to see just to keep the overall arc together but one that also doesn’t disappear into a ball of smoke and false promises.
Ian D. Hall