Movie: DOCTOR STRANGE
Rating: PG-13, sci-fi violence and action throughout and an intense crash sequence
Jeanne: From the very opening sequence through the closing credits, "Doctor Strange" is a visual effects marvel --- truly spectacular, especially in 3D. The latest superhero film from Marvel Cinematic Universe, distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, is based on the Marvel Comics character Doctor Strange, originally conceived by artist Steve Ditko and written by Stan Lee in 1963.
Dr. Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) is a renowned neurosurgeon whose heady career is destroyed by a terrible car accident. His hands no longer function, but he is determined to find a solution. He travels to Kathmandu, Nepal in search of Kamar-Taj. His arrogant skepticism almost prevents him from being taken in by the Ancient One (Tilda Swinton) and the sorcerer Mondo (Chiwetel Ejiofor).
Another student of the Ancient One's, Kaecilius (Mads Mikkelsen), and his followers have turned to the dark side. They are attempting to destroy the three Sanctums, one in New York, London and Hong Kong, thus annihilating Earth. It becomes Doctor Strange's mission to prevent Kaecilius from succeeding.
Some of us are mighty tired of the superhero movies --- David being one of them. But, trust me, you've not seen this before --- even David likes the film. Cumberbatch is perfection --- he's believably snobbish, haughty and witty --- and he makes an awesome superhero.
The rest of the cast, Swinton, Ejiofor, Mikkelsen and Rachel McAdams as Dr. Christine Palmer, Strange's on-again/off-again paramour, are terrific. Each adds a great deal to the story and are superb in their parts.
However, what makes "Doctor Strange" so appealing and sensational are the visuals. Yes, we've seen remarkable special effects in the past, but the visual effects provided by Industrial Light & Magic and Luma Pictures are, well, magical.
Director Scott Derrickson also deserves a great deal of credit for the finished product. He was up against many others interested in helming this film, but he was determined to get the project, spending a great deal of time and money putting together a self-conceptualized 90 minute pitch to the studio, His dedication is apparent when you see "Doctor Strange". And when you do, make sure you stay all the way through the closing credits!
Opinion: See It Now!
David: Benedict Cumberbatch stars in "Doctor Strange", a wildly ambitious sci-fi adventure set in modern day, although a great deal of the film takes place outside the normal 21st century dimension. As Doctor Strange, Cumberbatch loses his British accent and sounds remarkably like Ethan Hawke. In the process, he comes across as a guy with whom you'd like to share a beer.
There is no doubt Marvel Studios will build an entire franchise around Cumberbatch and "Doctor Strange". He's an extremely appealing actor, one of Jeanne's favorites, and this role affords him the opportunity to show his lighter side.
Behind the scenes of "Doctor Strange" is a vast crew of special and visual effects talents --- approximately 600 credits under visual effects alone --- plus a cast that also includes Chiwetel Ejiofor, Rachel McAdams and Tilda Swinton. So the film's estimated budget of $165 million is not a surprise. Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen plays his usual villainous role.
A great score by Oscar winner Michael Giacchino ("Up") and dialogue rife with a sense of humor, coupled with truly spectacular visuals, adds up to what will surely be a hugely popular movie. Stephen Strange's out-of-body image which confounds his doctor/girlfriend, Christine Palmer (McAdams), is a unique touch.
But "Doctor Strange", for me, is just another superhero film, not my favorite genre. If it's yours, it's a must-see on the big screen. Like "Mad Max" from 2015, I'm sure I will be in the minority on this one. Hint: make sure you stay through the ample closing credits for some extra footage you won't want to miss.
Opinion: Mild See It Now!