Doctor Strange

Like the equally semi-tolerable Batman vs. Superman and Suicide Squad, this is a film whose form transcends substance.

doctor-strangeFilled with a cast of great characters ranging from Benedict Cumberbatch, Chiwetal Ejiofor, Rachel McAdams and Tilda Swinton, Doctor Strange appeared to be an enticing Marvel film. Unfortunately, it spent most of its time spinning its wheels in neutral, and like Anthony Weiner, it petered out by the end.

While I know that this film will be a big hit at the box office, it is a movie that you will quickly forget after leaving the theater. Aside from the acting talent, the only reason to see it is its magnificent special effects, and I urge you to hunt it down at an IMAX for that very reason.

Mr. Cumberbatch plays Doctor Strange, an arrogant surgeon left with terribly damaged hands following a traffic accident. For reasons that are hard to explain, he ends up in Nepal seeking some type of medical salvation. He quickly falls under the guidance of a sorcerer played by Ms. Swinton, and she guides him into a third world where life on Earth is threatened by a Dark Force.

Mr. Cumberbatch alone saves the film, and it is worth remembering his Oscar nominated role in the sensational The Imitation Game (2014). On top of that, in this film he teams up with Mr. Ejiofor, an ally called Baron Mordo, and it brings to mind their contributions to the Oscar winning 12 Years a Slave (2013).

While I know that there are many critics falling over each other to praise this movie, I’ve got to admit that it has some moments of fine humor. However, it falls well short of the raucous fun found in the engaging Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) and this year’s Deadpool. Additionally, Doctor Strange’s love interest is another doctor played by Rachel McAdams, and she continues to find time for him despite his narcissistic selfishness. In a sense, they resemble a weaker version of the old Clark Kent/Lois Lane duo (George Reeves and Noel Neill) seen decades ago on TV.

What I found most disappointing with this movie is the sad fact that there is so much repetition. Though Mads Mikkelsen does a fine job playing Kaecilius, the lead villain, the chase scenes through collapsing buildings and streets leave you more weary than inspired.

But if you are seeking a bit of hope, you will see a moment during the final credits where Doctor Strange will again hit the big screen. It is clear that he and Thor (Chris Hemsworth) will appear together, so hopefully the quality of that film will provide a bit more excitement.