Stars: Benedict Cumberbatch, Tilda Swinton, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Rachel McAdams, Mads Mikkelsen, Benedict Wong.
Director: Scott Derrickson
Screenplay: Scott Derrickson, C. Robert Cargill, & Jon Spaihts.
This is a refreshing Marvel Studio entry, much like Guardians of the Galaxy it has brought a new vibe to the already jam packed Marvel Cinematic Universe. It starts off very intriguing with the introduction of Dr. Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), the neurosurgeon who sees the world through a very precise hole; failure is not acceptable as he must be perfect to be great. This film is about him opening his minds eye to what the reality of the world holds which is more than any of us have ever perceived.
I love the beginning, seeing his day to day at the hospital with the confident swag of a man at the top of his game. I like the relationship between Strange and Palmer (Rachel McAdams), the invitation to see his life as a man who enjoys expensive things, and his overall lifestyle as a man who is very comfortable with what his intelligence has bought him. So when he loses all of this without the lack of trying you feel loss, you feel the pain; to some extent as Cumberbatch really tries to sell this in a film that doesn't really get to the emotional depth that this needs to resonate.
This film is almost intriguing with its dive into different dimensions and universes but there is something that just slightly holds it back. Because it is an origin story it must do a lot of things; set up the world, introduce the characters and their intentions, and create a villain that Strange will have to face. There are films that get this balance right—just look at Batman Begins—but all of these parts are just a little too flat to make you care.
But I really enjoyed this, it was very pretty for the most part however not as clean as Inception (sorry, quite a few references to Nolan here), not as sharp as Guardians, and not as much charm as Iron Man. But it is still refreshing to see Marvel do something new.