Except for a brief mention of the Infinity Stones, this film pretty much stands as a separate story and isn’t mired in the Marvel Universe. This is an origin tale, but with Benedict Cumberbatch, it’s more about the character than the comic book. The film feels as if it’s not simply the glib and at times desperate for laughs stylized pieces like the “Guardians’ movies appear to be. Dr. Strange is a darker and somewhat more studied hero. Perhaps because at times, the style is reminiscent of Christian Bale’s portrayal in “Batman Begins”. Cumberbatch is more in league with this version than the other Marvel-ians, as the character travels to the Far East to study the mystical teachings of the Ancient One, played by Tilda Swinton.
Cumberbatch is excellent in the part, with humor that is much more subtle and in keeping with his Sherlock persona. The script manages to keep the action sequences intact, providing an enjoyably escapist adventure throughout the length of the film. A stand-alone story is preferable, as this is, to one where you must be in the loop regarding all the lore of the universe of heroes now populating the culture. The tone and range of this movie set it apart as a worthy entry in the annals of the comic genre film fare.
The film comes across as fair to middlin’ entertainment. The plot was convoluted-some elements didn’t make sense or tie together well-which proves that the over-used device in storylines of “nothing is as it seems” can grow old.
But the scenery and cinematography was beautiful. If this was “The Big Sleep” with Bogart you wouldn’t necessarily care about the loose ends that don’t add up or all the plot elements that don’t make sense. But if the film isn’t that good, and few are as good as Bogie’s films, then you may begin to wonder what the point of the exercise was.
In this case, you do wonder. What’s the point of this? It could be a film that, if not for Tom Hanks or Ron Howard, would be sent straight to video or perhaps wouldn’t have been green-lit. Because but for some of the lovelier screen elements, this film may be deemed entirely forgettable.
The same story device of having to figure out a mystery using the superior knowledge of the lead character, Robert Langdon/Tom Hanks in Dan Brown’s Universe within the literati world can only take you through the first act. By the end of the film, it’s clear that this story line is one that has gone out with the last decade. It’s almost too strained a notion when this film finally winds down.
I would recount the plot if I thought that it mattered to anyone, but I repeat-what’s the point? This one is much better to see on the small screen, as you can probably skip the unnecessary plot points-which count for about half of the movie.