Running time: 2 hours
Cast: Benedict Cumberbatch, Chieetel Ejiofor, Rachel McAdams, Mads Mikkelson, Tilda Swinton.
The fact that Avengers Assemble worked at all was a miracle. To balance so many characters and effects with one of them being a CGI character known as The Hulk seamlessly with the other humans is just a feat of staggering proportions. Then ramping things up with Captain America The Winter Soldier through to Ant-Man, which I didn’t appreciate until third or forth viewing which led to Civil War and on it goes as I’m amazed anew. Can things get better or have we reached a summit?
Enter Benedict Cumberbatch as big headed egotist neuroscientist Stephen Strange. Doctor Tony Stark if you will but deserving of his self belief. As origins go it’s a bit different to the merely having powers bestowed upon you. These powers are going to have to be learnt and earned.
The Ancient One is played by Tilda Swinton who is fine because of her otherworldly looks but plays it pretty darn straight if you ask me, smug in her world weariness over years of time having passed.
It’s no spoiler to say that this movie is about magic for the most part as Strange embraces new spells in beautifully visualised ways. That is where the movie plays its ace. The effects and designs are incredible as they take INCEPTION’s images and run with them. I found it breathtaking as its throws in 2001’s star bridge and mixes a kaleidoscope of Esher like visuals until the images represent things your tiny brain can’t fathom.
It’s weaknesses are the standard movie complaints such as the female characters just being accessories for the males -Rachel McAdams and the villains who are in turn played by Mads Mikkelson as fallen sorcerer who is just ‘man in a bad mood’ and then the Big Bad ???? – who I won’t name, but who’s design just evokes all recent looming Marvel overlords with a deep voice.
But I absolutely thought it was amazing. I’ve enjoyed director Scott Derrickson’s horror writings such as Sinister, Exorcism Of Emily Rose and even Deliver Is From Evil although this is worlds apart from those. I was quite shocked at how brilliant I thought it was.
For me, this is a new high and I’m excited about where this will lead. The post credit scene did nothing to heighten that anticipation. I just thought ‘whatever’.
So this gets a double thumbs up on all fronts and can’t wait to see it again.
C Whitehouse 2016