Fizzing with physical energy, superb performances and extraordinary special effects, “Doctor Strange” pulls you into the world of the arrogant surgeon from the first scene.
With a spectacular car crash and a full-on performance by Benedict Cumberbatch, you almost forget his iconic “Sherlock”. Strange requires an American accent and Benedict delivers that perfectly.
Borrowing from “Inception”, the Harry Potter series and assorted Marvel tricks and treats, you don’t need to be a Marvel fan to enjoy the high-octane ride that’s delivered here.
Tilda Swinton, Benedict Wong, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Rachel McAdams are all great. Mads Mikkelsen isn’t the strongest villain in the Marvel world, but he looks good and moves menacingly. He delivers key lines with a real sense of threat.
Stan Lee has a stunning cameo. I loved watching this. Everyone at the Stratford East Picturehouse oohed and aahed.
So why do I have reservations about it?
It’s the fact that Marvel has opted for placating the China market by erasing Tibet from the story.
Marvel used to be an edgy haven of oddball ideas. The team proved comics could have different ideas. Stan Lee wrote stories that resonated with the hippie generation and millennials and Steve Ditko’s pictures are iconic and distinctive, in Doctor Strange’s story.
Tilda Swinton is just fine as the Ancient One, but she isn’t from Tibet, is she? And that wouldn’t matter – Celtic female mysticism is fine – but altering the action to Nepal seems to be a commercial choice to avoid Chinese censorship.
I just feel a little disappointed that Marvel has gone this way. And I have had three conversations with others who feel the same way.
Marvel, you’ve made another fine movie. And you’ll have big ticket profits in China.
We just thought you were better than that.