Marvel's Dr. Strange is a wild ride even without the 3-D. Alas I suffered an eye injury a couple of weeks ago. It's healing, but I still can't take 3-D yet. So I saw it in the XD version at a Cinemark theater. (Which basically means a bigger, wrap-around screen, with enhanced sound.)
It's the story of Dr. Stephen Strange, an arrogant, brilliant surgeon with mad skills. He treats people around him as inferiors. Self-assured in his superb surgical talent, other people are discounted in his world. He always knows best.
One evening, he has performed miraculous surgery late in the day. When it's finished, he leaves to go home, change, pick out one of his many luxury watches to wear, and go to the black-tie event. The female doctor who often assists him and is his frequent date, tries to dissuade him from going. It's a rainy night and he has a long way to travel to get to the event. He disregards her and her fears.
Later when he's ready, he gets into his Maserati or Lamborghini, one of those slick European sports' cars, he leaves the city and comes to a curving mountainous road. He doesn't pay attention to the narrow, winding road, secure in his assurance nothing will ever happen to him.
He's wrong. He suffers a head-on collision as he has veered into oncoming traffic. The crash is terrible as he bounces off the bridge, down the rocky bank, landing upended in the river. He is found and wakes in the hospital. His hands were surgically put back together. As a surgeon, he knows they will never be the same.
After months of recuperation, he is almost broke and down to his last watch. He has sheafs of letters from the world's best surgeons refusing to take his case. All will not take his case as it is hopeless. He seeks out a man who's been miraculously healed.
The man (played by Benjamin Bratt) tells the former doctor he needs to go to Kathmandu to seek out a spiritual teacher there.
Thus the real journey begins. Strange, at his wit's end, finally finds someone to lead him to the teacher, known as The Ancient One, played by an androgynous Tilda Swinton with a shaved head. Resistant to learn at first, his old arrogant self still in play, he has to come to a crisis to be broken down and accept what he is taught. It's a rough journey for him, but he does learn what he needs.
If you can't tell, I love most of the Marvel movies. This is one of the biggest and one of the best. The special effects are mind-bending. As with most of the other Marvel films, there are incredible images of color and destruction, some of it gorgeous.
Benjamin Cumberbatch does his usual excellent job in the role, filled with humanity, strength, and unexpected humor.
Tilda Swinton plays the Ancient One with all the strength and power of a true spiritual teacher.
Chiwetel Ejiofor, a veteran of many films, including one of my favorites - Kinky Boots (yes, he played the drag queen) - is excellent as Mordo, one of the teachers who works with Dr. Strange.
Rachel McAdams does a wonderful job as Christine Palmer, the doctor's on again off again romantic partner. (Ever notice these super hero guys don't do relationships well?!!)
Mads Mikkelson plays the villain Kaecilius with serpentine grace and evil intent.
Stan Lee, one of the original creators of the Marvel Comics world, appears in a comic cameo. I think Dr. Strange was his creation. Of course he appears in each of the films.
As with every other Marvel film, look for a scene at the end of the credits - actually in this one there are two. In the first one, we see Dr. Strange meeting with Thor. They have a serious conversation which points to the next Dr. Strange film.
I'll leave the second one a secret. You'll know when you see it. It points to the surprising possible villain for the next one.
As I said previously, this is a glorious film visually with magical special effects on an enormous scale.
Also you learn something about the whereabouts of another infinity stone. I want to see the movie where they all come together for those stones!!
This is a memorable movie in the Marvel pantheon. Enjoy it, whether or not you see it in 3-D.
Till next time...