For the most part the latest film from the Marvel stable is a lot of fun, even if it does tick all the boxes of your standard origins story.
Benedict Cumberbatch is on good form as the arrogant, wealthy Stephen Strange, a gifted New York surgeon who during one fateful night has a terrible car crash, careers off the road and sees his own career in tatters also.
When his hands are crushed by the dashboard, Strange undergoes rehabilitation and even more painful surgery before realising there is little help. However, when he gets wind of a fellow patient who he thought was beyond help, but spends his time playing basketball, Strange goes to find out why. The recovered sports fan seems like the most unlikely person in New York to have gone on a mystical quest, but gives Strange just enough information for him to pack up his things and head off to Nepal.
Mads Mikkelsen is on good form as the obligatory bad guy, and there are nice comedic touches that help make the whole outlandish premise far more acceptable. Despite some dazzling visuals and stunning fight scenes, not to mention an impressive Hong Kong sequence in reverse during the third act, it was all a little underwhelming.
Rachel McAdams was wasted as Strange’s under used love interest, and the finale with the big bad character felt a little dull.
It’s not the worst superhero film I’ve ever seen, and certainly not as bad as Batman versus Superman Dawn of Justice, but given the high water marks of Spider-Man 2 and the original Iron Man, Dr Strange ends up less in some weird mirror verse than in a limbo realm of also ran comic book-inspired movies.
It’ll be intriguing to see how Strange fits into the rest of the Marvel cinematic universe, and we get a hint of that during the closing credits.