Doctor Strange

The impossibilities are endless
The impossibilities are endless


D: Scott Derrickson

Disney/Marvel (Kevin Feige)

USA 🇺🇸 2016

115 mins


W: Jon Spaihts, Scott Derrickson & C. Robert Cargill [based on characters created by Stan Lee & Steve Ditko]

DP: Ben Davis

Ed: Wyatt Smith & Sabrina Plisco

Mus: Michael Giacchino

PD: Charles Wood

Benedict Cumberbatch (Dr. Stephen Strange), Chiwetel Ejiofor (Karl Mordo), Rachel McAdams (Christine Palmer), Benedict Wong (Wong), Tilda Swinton (The Ancient One), Mads Mikkelson (Kaecilius)

The Marvel comic book character Doctor Strange was originally tackled in 1978 with a TV movie, but without any real budget or the technology for special effects, it's fair to say that this version failed to take flight.

With the Marvel Cinematic Universe in full operational swing and filmmaking tricks now able to convincingly bring the magic to the string, this 2016 film not only blows the 1978 version out of the water, it practically destroys its existence (I haven't reviewed the 1978 version on this website because of its television roots).

The origin tale follows the path of Dr. Stephen Strange, a brilliant but arrogant neurosurgeon who suffers irreparable nerve damage following a car accident, and when conventional medicine fails to remedy him, he turns to a mysterious cult in Nepal who teach him of spiritual arts, including the separation of the physical world from the astral world, allowing him to bend the rules of time, space and physics.

An enemy rears his head in the form of Kaecilius, who separated ties with the cult in order to practice the dark side of the spiritual arts. 

The effects are easily the most impressive ever seen in a Marvel film, with no bounds to the limitations, but some of the visuals will seem incredibly familiar to other films (Inception, The Matrix) and the story follows the all too familiar origin story path. Even the character of Doctor Strange is modelled so close on Tony Stark, they could easily be related. That being said, Benedict Cumberbatch fits the character like a glove and the film sets up a follow-up film to perfection.

The superhero genre may be a little oversaturated recently, but with offerings like this, there's still plenty of mileage to go for Marvel.


Benedict Cumberbatch in Doctor Strange
Benedict Cumberbatch in Doctor Strange


D: Sam Raimi

Disney / Marvel (Kevin Feige)

US 🇺🇸 2022

126 mins

Science Fiction/Fantasy/Adventure

W: Michael Waldron [based on characters created by Stan Lee & Steve Ditko]

DP: John Mathieson 

Ed: Bob Murawski & Tia Nolan

Mus: Danny Elfman

Benedict Cumberbatch (Dr. Stephen Strange), Elizabeth Olsen (Wanda Maximoff / Scarlet Witch), Xochiti Gomez (America Chavez), Chiwetel Ejiofor (Karl Mordo), Benedict Wong (Wong), Rachel McAdams (Christine Palmer)

The 28th contribution to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and it’s sadly unfortunate that the series is now starting to disappear up its own rectum.

This is less a sequel to Doctor Strange and more a follow on from the Wandavision television show that was broadcast exclusively on the Disney+ streaming service.

Benedict Cumberbatch reprises his role as the wizard of the mystic arts, who must rescue America Chavez, a girl with the ability to jump to alternative universe, and keep her safe from Wanda Maximoff, who wants to use the girl’s talents so she can be reunited with her fictional children that only appeared in the television show (that I haven’t watched).

The film certainly gets the madness part right, as it does look like a vividly colourful comic book brought to the screen, but as far as multiverses go, I guess two more than enough for the screenwriter to juggle, since the majority of the action takes place in one alternative reality and we don’t see much else of the others besides a short montage sequence at the start of the second act.

Director Sam Raimi has some fun with the material and brings some of his trademarks for the eager eye to notice, and visually, it’s clear to see that all the film crew worked really hard on this movie, with superb production design and visual effects being obvious standouts.  However, the good work by the director and crew can’t compensate for the incredibly average screenplay that doesn’t even bother giving America’s character anything besides a clichéd damsel in distress, whilst Elizabeth Olsen’s Scarlet Witch character just seems like a bitch for no reason without having watched the television series, Wandavision.

The performances are fine, and the film does its job entertaining throughout the running time, but there are many flaws which prevent this from being a rather disappointing instalment to the MCU.

I’m fine with the films all tying into one another, but when it starts to draw on inspiration and characters from a TV series, it just highlights how Disney will rinse the Marvel catalogue for every penny that it can, rather than focus on elements of storytelling that should take precedence. 


Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness