Marvel now has it’s formula in place for it’s superhero movies. Origin stories are a hard starting point for franchises, including the initial construction of the character and also finding satisfying story to wrap it up in, last year we had Ant-Man which was all, in all pretty succesful and fun movie. The only downfall in all Marvel stories is the villain (apart from Loki) and here is the same situation.
The good stuff first! Benedict Cumberbatch is perfectly cast as the titular Stephen Strange, basically a mix of his Sherlock but with added charistma. This is probably the first character that we don’t initially root for until he starts his sorcery training half way through the film.
Tilda Swanson, racial issues aside is good as the ancient one and her role is levied away from Yoda character that she could have ended up playing.
Chiwetel Ejiofor’s Karl Mordo is good as the foil to Benedict’s Strange. His role however his role never truly explained properly and perhaps more his backstory would have allowed us to engage more with his character.
Again as I’ve said before the main villain, well until the end of the movie that is, Mads Mikkelsen as Kaecilius is very shallow and his true intentions or reasoning behind why he doing, what he is doing is never explored clearly and in the end – he is no different to his henchmen foils.
Technically Rachael Mcadams’ role as Strange’s kindof love interest is shown just to be a relationship, which helps the movie differetiate itself from previous Marvel’s efforts – although this does allow the film to use her to humerous effect when dealing with all the later sorcery- goings on.
The movie itself moves along at a brisk pace at just 1 hour and 45 minutes, which is quite short for big budget films these days. This does leave some room for perhaps expanding on his training and leaving some characters short changed, including the Villain ff.
Despite what I’ve said the movie is pretty top notch stuff and is better than most of the marvel films since 2008, but doesn’t necessarily hit the heights of Iron Man, Captain America (2,3) or the Avengers but happily beats lacklustre efforts such as the Avengers 2 and Thor 2.