Dr. Strange
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Dr. Strange

While very much an origins flick, this ambitious kickoff is also, happily, a movie that wows while it makes us wonder.

Director Scott Derrickson takes his time introducing us to the story of Dr. Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), an arrogant neurosurgeon who must, after a terrible car crash, temper his ego to master a whole new way to survive. We watch as Cumberbatch whirls around his New York support system, snapping away at subordinates, he’s bound for a crash. And, of course, it happens. Losing his grip (literally) in the world he’s known, the only possible escape may just come at the hands of an Ancient leader, schooled and experienced in the metaphysical teachings of the possibilities of time and space continuums. It’s fun watching Cumberbatch take on Tilda Swinton and her mysterious crew, a standoff of Western science and meta-science.

Sure, we all know where this is leading: this is, after all, a new character introduction in the Marvel movie universe. And, once Dr. Strange becomes even stranger, and has to go through the usual superhero hoops, the movie itself plows through some very familiar territory. At least plot wise.

What really makes this movie special are its very special effects; there are sequences that astonish, adding to the unreal reality in which Strange finds himself. Some of this is almost psychedelic, some, an extension of what Christopher Nolan introduced us to in Inception. All of it is top notch and worth anteing up the extra bucks to see in IMAX and 3D.

And you’ll want to stay through all the credits, as we are given sneak preview scenes of what is to come. I, for one, am hoping we get to see Rachel McAdams have a little more fun as Dr. Strange, the series and the character, make the best of this very good start.

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