FILM REVIEW: DOCTOR STRANGE (12A) ****

Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Steven Strange
Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Steven Strange
The cast of Snow White which can now be seen at the Kings Theatre, Southsea

Six things to do in the next 48 hours: December 12 and 13

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City streets and landmarks fold in on themselves and rotate and collapse on multiple axes with eye-popping fury in 3D and IMAX 3D.

As a masterclass in dizzying digital wizardry, director Scott Derrickson’s film delivers all of the spectacle we have come to expect from a big-budget blockbuster infused with the creative DNA of the Avengers, Captain America and Guardians Of The Galaxy.

Doctor Strange might be able to train his mind to override the rigid laws of physics, but no amount of study can refine or polish his blunt force humour.

Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) is a brilliant and arrogant neurosurgeon, with a minimalist Manhattan apartment and an off-limits romance with fellow medic, Christine Palmer (Rachel McAdams).

Years of meticulous study are jeopardised when Strange foolishly takes a telephone call in his speeding silver Lamborghini.

Medical colleagues save his life, but not his career, surgically refashioning his trembling hands with 11 metal pins. Cast adrift from the world of science, Strange heads to Kathmandu in search of spiritual enlightenment in the company of a Celtic shaman called The Ancient One (Tilda Swinton), who harnesses energy to shape reality.

Two of her Masters, Karl Mordo (Chiwetel Ejiofor) and Wong (Benedict Wong), take Strange under their wing and spearhead his training so he can travel long distances with a swish of his hand.

As his confidence grows, Strange learns about a former Master, Kaecilius (Mads Mikkelsen), who strayed from the path of righteousness and uses his powers for evil.When Kaecilius threatens Strange’s old life, including the beautiful Christine, the medic puts his training into practice to save everything he holds dear.

Aside from the trippy effects, which left me wishing I could turn back time like the title character and pre-medicate, Doctor Strange is a satisfying opening salvo.

Cumberbatch digs deep beneath the bruised skin of his character’s overinflated ego, verbalizing the inner turmoil of a self-anointed god, who learns that he is flawed and not entirely the master of his own destiny.

McAdams is squandered in an undernourished role as the token love interest, but Swinton imposes herself on scenes so there is at least one strong female presence to undercut the raging testosterone.

Two additional vignettes, woven into the end credits, hint at future plot strands and tease one Marvel Comics spin-off in the pipeline.