Byline: DOCTOR STRANGE 3D (15) ..... By David Edwards Film reporter
WHEN one of Marvel's least-known characters can have his own movie, you know the studio must be doing something right.
Much like smaller superhero flicks, such as Ant-Man and Deadpool, Doctor Strange turns out to be one of the company's very best.
Its greatness is not down to the story but to some astonishing special effects that really deserve to be lapped up in 3D.
Sherlock star Benedict Cumberbatch plays arrogant New York neurosurgeon Stephen Strange whose career seems to be over when his hands are horribly injured in a car crash.
But after learning of how a paraplegic made a miraculous recovery in Kathmandu, he heads East in a desperate bid for a cure.
There he meets the mysterious Ancient One (Tilda Swinton), who teaches him that - contrary to medical wisdom - the body is able to heal itself of all ailments.
MShe also opens his mind to hidden worlds of magic and alternate dimensions and tells how to create portals to travel around not just the world but a series of universes.
Accompanying Strange on his mystical awakening is the Ancient One's most loyal pupil, Mordo (Chiwetel Ejiofor).
All three find their powers tested by the wicked Kaecilius (Mads Mikkelsen) who's trying to plunge the planet into the Dark Dimension.
|Like I said, the plot isn't really any great shakes, owing a large debt to Christopher Nolan's Batman Begins. Strange has surprisingly little back story - we learn more about the other characters during Marvel's trademark post-credits scenes.
Still, the effects are truly something to behold.
Strange's first voyage into the cosmos resembles a Sixties acid trip, brought bang up to date by some stunning CGI.
The characters' abilities to manipulate their environments is also noteworthy, particularly an early scene where the streets of London are twisted and folded to head-spinning effect.
The cast are also reliably strong - in fact this may be the classiest superhero cast ever, with admirable support from Benjamin Bratt, Rachel McAdams and Benedict Wong.
| Portal combat... The special effects
| The Ancient One (Tildal Swinton) gives
| Wicked... Mads Mikkelsen as the villainous Kaecilius
| Benedict Cumberbatch as Dr Stephen Strange, in the latest Marvel movie, and with Rachel McAdams, right