Dr Strange is a very strange & niche film masquerading as very normal & universal

It's hard to say the things that fans of Marvel universe want to hear about these superhero films. If truth be told, a large part of their excursions is buoyed by plots with unnecessary compilations

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

Subhash K Jha

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch as Stephen Strange, alongside Elizabeth Olsen, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Benedict Wong, Xochitl Gomez, Michael Stuhlbarg, and Rachel McAdams

Directed by Sam Raimi

Rating: **

It is hard to say all the things that devoted fans of the Marvel universe want to hear about these superhero films. If the truth be told, a large part of their epic excursions is buoyed by plots with deliberate unnecessary compilations. They have little control over the universe that they construct with the raw material of an unstoppered rambling periphrastic imagination.

Not much of the unnecessary complications in Doctor Strange made sense to me. It’s not meant to. We are supposed to simply accept and imbibe the ‘Strange’ complications and astronomical tangles, as that wonderful actor Benedict Cumberbatch attempts to pull us into his dreary fairytale. It doesn’t always work, though the mindboggling screenplay (by Michael Waldron) doesn’t ways let us down either. Let’s just say, this one has its moments.

The very first action sequence is when Stephen Strange (yes, that’s his name) while attending a wedding (his ex’s wedding, if you must know) jumps from the corridor on the crowded street of New York to save the world from a colourful monster, is hugely impressive. There aren’t too many such spectacular episodes in the fitful narrative which is more remarkable for what it tries to achieve than what it actually does.

At its core, the plot is a Mother’s Day souvenir wrapped around reams of ricocheting mayhem and vertiginous special effects which dare you to look down. The abyss that separates the spectacle from nullity is concealed in the sheer gusto and vigour that every frame secretes.

Unlike other super-hero films, Doctor Strange is a strangely calm creature entering and exiting different universes through portals that are denied to ordinary mortals. Technically this segment of the Franchise treads on solid ground. Its view of meta-verses is impressively energetic. This time the super-villain is a woman Wanda played by Elizabeth Olsen who tries her best to inject emotions into what’s predominantly a high-end fantasy ride.

Olsen plays a woman who has invented her own imaginary paradise with two little children in an alternate universe. She wants to destroy America….no, not what you think. America played by Xochitl Gomez (don’t try practising that name at home without guidance) is a teenager who hangs around Dr Strange. He calls her ‘Kid’ so that nobody gets any funny ideas.

Doctor Strange is not a great film nor does it boast of spectacular visuals beyond a point. But it seems to believe in its own galactic mumbo-jumbo. And that makes it bearable even in its own self-indulgent moments.

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