Marvel’s ongoing project to dominate all media ever often gets criticised for its samey product, and at times it’s justified. Who could have predicted then that Doctor Strange, their first movie outing for a third-tier character few had heard of, would contain probably 2016’s most inventive individual sequence? The plot is boiler-plate hero’s journey stuff, Benedict Cumberbatch’s maimed surgeon learning both magic and humility by joining a band of mystics, but the visuals make this an obligatory trip to the biggest 3D screen you can find. It’s unusual these days to see special effects that actually feel special, but there’s a two-minute sequence of Cumberbatch tumbling between dimensions that’s astonishing – it really is a new milestone in digital effects, if several other sequences wear the Inception influence pretty heavily. It helps a lot that an ludicrously overqualified cast (Benny C is joined by Tilda Swinton, Mads Mikkelson, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Rachel McAdams) know exactly how to balance the absurdity of the script’s frequent outbreaks of mumbo–jumbo. Times
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