Few people are more superheroed-out than I. Sure I’ve enjoyed the better costumed crimefighter flicks – Spiderman (1&2), Ironman (the first one), The Dark Knight. But I’ve also endured Catwoman, Daredevil, and don’t even get me started on Superman vs. Batman or those noisy Avengers ensembles.
This one doesn’t entirely shake the old origin formula, but within the sub-genre’s strictures it displays a remarkable amount of originality.
I wouldn’t have thought it possible, but the mind-blowing special effects are new and truly impressive, and the (justified) 3D is used in imaginative ways. One action set piece, for example, is played out entirely with time running in reverse. It’s candy for the brain as well as for the eye.
Most importantly, all the flash-bang serves to advance the narrative. The dynamic images actually make sense within the film’s context.
The very classy cast doesn’t hurt, either. Much of the film’s effectiveness is owed to a committed Benedict Cumberbatch (doing a decent American accent), nobly backed up by Tilda Swinton at her airiest, Chiwetel Eijofor and Mads Mikkelsen.
If you didn’t know, the good doctor’s “superpower” is sorcery, and this is the sumptuous story of how a brilliant but arrogant neurosurgeon mastered the Mystic Arts and learned how to create metaphysical mayhem in a multiverse of space and time warps, bent and mirrored realities. Like, trippy.
It’s a briskly paced phantasmagoria with a sense of humor, and a lot more fun than most recent Marvel releases. Or D.C. for that matter. Big screen, please. Opens Jan. 27. (115 min)