Benedict Cumberbatch is perfectly cast as the aloof, arrogant neurosurgeon who damages the nerves in his hands after a car crash and – in search of a cure – ends up honing his sorcery skills in Kathmandu with Tilda Swinton’s bald, androgynous Ancient One and her lieutenants Chiwetel Ejiofor and Benedict Wong.
Rachel McAdam as the ex-lover-cum-surgeon he treats churlishly and Mads Mikkelsen’s world-threatening baddie add sterling support, while the visuals – conjuring up the origami dreamscapes of Inception – truly dazzle. But it’s Cumberbatch’s star turn that makes this latest Marvel super-hero origin story work.
Sardonic and funny, he fits into the movie’s comic-book world surprisingly well, pulling off his character’s trademark Cloak of Levitation with panache, not to mention all the occult mumbo-jumbo. We should have known. When it comes to acting magic, Cumberbatch really is a sorcerer.