“Doctor Strange” (Disney)

Benedict Cumberbatch stars in a scene from the movie "Doctor Strange." The Catholic News Service classification is A-III -- adults. (CNS/Disney)

By Catholic News Service

What Tilda Swinton can conceive, Benedict Cumberbatch can achieve in this first big-screen adventure for the Marvel Comics superhero who debuted in print back in 1963.

When a car accident severely damages his hands, blighting his career, Cumberbatch’s brilliant but egotistical neurosurgeon exhausts conventional treatments before traveling to Nepal where, so a recovered paraplegic (Benjamin Bratt) has told him, a guru (Swinton) works seemingly miraculous cures. After placing himself under his new spiritual master’s tutelage, however, the initially skeptical physician gets caught up in a battle between his newfound mentor and a former student of hers (Mads Mikkelsen) who has embraced the forces of evil.

To enjoy the spectacular special effects and above-average acting in director and co-writer Scott Derrickson’s adaptation, which also features Rachel McAdams as the protagonist’s long-suffering love interest, viewers of faith will have to overlook a great deal of magical mumbo-jumbo about astral bodies and the like. Only those mature teens able to treat such elements as on a par with the Wicked Witch of the West and her flying monkeys — a task not made easier by the fact that the hooey on offer here comes decked out in the trappings of Buddhism — should be given the green light.

Not for impressionable youngsters. Pervasive occult dialogue and action, some stylized violence, fleeting gory images, a handful of crude and crass terms. The Catholic News Service classification is A-III — adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13 — parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.

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