One thing that Marvel has always had down to an art form (besides bringing their heroes to life in spectacular fashion) is the cast they manage to draw in for them. Ever since Robert Downey Jr. got asked to wear the iron suit, they’ve managed to continue the trend and #DoctorStrange, as far as we’re hearing, looks to be no exception.
With an already fortunate few putting on their cynical surgical gloves for the film, one thing everyone seems to be agreeing on is the talent backing our new master of the mystic arts. Before the world soon permanently attaches the likes of Tilda Swinton and Benedict Cumberbatch to their Marvel-ous alter-egos, here’s a top-notch viewing list of the cast’s best films they’ve been in before they had a hand in bending the fabric of reality. Take two of these and call us in the morning, Doctor’s orders.
6. Benedict Cumberbatch — The Imitation Game
Besides being the world’s greatest detective that doesn’t dress like a bat, Cumberbatch’s winning role was that of real-life (and only recently acknowledged) genius, Alan Turing. The man that was tasked with cracking the Enigma machine and forced to hide his sexuality, Turing not only turned the tide of WWII, but was imprisoned following the noble act simply for who he was.
Like the machine he’s tasked with breaking, Turing himself is a coded character that Cumberbatch unravels wonderfully. Bringing tragedy, charm and nobility to a hero history didn’t highlight enough, it’s undoubtedly the best of all his big and small-screen performances. So engrossed in the role, you can practically see the cogs turning behind those otter-like eyes, making it all the more enthralling when the other sets around him widen as the Turing machine finally kicks into gear. It really doesn’t take a genius to know this is worth a watch.
Honorable Mention: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Star Trek Into Darkness
5. Tilda Swinton — We Need To Talk About Kevin
Getting picked as The Ancient One may still cause debate long after our visit from the doctor, but one role that can never be ignored is that of a nervous-wreck mother in We Need To Talk About Kevin.
Adapted from the book of the same name, the film focuses on a mother/son relationship more unsettling than Norman Bates and his dear old decaying ma. Swinton plays Eva, the mother trying her best to form a bond with her son who shows unsettling signs as soon as he can talk, only to change her life forever with Kevin’s most heinous act.
The film was a great stepping stone for upcoming Justice Leaguer Ezra Miller as Kevin, but the real focus is on Swinton as the distraught mother who is simply trying to deal with the unsettling shadow her son permanently casts. Intense stuff but worth every award-nod Swinton got.
Honorable Mention: Michael Clayton, Trainwreck, Snowpiercer
4. Chiwetel Ejiofor — 12 Years A Slave
There isn’t a moment where Chiwetel Ejiofor isn’t giving it his all in Steve McQueen’s unflinching biopic of Solomon Northup. Having said that, one that leaves him positively spent though (and still stands out personally) is the realisation of what’s befallen him. Seeing Solomon wake to find himself imprisoned and battle with the first of many chains that will hold him for over a decade, encapsulates the emotional spectrum that Ejiofor travels through for the rest of this harrowing tale.
Having his character broken by the likes of others in the form of Michael Fassbender, Paul Giamatti, Paul Dano and his Doctor Strange co-star Benedict Cumberbatch allows him to put his performance leagues ahead of theirs and doesn’t phase from beginning to end. Much like The Imitation Game, 12 Years A Slave has a message to deliver that shouldn’t be overlooked and Ejiofor delivers it flawlessly.
Honorable Mention: Z For Zachariah, Serenity, Kinky Boots
3. Mads Mikkelsen — The Hunt
Though he may have broken into the mainstream as Bond’s Big Bad Le Chiffre in Casino Royale, Mads Mikkelsen has more capability than just being the menace he so often gets tagged for. It’s roles like 007’s adversary and his brief and sorely missed stint as Hannibal that Marvel may have nabbed him, but then it’s his award-winning appearance in The Hunt that erases that perception.
Mikkelsen plays a primary school teacher whose life is torn to shreds when an accusation of child abuse is thrown his way. Put through vicious attacks of the local townsfolk, there’s no question that they’re dealing with a monster and not the innocent man he really is. For a man that has become so routinely attached to positions of power, it’s his turn as a fragile man close to cracking that is actually his strongest turn.
Honorable Mention: Casino Royale, Valhalla Rising, Pusher
2. Benedict Wong — Grow Your Own
It’s criminal that Benedict Wong hasn’t had bigger roles to show his talents, considering he’s displayed them so brilliantly in Netflix’s Marco Polo, but one role that sticks out is positively blooming little film, Grow Your Own.
Wong plays a refugee given a small area on an allotment site that other members of the area aren’t too pleased about. Unable to speak any English, the language barrier soon breaks down as other plant growers form bonds with their new neighbors. Sure, it might not be the biggest film on Wong’s filmography but it’s one that nevertheless pulls on the heartstrings thanks to his performance.
Honorable Mention: Sunshine, The Martian
1. Rachel McAdams — Mean Girls
It’s amazing to think that Rachel McAdams has become a cinematic sweetheart thanks to films like The Notebook and About Time, but for many she’ll always be that school-dominating bitch who assures us “fetch” won’t happen in Tina Fey’s Mean Girls.
Leader of The Plastics and manipulator of the school halls, McAdams’s turn as Regina George is what put her on the map and she hasn’t budged since. Playing essentially the cruelest schoolgirl you ever met, she’s a character that makes your blood boil simply because we all know someone like her — someone that you secretly wish gets hit by a bus. She deserves recognition for that, alone.
Honorable Mention: About Time, Spotlight, State of Play
We need your medical opinion? Have you seen any of the above and were they best? Or would you rather an alternative dose of medicine that’s worth our viewing pleasure? Sound off in the comments below.