Benedict Cumberbatch is quickly becoming one of the top stars in Hollywood. His induction into the ever-popular MCU as the loveably arrogant Supreme Sorcerer, Doctor Strange, has catapulted Cumberbatch’s career.
Today Cumberbatch is one of the key faces in the Marvel Universe, but before all the spells and multiversal madness, Cumberbatch was an excellent British actor that mostly did character study dramas. Since the start of his career, Cumberbatch has produced some great performances, really digging deep into the character’s mind and peeling back their inner being layer by layer. Always a joy to watch whenever on screen, Cumberbatch deserves every bit of praise.
The Other Boleyn Girl (2005)
The Other Boleyn Girl follows sisters, Anne and Mary, who compete for the love and attention of King Henry VIII and give him a male heir. A tale filled with romance, intrigue, and betrayal against the backdrop of Medieval England.
Cumberbatch plays the role of the unfortunate husband to Mary, who soon catches the eye of the King. Though his role is fairly small, Cumberbatch gives enough humanity and humility in his performance to build sympathy for him.
The Hollow Crown (2016)
The Hollow Crown follows the lives of five different English kings and their impact on the land of England. Taking inspiration from the Bard himself, the show adapts several of William Shakespeare’s plays revolving around these medieval kings as they struggle for the crown.
Benedict Cumberbatch gives a captivating performance as the devious King Richard III, a man who schemes his way to the throne by any means necessary, even if it means taking out those close to him. Cumberbatch plays the villain with such passion and tenacity that it’s impossible to turn away from.
It’s alive! The classic story of Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein is brought to life on the theater stage with this faithful adaptation of the Creature. The story follows Dr. Victor Frankenstein as he tries desperately to recreate life and in turn, creates the hideous monster known as the Creature.
This play turned TV movie provides excellent performances by both leads. Both Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller switch between the roles of Dr. Frankenstein and the Creature for each show, providing a different viewing experience each time and showing just how talented of an actor Cumberbatch really is.
The Courier (2020)
The Courier tells the true story of Grenville Wynne, an English businessman who is caught up in the world of espionage during the height of the Cuban Missile Crisis. Wynne is asked to befriend a Soviet spy, who is providing important Intel, and help bring the information back to London.
Cumberbatch excels in this espionage thriller, artfully transforming his character from a reluctant businessman to a skilled spy who would do anything to help stop a nuclear war. The film is filled with tension throughout, as the threat of the Soviets uncovering their plot is around every corner, but what makes this film truly shine is the chemistry between both leads, Cumberbatch and Merab Ninidze.
Patrick Melrose (2018)
This Showtime miniseries follows the life of Patrick Melrose, the son of an aristocratic family who is going through recovery after years of drug abuse after trying to escape his family and his past trauma.
Surrounded by a great cast, Cumberbatch does an excellent job bringing this troubled character’s struggles to life. The show takes a grounded and realistic approach when dealing with themes of addiction, recovery, and self. It is heart-wrenching to watch, but it’s impossible to look away thanks to Cumberbatch’s performance.
The Hobbit Trilogy (2012-2014)
Peter Jackson’s Hobbit Trilogy may not have lived up to its predecessor but still does a fantastic job of immersing the audience into the world of Middle Earth. When reluctant Hobbit, Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman), is persuaded by his old friend, Gandalf, to join the company of Dwarves to help reclaim their homeland, he is thrust into a world of adventure filled with deadly creatures, untold treasures, and of course, dragons.
Cumberbatch stars opposite his Sherlock co-star as the greedy dragon, Smaug, who has since made his lair in the Dwarves’ old home and now sits on all of their treasure. Providing a chilling and memorable performance as the trilogy’s villain.
Star Trek Into Darkness (2013)
The sequel to J.J Abrams’ Star Trek reboot brings the popular villain, Khan, to the stage with none other than Benedict Cumberbatch playing the sinister role. Into Darkness sees the Enterprise crew on a mission to stop a deadly force of terror within their own ranks which leads them to a war-torn world where an evil foe is waiting.
Cumberbatch’s version of Khan is a great reiteration of Kirk’s iconic nemesis. Cold, calculating, and outsmarting the Enterprise crew at every turn, Khan is a worthy opponent to Captain Kirk and Spock.
The Power of The Dog (2020)
This slow-burn western follows charismatic rancher, Phil Burbank (Cumberbatch), who inspires both fear and awe in those around him. When Phil’s brother returns with a new wife and her son, Phil uses his beguiling personality to both torment and mentor his new family members.
The performance Cumberbatch gives as the philosophical rancher is one of his best, earning him an Oscar nomination and critical praise. His character is a vile man who psychologically torments those around him with his stern convictions but does so in such a charming and thought-provoking way that it’s almost impossible to look away from.
The Imitation Game (2014)
The Imitation Game is the true story of Alan Turing (Cumberbatch), a brilliant yet socially inept mathematician who was responsible for cracking the once thought unbreakable Nazi Enigma code machine. Turing and a handful of other extraordinary mathematicians worked tirelessly for years to break the code and help stop the war.
The biographical account of Turing’s life is both inspiring and tragic. Turing saved countless lives with his contributions and is even responsible for creating the precursor to the computer. Yet despite his achievements, Turing struggled with loneliness and loss. He was a great and complicated man who Cumberbatch plays with such energy and humanity, finally giving Turing the recognition he deserves.
Cumberbatch takes a swing at playing the great fictional sleuth and knocks it out of the park. Sherlock takes a modern twist to the British detective’s story and places him in 21st century London. Along with his best pal, Watson, Holmes investigates baffling mysteries that only a genius like Sherlock could solve.
This is the role that put Cumberbatch on the map. His reiteration brings a much more flawed and human approach to the eccentric sleuth. The show does an excellent job of fleshing out Sherlock’s character into a three-dimensional being that isn’t just good at solving crimes but also struggles with being socially awkward as well. Making for a more empathetic take on the brilliant detective in this modern remake.
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