The doctor is in…and he is strange. Ok, now that I made my little joke, I wanted to start off by saying that yes, I loved this movie. Yes, I geeked, and squeaked and squealed. Part of it was the portrayal done by Benedict Cumberbatch, but not all of it.
I’m not that biased; only a tiny bit. Seriously, the MCU needed this movie. It brought something different and exciting to the table. We needed a refreshment, and not just the bubbly kind. We needed a Man with a sentient cape. He did not start out that way of course. No, instead he started out like most of us would expect to before turning into a superhero.…as a doctor.
Dr. Stephen Strange is an amazingly gifted neurosurgeon and just as equally, arrogant. I find him a lot like Gregory House on House MD. Both are acclaimed doctors who suffer from an injury of some kind and are a bit too sure of themselves. Strange, who like most doctors, makes for a horrible patient, is irritable and unforgiving to former lover and coworker, Christine Palmer. He loved himself and his work more than he could her.
After losing the use of both his hands and therefore the ability to operate as well, Strange loses all meaning in his life. Without his expertise, he is nothing. Of course, like all great Marvel heroes, he plummeted from the top to rock bottom; returning much improved after having to deal with his own shortcomings. Thor had been egotistical, and learned how to be true to himself after losing and earning back his hammer. Iron Man became sick and injured but created his own power suit to escape and eventually protect the world. Doctor Strange went through a similar process.
Strange goes to Kamar Taj, where he is taught both by the Ancient One, and Mordo (played by Chiwetel Ejiofor). The latter shares similar abilities with Ejiofor’s character of the Operative in “Serenity”, but that’s for a different time. The two teach him how to better his mind and tap into the Astral Plane. He endures meditations and lessons much like in the Matrix; Stephen Strange is ‘The One’ in this movie, sorry Neo. The graphics are stunning as Strange goes all Inception on us in the Mirror Dimension; flipping the cityscapes upside down. Then he is shown the doors to the other Sanctums, much like the one he is currently in. These scenes just scream “Monster’s inc” and “Howl’s Moving Castle”. The doors open to secret places through a portal and transport the characters to the area within. Ok, perhaps I’m grasping at straws but I don’t mind. The geek in me is A-OK with that!
Okay, one more. Doctor Strange learns a valuable lesson that another friendly hero knows all too well: “With great power comes great responsibility”; I’ll let you think on that one.
It isn’t all fun and games anymore for Strange, when the Sanctums (in London, Hong Kong, and New York) get attacked by Kaecilius, a previous student to the Ancient One. He has stolen special pages to a previously well protected book and uses it to summon Dormammu within the Dark Dimension. Kaecilius reveals the Ancient One’s secret of immortality and connection to Dormammu, to Strange and Mordo just before wounding her.
Strange takes the Eye of Agamotto which can bend time, and is chosen by the Cloak of Levitation which protects him from harm. Both of which create some amazing fight scenes later within the film.
With the Sanctum in Hong Kong destroyed, Strange decides to save both it, and it’s protector Wong, by bending time. He uses the time turner, Oh, wait that’s “Harry Potter”…He uses the Sands of Time dagger, oh wait, “Prince of Persia”…he uses the Eye of Agamotto, yea that’s the one. He uses the Eye, to fight and convince Dormammu to get his way ( in a most cinematically thrilling sequence). At the end however, Mordo decides to leave because he can no longer stay in the presence of Benedict Cumberbatch’s beauty. Or maybe it was that he did not agree with his methods to winning the battle. Not sure which.
Honorable mention to the great beard and American accent by Benedict Cumberbatch; two thumbs up. I would give it all four thumbs up, (movie and actors included of course), but alas I currently do not possess enough fingers for that.
(Photo Credits go to IMDB)