Stephen Strange: This doesn’t make any sense
The Ancient One: Not everything does. Not everything has to.
She got that right! Marvel Studios’ Doctor Strange is entertainingly weird. We watched it on IMAX and it was definitely worth it!
Benedict Cumberbatch plays Dr. Stephen Vincent Strange, a brilliant neurosurgeon who loses the use of his hands due to a tragic accident. Desperate to go back to the operating room, he embarks on a journey to the east in search of Kamar-Taj, a mystical place rumored to be a source of miraculous healing. There he encounters Mordo (Chiwetel Ejiofor) who leads him to The Ancient One (Tilda Swinton), a transcendent being who opens the doctor’s mind to the mystic arts. This exposes him to danger as well as The Ancient One’s former student, Kaecilius (Mads Mikkelsen), seeks to unleash the destroyer of worlds, Dormammu.
It’s a simple origin story but a visual spectacle at the same time. I didn’t feel lost throughout the movie even if I haven’t read any of the comic books. You also don’t need to have watched any of the previous Marvel films to appreciate it. However, those who religiously follow the Marvel Cinematic Universe will have their minds blown as the studio officially introduces the multiverse. I am not exaggerating when I say that anything can happen!
The performances are fun to watch as well. Cumberbatch, Ejiofor, Swinton, Mikkelsen, and Rachel McAdams, who plays Strange’s love interest, Christine Palmer, are all talented actors and actresses. Benedict’s Stephen Strange kind of reminds you of Tony Stark, an arrogant know-it-all who experiences tragedy and emerges a hero. As with most Marvel films, though, I am a little disappointed that another villain bites the dust. However, I understand that they were setting up other well-known enemies of the Sorcerer Supreme. The end credits scene with Mordo confirms that he will probably be the big bad of the sequel. It was nice seeing Thor (Chris Hemsworth) in the mid credits scene, too, although I was a bit confused as to where in the timeline their meeting happened. In it, the Asgardian is looking for his brother, Loki, and Doctor Strange agrees to help him. We’re getting closer and closer to Infinity War.
What I like most about the film is the over-arching theme – time. In the operating room, Stephen Strange gets distracted by a ticking wristwatch. Christine gives him a wristwatch which gets broken when he is attacked by brigands in Kathmandu, Nepal. He discovers how to use the Eye of Agamotto (revealed to be the Time gem of the Infinity Stones) to turn back the hands of time which comes in handy during his confrontation with Dormammu. What he did was trap the demon in a time loop until it agreed to cease its invasion of Earth. However, it feels like a deus ex machina every time people manipulate time. I mean, it’s so easy to solve things when you can replay past events. But as Mordo warns Strange, there will be repercussions and we would have to wait for the next movie to see what those consequences are.
Whether you’re a fan or not, you should definitely check out Doctor Strange. It has great action, stunning visuals, awesome performances, and is part of a much bigger picture. Overall, Marvel still proves that they have the right formula for comic book films. It might not be a Captain America: The Winter Soldier but it has all the necessary ingredients for a satisfying movie experience. I rate this with 3.5 stars out of 5.
As for my major takeaway, I love how The Ancient One, Mordo, and Wong instruct Stephen in the mystic arts. At first, he struggles in believing the words of his mentors. But that changed as soon as his astral form leaves his body. His question of ‘How do I get from here to there?’ is met with ‘How did you become a great doctor?’He quickly realizes, ‘Study and practice. Years of it.’ It’s crazy how your beliefs transform according to what you experience. What you know suddenly takes a backseat to what you don’t know yet. Anything is possible to him who believes.