Doctor Strange

Yet another superhero movie (the 14th infact), bringing in a new to us hero, from the Marvel cinematic universe Doctor Strange is a 2016 American superhero film featuring the Marvel Comics character of the same name, produced by Marvel Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. The film is directed by Scott Derrickson, who wrote the film with Jon Spaihts and C. Robert Cargill, and stars Benedict Cumberbatch, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Rachel McAdams, Benedict Wong, Michael Stuhlbarg, Benjamin Bratt, Scott Adkins, Mads Mikkelsen, and Tilda Swinton.

We start off with rogue sorcerer Kaecilius and his zealots enter the secret compound Kamar-Taj and murder its librarian, keeper of ancient and mystical texts. They steal a ritual from a book belonging to the Ancient One, a sorcerer who has lived for an unknown time and taught all at Kamar-Taj, including Kaecilius, in the ways of the mystic arts. The Ancient One pursues the traitors, but Kaecilius escapes with the pages and some of his followers. Switch to Doctor Stephen Strange, an arrogant but acclaimed brilliant neurosurgeon, who has an eidetic memory. He is involved in a major car accident while on the way to attend a speech and loses most of the usage of his hands due to nerve damage. He tries several methods of healing but other than making him more desperate and broke, nothing comes out of them. He even lashes out at fellow doctor & former lover now friend Christine Palmer when she tries to tell him of other things he can do with his life. Hearing of Jonathon Pangborn, a paraplegic who mysteriously was able to walk again, Strange seeks him out, and is directed to Kamar-Taj, in Kathmandu. While asking around he is attacked by goons who want his watch but is saved by Mordor, who takes him to the Ancient One.

What happens next is that the Ancient One, a Celtic woman and protector of the earth from inter-dimentional beings of great power who shows Strange some awesome trippy stuff, taking him outta this reality. Strange’s mind is blown and he even is shown how to astral project and he asks to be taught. Initially the Ancient One rejects him but she is convinced by Mordo to give him a chance. Though he starts off very slowly, Strange picks up quickly and advances in the ranks in several months, quickly devouring the knowledge from the books. He even manages to secretly read from the text Kaecilius stole from and learning to bend time with the mystical Eye of Agamotto. Mordo and Wong, the librarian, warn Strange against breaking the laws of nature, comparing his arrogant yearning for power to that of Kaecilius, who believes, after the deaths of his loved ones, that everyone should have eternal life. Kacelius and his goonsegin summoning the powerful Dormammu of the Dark Dimension, where time does not exist and all can live forever. This destroys the London Sanctum, and sends Strange from Kamar-Taj to the New York Sanctum.

Along the way, in some cool scenes, Strange gets his levitating cloack and fights of and even captures Kacelius but is forced to kill one of the goons, which goes against his oath as a physician to never do harm. The zealots then attack there, where Strange holds them off with the mystical Cloak of Levitation until Mordo and the Ancient One arrive. Strange and Mordo become disillusioned with the Ancient One after Kaecilius reveals that her long life has come from her own use of Dormammu’s power. Kaecilius mortally wounds the Ancient One, and escapes to Hong Kong. Strange brings her to Christine and she operates on her but the wound is fatal. She then dies, despite the best efforts of Strange and a bewildered Palmer. The Ancient One tells Strange that he, too, will have to break the rules, to balance Mordo’s steadfast nature. Strange and Mordo arrive in Hong Kong to find Wong dead and the Sanctum destroyed, with the Dark Dimension already engulfing Earth. Strange uses the Eye to turn back time and save Wong, before creating an infinite time loop inside the Dark Dimension that traps himself and Dormammu in the same moment forever. Strange agrees to break the loop if Dormammu leaves Earth, and the latter takes Kaecilius and the zealots with him.

Mordor leaves as he is disgusted by the Ancient One’s and Strange’s breaking the laws of nature. Strange returns the Eye, which Wong calls an Infinity Stone, to Kamar-Taj, and then takes up residence in the New York Sanctum to continue his studies. In a mid-credits scene, Strange is visited there by Thor, who has brought his brother Loki to Earth to search for their father Odin. In a post-credits scene, Mordo visits Pangborn and steals the energy he uses to walk, stating that Earth has too many sorcerers.

What did I think of it? Visually it is stunny but is this really superhero stuff? Superhero movies and characters are either set in reality or a scifi reality setting with science doing the explanation. This is all magical, mystical, hocus pocus (well not really), astral projection, hippie-dippie, strange trip after an a dose of magic mushrooms or LSD and stuff you get in fantasy and Harry Potter films/books. I dunno how much I like that in this Marvel universe. The villain, played by awesome actor Mads Mikkelsen is too one dimensional but isn’t given much to work off. Rachel McAdams has some funny scenes but she too is wasted in this role. It’s a shame that she is shown as a comedic relief who is astonished by the things she sees in a movie that has Tilda Swinton kicking ass and looking brutal. But the film itself gets a 7.5 outta me mainly for the awesome visuals and the moments of humour.

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