The doctor will see you now, Dr. Strange hits theaters

Tony Callens, Associate Sports Editor

We’ve seen a wide spectrum of things from the Marvel cinematic universe. We’ve seen billionaire genius inventors. Juiced up super humans. Russian spies. A god-like monster man. And even a Norse god.

What we haven’t seen yet is magic…until now. This “Dr. Strange,” Marvel’s newest film featuring one of the company’s oldest characters that I’m pretty sure nobody actually knows anything about.

Making his Marvel comics debut in 1963, the Sorcerer Supreme has been in the thick of some of the most important storylines over the years. (Infinity War *cough*) He’s a guy who is a master of the mystical arts and an expert in the mystical realm often fighting supernatural forces that the other superheroes don’t focus on.

The movie starts showing Stephen Strange played by Benedict Cumberbatch as a world-renowned neurosurgeon. He’s basically the best in the world at what he does, creating new and revolutionary procedures. He’s super rich and super respected among the medical community.

He’s an arrogant jerk however who won’t take any patients that will hurt his unblemished record as a surgeon. In typical Marvel fashion something tragic happens to him when he gets in a severe car accident, which leaves the nerves in his hands severed. In result, he has shaky hands and loses his career as a surgeon.

He spends months – and all of his fortune – trying to fix his hands to no avail. Without any hope he finds out about a man who broke his vertebrae but learned to walk, which is medically impossible. The guy also happens to be someone Strange refused to do surgery on a few years prior.

He learns from the man about a place called Kamar-Taj that helped him heal. So Strange uses his last amount of money to go to Nepal and find this place with a little help from a man named Mordo (Chiwetel Ejiofor.) He arrives at Kamar-Taj where he meets a person named the Ancient One played by Tilda Swinton, who is the Sorcerer Supreme.

She shows him a glimpse into the mystic arts and realm after he mocks the whole ordeal. Remember, he’s an arrogant jerk at this point in the movie. She initially refuses to teach him because of his unwillingness to believe, but he stays at the door of the compound for several hours. His persistence impresses the Ancient One and she is convinced to teach him.

So Kamar-Taj is kind of like the league of shadows in the Batman universe where they are like ninja-wizard people who protect the Earth from mystical threats. Strange struggles initially in his training but learns by reading because he has a photographic memory and has a genius intellect.

The villain of the film is a former student of the Ancient One named Kaecilius (Mads Mikkelsen). He steals pages out of a spell book to attempt a ritual that will open a gateway to the Dark Dimension, a dimension where time does not exist so that everyone can live peacefully and live forever in his mind.

However, the Dark Dimension is the domain of Dormammu who is an infinitely powerful being who swallows worlds to gain power all who inhabit the dark dimension become hi mindless servants.

Mikkelson gives a great performance with the material he is given but Kaecilius continues Marvel’s run of forgettable villains.

There are three portals to Earth that are protected by masters of the mystical arts. One in London, one in Hong Kong and one in New York. Kaecilius destroys the London one but is stopped by Strange at the New York one. The Ancient One is killed in the struggle.

It leaves Strange, Mordo and the best character in the whole movie, Wong (Benedict Wong) to stop Kaecilius as he opens the gate to the Dark Dimension in Hong Kong. Strange figures out how to use the eye of Agamotto, a gem that bends time to set things back.

He ventures into the Dark Dimension to bargain with Dormammu who obviously being evil and all, kills Strange. However, Strange set the eye to an infinite loop where he has Dormammu visit this moment for infinity. (Remember time doesn’t exist in the Dark Dimension.) Eventually, Strange convinces Dormammu to take his followers and leave Earth alone in order to break the loop.

Mordo who is by the book, no nonsense guy decides to leave Strange and Wong because of their blatant disregard for the consequences of defying nature.

Strange becomes the new overseer of the New York gate as the film comes to an end.

So that is “Dr. Strange” and it was a fun movie. While it shares the same sort of story as other Marvel films, i.e. the flawed hero goes on a journey of self-discovery that changes him to become a hero. It was different in the way that it was mystical with magic and the power belief versus the others who just punch their way through things.

Where this movie really shines is the CGI which is beautifully done. If there was ever a movie to watch in 3-D it would be this one. The whole Inception inspired visuals were cleverly done. It threw in some humor as well so the balance is there. Even someone who has no idea who the character is beforehand could enjoy this as a stand-alone film.

I’m excited to see where things go from here.

email: tcallens.record@gmail.com