GameStop, Inc.

Doctor Strange Review!

Jondee here at the Sanctum Santorum,

doctorstrange57fe7b87c8953

Doctor Strange is an interesting addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe by director Scott Derrickson. Chimes ring as three hooded figures into an Eastern temple. The guardian is caught around the arms and legs and lifted up to be beheaded by their leader, Kaecililus (Mads Mikkelsen). The mystic villain first appeared in Strange Tales #130 (1965). He is ruthless, flawed villain, but we never glimpse his background enough to understand his motivation. Kaecilius rips out the pages of a chained book, the Book of Darkhold. He is faced by a mysterious orange robed woman. This is the Ancient One played by Tilda Swinton. She has the enigmatic part down, we can see her perspective as protector of the Earth and does so at any cost. They open portals and try to escape to the streets of New York. The Ancient One warps reality Inception-like to disorient the thieves and Kaecilius opens a portal for his allies to slip away. We also get in New York, the suite of Doctor Stephen Strange. Benedict Cumberbatch plays Strange of course, with fierce intellect as a gifted surgeon, but surprisingly a comedic touch that he uses in the absurd, mystical situations. Strange has an on again off again, mostly off, relationship with fellow doctor, Christine Palmer (Rachel McAdams). She has a slight friendship with Strange, but is distrustful of his arrogance and selfishness. Surprisingly, Christine is throughout the movie , sees the supernatural, and helps Strange at several points in the movie. Christine wants him to join her in the E.R., but he wants the most challenging surgical cases. She shows him an x-ray which he sees is a gunshot wound and he rushes to take the patient away from colleague, Dr. Nicodemus West (Michael Stuhlbarg). He is a comics character who was introduced in Brian K. Vaughn’s Doctor Strange: The Oath #1 (2006). He was a surgeon who followed Strange to learn from the Ancient One in the comic, but here he is just a fellow surgeon that is not at Strange’s House M.D. level.

Marvel's DOCTOR STRANGE L to R: The Ancient One (Tilda Swinton) and Mordo (Chiwetel Ejiofor) Photo Credit: Jay Maidment ©2016 Marvel. All Rights Reserved.

Strange is busy in his race car driving at night in the rain at full speed. He is checking on x-ray to see if the case is worthy of his skills when another car rams him off a cliff. This is a horrifying scene, really showing the violence of a car crash. Then, there is Strange half-conscious taken into surgery by Christine. He wakens to find pins in every one of his fingers. His hands are shaky and he goes in through several surgeries to restore them. All of his contacts and money is spent to get back to being a surgeon. He hears from a nurse about a patient who recovered from body paralysis and his muscles atrophied. Strange gets his file from the nurse and goes to meet the man, Jonathan Pangborn (Benjamin Bratt) at an inner city basketball court. He mentions the place where he found his miracle, Kamar-Taj. Strange travels to Timbuktu in Mali asking about Kamar-Taj. This draws the attention of a hooded man. Some thugs corner Strange who want his watch, he tries to fight them, and they beat him to the ground. Strange is saved by the hooded man who uses martial arts to drive them off. This is Mordo played by Chiwetel Ejifor, who first appeared in Strange Tales #111 (1963). Mordo works for the Ancient One and his loyalty is unwavering, he later acts as a mentor to Strange. I think this is similar to Mark Strong’s Sinestro in the Green Lantern movie and I already knew his role in the comics.

e9xrbcc2wu3aajfnfecs

He leads Strange to a doorway that leads to the Ancient One’s temple. She knocks out his astral form since he is suspicious about chakras, he suspects she put something in his tea. The Ancient One sends him on a dimensional trip, this demands a 3D viewing, including a glimpse of the Dark Dimension of Dormmamu. This entity was introduced in Strange Tales #126 (1964). The running joke is his name, Mister Strange, Master Strange, etc. Strange starts to read up on the books, he has a photographic memory, and borrows the books from the library’s guardian, Wong (Benedict Wong). He was a servant to Strange in the comics. Strange has to master the sling ring, which opens portals to survive on Mount Everest. Mordo and Wong show him the doors that leads to the Sanctum Sanctorums in New York, Hong Kong, and London. These are defenses against supernatural threats. Mordo calls the Masters of the Mystic Arts, the name isn’t mentioned in the film, as a mystic Avengers. Strange has to master the mystic arts, I like the sigils, magical gestures that they use.  He has to face Kaecilius, whose eyes and his followers turn ashen and hollow, and the threat of the Dark Dimension. Doctor Strange unlocks the Eye of Agamotto which has some time shifting properties and the Cloak of Levitation which protects him and is playful like the magic carpet in Aladdin. I still miss the “By the Winds of Watoomb!” spells, the effects are surreal, and mind bending, but the weakness of Kaecilius is lack of background to his motivation. Otherwise, this is fine fall action movie. Three Eyes of Agamottos out of Five!