I’ll put it simple… Go see this film. NOW.
If you’ve seen all the other Marvel movies, this one is absolutely essential to see because one, it involves an Infinity Stone, and two, there’s a cut scene where another Avenger (the hot one from Asgard… a mighty God of Thunder) is having beer and tea with Steven Strange, and Strange keeps refilling his beer glass using magic.
If you are a Marvel newbie, I highly recommend watching the first two Avengers movies and Guardians of the Galaxy to get the whole story behind the Infinity Stones. There are six of them, remember.
One of them is the Tesseract, which in the first Avengers, Loki (Tom Hiddleston) tried to take it. The red Aether was the second, which was in the sequel to Thor, known as The Dark World. The purple one was in Guardians, which is where the evil Ronan the Destroyer (Lee Pace) tried to use on himself. The fourth one of pure gold created the hero that is Vision (Paul Bettany) in the second Avengers film, Age of Ultron.
In Doctor Strange, there’s a fifth one, and it’s green. We’ll get to that.
Let’s go over the basic story of the film: Stephen Strange (the very sexy Benedict Cumberbatch) is a neurosurgeon at a big hospital, where he’s saved countless lives from misdiagnoses and the morgue. He’s cocky, stubborn, arrogant, and a little pretentious, but lovable. In his first scene, he’s listening to 70s rock music while carefully operating on a patient.
In the middle of it, he says, “That’s from 1977.”
Then another surgeon goes, “No it’s not, it’s from 1978.”
“Look it up,” Strange says.
The other surgeons look it up and groan in disbelief. I think someone might have said “I hate you” in that moment, but no one does. Automatically, I start thinking Stephen Strange could very much get along with “Star Lord” Peter Quill from Guardians with his taste in rock music.
Then, Dr. Strange asks another on call doctor Christine (love interest Rachel McAdams) to go to a black tie charity event with him, to which she declines. (She should have gone with him.) As the good doctor is cruising in his expensive sports car, he gets a call from another doctor about some just admitted patients to look at in the hospital. When he glances at his phone for a split second to look at the x-rays of someone’s skull, CRASH, his gorgeous sports car does a somersault into the water, crippling Stephen Strange’s hands.
When the doctor wakes up in the hospital, he learns that he has extensive nerve damage in his hands and fingers. Even with the many surgeries and doctors he consults, he’s permanently lost control of his steady hands for practice in healing sick and wounded patients from bullets to brain tumors. But just when he’s about to give up, he meets a former paraplegic (Benjamin Bratt from Miss Congeniality), who is walking on both legs despite spinal injury, and he gives Strange some advice to seek help in Nepal.
And that’s when Dr. Strange learns about the mystic arts. At first, he insults his teacher The Ancient One (Tilda Swinton) when he first meets her, which she shows him the power to let your soul creep out of its body, and travel through the multiverse. And as soon as he says, “Teach me!” The Ancient One kicks him out, still offended by what he said earlier.
He bangs on the door, yelling, “Let me in! Please, I’ll do anything! Just let me in!” But no one lets him in until late that night, when a master named Wong lets him back in. And thus the very next day begins with his training in the mystic arts.
There are sharp surprises and funny quotes in every scene, including, “What is this, my mantra?” “The Wifi password. We’re not savages.” And there are gripping scenes that must have been great to see in 3D because of all the reality bending and seeing the multiverse up close. But I’ll admit, if I did see this film in 3D, I would have ended up feeling nauseous near the end.
Possibly my favorite part is where Wong is sitting in the library and Doctor Strange is opening arm-sized portals to grab things, particularly books on spells.
But we also can’t forget the fact that there’s always a villain in the Marvel movies. Kaecillius was a master of the mystic arts until he found a darker side to it, and he wants to destroy all three centers in London, Hong Kong and New York to have access to the evil ones in the multiverse. That’s where Strange becomes a superhero, even though all he wants to do is be a doctor and save patients, not run around the world in a cape and save people.
Still, when Kaecillius reveals himself to Doctor Strange, he’s actually telling the truth about what’s happening within the world, and how The Ancient One is flawed. There is a terrible secret as to how she has been living for centuries, but… spoilers.
To be honest, I already can’t wait for this thing to come to DVD. I don’t care if it has very minimal special features because all the special features on multiple discs are on Blu Ray. That doesn’t matter to me. I want this movie in my library.
If you’re brave enough, see this movie in IMAX. I saw it in the drive in theatre because I’m a wimp but it was well worth it. I wouldn’t mind exploring the mystic arts with Stephen Strange. That was perfection.
-The Nerd Queen