Well if it isn’t Doctor Strange, the… strangest of the marvel heroes (I had to). He’s not a fighter, or a tech genius, or a rage monster, or a literal God. Nope, he’s a WIZARD, with spells and everything. It’s all very timey-wimey-wibbly-wobbly.
After the intensity of Civil War, with our heroes split up and wandering the Earth being sad, we needed something a little… out there. Doctor Strange was completely different from anything we’d seen before in the MCU. It was more than an expansion of the hero roster, it was an expansion of the way we perceive the MCU universe. And boy howdy was it ever visually stunning.
The movie opened with a quick beheading, and our bad guy ripping pages out of a book like it was in a public telephone booth.
[Real quick for the kiddos – see, many years ago, there used to be public telephones, and inside these booths of communication were books that had telephone numbers written inside. Some people would rip the page they needed out of that book, leaving it lacking for the next person.]
As it turns out, those pages belonged to a pretty badass sorcerer. They fought on some buildings like they accidentally stumbled onto the set of Inception, then Big K (you can bet your ass I’m not typing out Kaecilius every damn time), skedaddled outta there.
Elsewhere, our new hero was being a dick to his coworkers.
Meet Doctor Stephen Strange, a brilliant ass-hat with a photographic memory, who purposefully makes everyone around him feel dumb, and only takes on patients who won’t damage his perfect record. A total douche, basically.
*siiiiiiiiiiigh* Okay, so this is Christine. She’s also a doctor, and she used to date our jerky jerk-ass hero for reasons unbeknownst to literally anyone.
Our guy was driving like a maniac down a winding road, talking about what challenging yet safe surgeries to do next and stealing glances at his phone, when he crashed his car. He woke up in the hospital after multiple surgeries to find out his hands are kaput, and his life sucks now.
This lead to a series of scenes where he tried every possible cure for his hands, while also going out of his way to be the biggest d-bag to Christine. Just the absolute worst. She finally was like, “you’re the stinky pits and I’m outta here,” and I fist-pumped the air.
He then caught a break when his physiotherapist (out of spite towards him) broke the law (I’m assuming) and showed him a file of some dude who completely recovered from an unrecoverable injury.
So through what we can only assume was deductive reasoning (I had to), he found the mystery man shooting some hoops, and got the sweet, sweet deets on all the weird shit that helped him walk again.
And so off to Katmandu Strange and his terrible beard went! He spent, I’m gonna say an afternoon? searching the city, asking around, being blatantly American. So much so that he was robbed and had to be saved by this guy:
This fellow is Mordo, a sorcerer, and one of the Ancient One’s most faithful dudes. Who is the Ancient One, you ask?
Do I love that they cast a woman as the (traditionally male) Ancient One? You bet! Do I wish they had cast an Asian woman as the (traditionally Asian) Ancient One? I sure do! Anyway, Mordo made the introduction, and it took Strange about forty seconds before he started to mansplain the world to them. So the Ancient One popped his soul out of his body and sent him on a psychedelic trip to show him what a dummy he is.
She explained that there are multiple universes, and he was all, “I’m ready when you are, Teach!” and she was like, “naw,” and kicked him out for being a huge D. Mordo plead his case, talking about all that potential he apparently has shown by doing absolutely nothing, and she gave in.
Oh, and we learned that magic is basically hand waving mixed with The Secret.
Meet Wong, the new librarian (because ‘member, the old one got his head cut off). Prepare yourself to love him, because he stole this movie. He delivered more exposition (a ritual was stolen, and the time stone is off limits) in the form of SASS, and it was the most magical thing about this entire film.
Meanwhile, Killer K did the big bad spell that fused his power with Dormammu and the dark dimension. Yeah, that’s a sentence I just typed, and YOU just read it, so who’s the joke on, really?
Then we learned about a ring that lets one create a multi-dimensional portal-type circle that you can hop through instead of taking the bus. Oh, also the ring lets you travel within the multiverse, I think?
You guys, there was a lot of exposition in this movie. Just so much. The ushers should have handed out a study guide a half hour before the movie started.
Anyway, the Ancient One popped Strange onto Mount Everest and trapped him there so he’d be desperate enough to surrender control and make his own portal to come back. Or, you know, die.
Now that he was a proper wizard, he had to shave his beard into something ridiculous enough to rival Tony Stark. Then it was time for more exposition! Namely; the mirror-dimension (where you can exist and do things that don’t affect the real world), relics (magical objects that decide whether or not they like you), and more on Lil’ K (he used to be a student of the Ancient One, but he turned into an ass).
Oh, and Strange emailed Christine a bunch because he loves her I guess, even though we’d seen no previous evidence of that. *sigh*
Then, for some reason, Strange snuck into the library and used the Eye of Agamotto (Time Stone) to screw with an apple.
Then he time-effed the stolen pages back into the book.
Wong and Mordo came in to reprimand him about messing with time-space and continuum probabilities or something, and a large part of me was like, “WHERE WERE THEY THIS WHOLE TIME AND WHY WERE THEY TOGETHER,” so now my soul believes they were secretly in love and making out, and there’s nothing that can convince me otherwise.
Then, because we hadn’t gotten any spoken exposition in about seven minutes, we learned that there are sanctums around the world that protect the Earth from big bads, and that the wizards are the ones who protect these sanctums.
Oh, and that Master K is helping Dormammu to eat up the Earth and have it in his dark dimension belly or something, who knows at this point. Oh, oh, and drawing power from the dark dimension is bad, because it is DARK, and that’s how these things go.
Just as they were showing him the magic doors that lead to the other sanctums, K-Boi attacked the London sanctum and Strange was blown into the New York one all by his lonesome.
[how pissed would you be if you traveled all the way to goddamn Kathmandu, and then found out they had a branch in your home city]
A magic cape with a sassy attitude? YES PLEASE! This is the flying cape of flotation or whatever, and I was incorrect before because THIS is everyone’s favourite character. Sorry, Wong.
Anyway, an inception fight broke out between Strange and the baddies, where Strange trapped some of them in other dimensions, and then caught K-Bomb in some kind of enchanted exo-skeleton.
K-Dog tried to recruit Strange with promises of eternal life that sounded very red-foresty. He also spilled some tea about how the Ancient One draws on the dark dimension to stay young and fresh, and I’m over here like, “yeah, but you guys don’t have to deal with the media telling you that getting old takes away your value as a human being, so don’t you DARE judge her you misogynistic-”…. Ahem. What were we talking about? Oh yeah, then Strange got impaled a little bit by a B-Squad baddie, and portal-hopped to his old hospital. He wandered around bleeding, calling out for Christine, and they went into an empty operating room and got to fixin’ him.
I get that he’s brilliant, but she’s a doctor too, right? Anyway, the B-Squad baddie came for an Astral-Kerfuffle, so Strange had to just let Christine do her damn job while he did some spirit-punching.
Christine doctor-zapped him and that energy went into the bad guy, and it hurt him, so Strange was like, “again, again!” and Christine was all, “it’ll kill you!” and Strange was like, “just do it!” so she did it, and it zapped the ghost-baddie to death, but I guess did nothing to Strange because he woke up within minutes and skedaddled.
Props to the movie for not trying to lie to Christine. She may not believe everything he told her, but at least he DID tell her. There was no “lying to protect you” bull-pucky, so that was nice.
Anyway, by the time he got back to the sanctum, Special K was gone, and Ancient Badass and Mordo had shown up.
Strange called her out on drawing from the dark dimension, and she was like, “shut up, kid, and be in charge of this sanctum,” while Mordo just sort of watched like, “huh.” I definitely thought this would turn into one of those situations where the loyal guy who’s been around forever is pissed he wasn’t chosen, but it was the opposite! Mordo was pissed that Strange was turning it down.
I have to give this movie a solemn nod, it keeps doing things I don’t expect it to do.
Kool K showed back up with more of his B-Squad, and instead of fighting, Strange popped them all into the mirror dimension where they can’t harm anything in the real world. I thought that was very smart! But then Mordo was like, “it was NOT smart, Toni, because now they’re more powerful, and they can kill us.” And I was like, “Sure, Mordo, but it’s preventing damage to the New York Sanctum, which was the goal, right?” and he was like, “ugh, whatever, TONI!” and I was like, “you should run, because they’re about to Inception you.”
Which they did!
The Ancient One showed up with a dark dimension mark, proving she’s a hypocrite, and Mordo was peeeeeeeeved. A fight broke out (as they do), and she was stabbed and kicked through a portal into New York, where she fell through a bunch of glass.
Strange once again called on Christine to help, which she did, because Christine is a precious angel that the MCU doesn’t deserve. While she and some other doctors were trying to save her life, the Ancient One and Strange stepped out for an astral-chat.
She gave him a pep talk that boiled down to, “don’t be a dick,” then promptly died. So now it was up to him, Mordo, Wong, and all the other unnamed red-shirt Wizards to save the world from an evil being set on sucking it into darkness.
After an awkward moment with Christine that I guess was supposed to be romantic, a fun moment with his flying cape of flight, and an argument with Mordo about the pros of cons of hypocrisy, off they went to save the day!
The Sanctum had already fallen! Man, this movie loves to subvert expectations.
Strange used the Eye of Agamotto to turn back time and make it so the attack hadn’t happened yet. This resulted in a very cool fight while time was turning back, dodging time-twisting debris and getting stuck in fish tanks and walls. Oh, and they saved Wong! (Thank goodness, because if Wong had died, I swear to Odin there would have been riots).
K-Pop broke himself out of the wall and knocked Strange over, poofing the time-reversing spell away. Strange decided he was done with the employees, and wanted to instead talk with management, so he flew on up to have a chat with Dormammu.
This was outstanding. Doctor Strange ANNOYED the villain into submission. He locked them into a time loop so that the same moment played over and over and over, trapping them both in space and time, unable to move forward.
“You will never win.”
“No, but I can lose. Again. And again. And again. And again, forever.”
He promised Dormammu’s freedom if he pissed off and took his K-Drama with him. So that’s what he did!
The day was won, but Mordo was very peeved about everything. He was all, “the bill always comes due,” and Strange was like, “But we’re in a Marvel movie, so everything’s fine,” and Mordo was like, “you really are the worst,” and left.
As Strange was putting the Eye back, Wong dropped his infinity stone knowledge, and warned that shit was about to get real within the MCU.
And that was that! The mid-credits scene set up Ragnarok with a fun chat between Strange and Thor, then the end-credits scene was a total bummer.
Mordo took away Benjamin Pratt’s powers, bringing him back to the injured state he was in before, which was a total dick move. When he asked why, Mordo was all, “too many sorcerers.” So… Doctor Strange 2 villain?
What did you guys think of Doctor Strange? Did it delight your wizard-loving senses? Were you confused about the rules of magic? Did you not care about the rules of magic because it was awesome? Did you love the creativity of the movie, or were you put off by how different it was to the rest of the MCU?
I’ll admit, it wasn’t my fav, but I did like it (they can’t ALL be favourites, that would defy the very essence of the word). There are a lot of aspects of this movie that I admire the shit out of. It turned a few cliches on their heads, it was visually stunning, and defeating the villain by losing over and over was so damn original, surprising and funny. Oh, and that slow lightening scene while The Ancient One was dying… *chef’s kiss*
- I get that this is a wizard movie, but Kaecilius? Mordo? Nicodemus? Lucian? Was having a weird name a requirement for acceptance? What if you rocked up to Kathmandu with a name like Greg?
- It should be an honest to goodness crime to underutilize Rachel McAdams so egregiously.
- Has anyone figured out who the three surgeries are that Strange learns of just before his accident? I thought the “air force colonel, crushed his spine in some kind of experimental armour.” was Rhodey, but it’s not. No idea about the “68 year old female with advanced brainstem glioma ”, or the “22 year old female with an electronic implant in her brain with schizophrenia who was struck by lightning.”
- You guys, I KNOW they’re following the comic books, and if they didn’t nerds everywhere would riot, but… the obnoxious facial hair in the MCU is out of control. Goatees belong in the 90s, IF ANYWHERE.
- Dear Hollywood, let’s stop with the whitewashing, shall we?
- “Breaking the laws of nature, I know.” – “Well don’t stop now.” I nominate Wong for movie MVP.
- The SIZE of that mop closet! You could airbnb that thing!
- Do their dark dimension marks show up when they’re in the mirror dimension? If so, why didn’t it show up on the Ancient One when she took Strange into the mirror dimension the first time? Is this an ignorant nitpick? Is there some comic-book related explanation, or did I miss some of the 90 minute exposition?
- Does the MCU need a night-light? It seems to be very afraid of the dark. Every villain wants to plunge the universe in darkness.
- Bechdale Test: hard fail. *deep, epic sigh*
- What would you do to annoy a villain enough that they’d go away? The most annoying sound in the world? Would you talk about your gym routine for hours? Would you clip your nails? I would probably show them endless before & after pictures of my every haircut.
OKAY IT’S BEEN REAL LATER GATORS