Doctor Strange was released in U.S. theaters on November 4, 2016. This Marvel blockbuster is directed by Scott Derrickson and stars Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Stephen Strange. Despite taking place during the same time of the Avengers, the movie focuses on the more mystical and mind-bending side of the Marvel universe.
In the movie, Dr. Strange is a brilliant and egocentric New York neurosurgeon who carelessly drives his car off a cliff while speeding, talking on the phone, and reading medical files. He survives the accident but loses the ability to use his hands and continue his medical career. Spurred by his sudden loss, he blames others for being unable to heal him properly and promptly finances costly experimental surgeries in an attempt to fix his hands. Eventually left alone and penniless, Dr. Strange discovers a previously paralyzed patient who had been miraculously healed and follows the man’s advice to journey to a place in Tibet called Kamar-Taj. First expecting to find some kind of cult or spiritual healing center, he discovers that Kamar-Taj is an enclave where the Ancient One and other masters of the mystic arts teach people how to use the mind to overcome reality, and cast magic. But more importantly, Dr. Strange immediately starts training in the mystic arts to heal his hands. However, he may soon to realize the actual implications of studying in the mystic arts, and the overwhelming dangers that threaten Earth.
Doctor Strange is a movie that gives us a different perspective to the Marvel storyline and super powered people in the Marvel universe. The movie is able to blend drama and action, while still managing to engage the audience with emotional scenes between Dr. Strange and his former lover Christine Palmer. Dr. Strange and other characters are also able to cast light humor into dark scenes, creating the same kind of classic light humor from other popular Marvel movies, such as Guardian of the Galaxy or the Ironman series.
However, Doctor Strange falls short of being unique from other blockbusters. The movie follows the common plot scheme that other mainstream movies follow: a person who is initially successful in life suddenly confronts a life-altering problem, and then overcomes or succeeds in the end of the movie to wrap up the plot. There aren’t many surprises or plot developments that makes the movie stand out, and it’s easy to predict what will happen. Like all other Marvel movies, any loose ends in the plot of Doctor Strange will predictably be plot developments for future Marvel movies.
Despite my criticisms, Doctor Strange is one of the better movies in the Marvel franchise, and it introduces a broader aspect of the Marvel universe. The best part ofDoctor Strange is the anticipation of seeing Dr. Strange overpowering the usual superheroes and super villains in future stories.