“What if Harry Potter Grew Up to be a Dick and lived in the Marvel Cinematic Universe”
In a climate rife with an oversaturation of Comic Book adaptions, somehow Marvel Studios seems to consistently come out on top. It’s no different with their latest chapter in the MCU, Doctor Strange.
Starring Benedict Cumberbatch as the titular Doctor Stephen Strange, (and he is literally a cocky, hot shot neuro-surgeon) who embarks on a magnificent journey after his life changes due to a rather debilitating automobile accident. When we’re introduced to Strange, he’s not painted in a very sympathetic light. We see him as he harshly breaks up with his significant other and fellow Doctor Christine Palmer (here played by Rachel McAdams and sidelined for the majority of the film) and pass up medical cases (that he would be qualified for but his talents wasted on as he puts it) leading up to and right before he finds himself in a life altering fender bender. He may have broken up with Doctor Palmer after the accident, but it’s all really irrelevant as Strange seeks some miracle for the damaged nerves in his crushed hands, preventing him from the one thing that made him so magnificent in the first place. We have a huge ego on our hands with this character and it shows.
At this point in the film I expect this story to be about the importance of humility and remaining humble, and it does follow that lesson to an extent. Especially once we arrive in
India Nepal where Strange, in his absolute lowest point (He spent his final dime to get there!), is discovered by Baron Mordo (played by the close to unpronounceable Chiwetel Ejiofor)
and introduces him to an academy, led by a mystical guru known as the “Ancient One” played by Tilda Swinton, but looking like Mr. Burns in that X-Files episode of the Simpsons.
It’s here that Strange learns the lesson that I find the to be most important aspect of the story, and I do so by quoting the Ancient One in the scene documented in quotes below:
And here is where this concept checks out, as Strange learns more about the power that he can harness to not only fix his hands but to pull off a wide variety of abilities like conjuring weapons made from a mystic force and opening portals to jump through reality, leading him to discover a cloak (or more appropriately the cloak discovers him in a fleeting, this is how it is now kind of sequence) with the ability of flight.
This also leads Strange to a path of opposition, by default, with a former student of the Ancient One named Kaecilius, who’s adopted the skills to serve in favor of the Dark Arts and a Fiery Demonic God known as Dormammu. Once again the Marvel villain is underdeveloped and merely in place to give conflict to the main character, they say this is an ongoing issue with Marvel films and I agree only to an extent, and only find this to be an issue when the film is an origin story meant to intro us viewers to a new character or concept (in this case both, Strange and the art of Magic) and how that all fits into the overall MCU. Here Strange inevitably comes face to face with the fiery God in a match of wits and ultimately patience, which was a refreshing change from a knock-down drag out fight we come to expect from most climaxes in Superhero Movies.
Where this film succeeds is the same manner in which Guardians of the Galaxy does, it spins the superhero concept on its head by introducing us to a corner of the Marvel Universe as yet unexplored, but only hinted at previously and ultimately coming off fresher than it may actually be.
Lastly, this movies pulls off some insane visual effects, rolling backgrounds caving into one another, running up moving walls and kaleidoscoping landscapes that if going to the cinemas blazed out of your wits would provide a whole new cinematic viewing experience onto it self.
If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like if Harry Potter lived in the Marvel Universe, this would be your best bet.
I knew this all seemed too familiar!
Doctor Strange is in Theaters Now