Marvel’s Doctor Strange – A Review
In an unorthodox story of humiliate and then uplift, Dr. Stephan Strange, world class neurosurgeon, master of trivia started out in the film as a man at the top of his game, or to be more precise, his A – game, if you will. The man apparently has a knack for being a egotistical bastard, who likes to embarrass others, all the while glorifying himself, a Marvel superhero in the making, even before he actually became one. Tony Stark, anyone? But make no mistake, any similarities Dr. Stephan Strange bears to Tony Stark and or Will Ferrell is only superficial, for Strange, as it turns out, gets involved in a tragic accident that turns his life upside down, inside out, and gives him, shall we say, a total makeover.
So, Dr. Strange is a very prideful man, I mean, he won’t even take “hopeless” cases that might potentially damage his reputation, but as the old adage goes, pride comes before a fall, pride takes the fall. And in this case, Strange literally took the fall, off of a cliff, even, from a mountain highway car collision, talk about something being proverbially true!
Anyways, after his accident, Dr. Strange becomes obsessed with healing his hands, first through the capabilities of Western medicine, and when that didn’t deliver the results he wanted, he turned to experimental techniques, which his close associate, Dr. Christine Palmer, decried as mania. She’s probably not wrong, either, judging by some of these decisions that Strange was making, i.e. millions in experimental procedures, asking his professional associates to operate on his hands, using techniques Strange designed himself. The man has become, in a phrase, a charity case, which causes him to lash out at his pseudo – girlfriend, Dr. Palmer, who leaves him. In his darkest hour, Dr. Strange is surprised by the delivery of medical files belonging to a medical miracle, which is the result of an earlier bet between hospital staff and Strange, when Strange questioned his prospects of getting better. Suffice to say, the rule of any port in a storm reigned supreme, and after tracking down this lead, who reveals his secret is metaphysical in nature, Strange is led, against all calls of logic and rationality, to the wonderful world of Eastern Mysticism. In the distant land of Kathmandu, Kamar Taj loomed large.
This movie has its exciting moments, like when the Ancient One opens Dr. Strange’s mind to the realities of other dimensions of the Multi – verse, which oddly enough reminds me of the 1999 movie Galaxy Quest. Dormammu makes several appearances in the film, but for some reason I like the Animated Spiderman Dormammu better. It also has several cringe – worthy ones, like the Beyonce references, the fact that Wong is initially portrayed to be humorless, and Kaecilius the dullard villain with his delirious lines. I am also creeped out by the fact that during the magical reconstruction of the Hong Kong Sanctum, one of the female villains is accidentally swept into a fish tank with some weird looking aquatic animals.
To be fair, this movie was brilliant towards the end, the trick Dr. Strange played on Dormammu, the idea of looped time in a realm of eternity was a stroke of genius that this half – awesome, half – contrived movie sorely needed. A Sorcerer bargaining with a nefarious other dimensional entity while the fate of the world hangs in the balance, how deliciously John Constantine – like! And yet with a heroic twist, too. The way Strange handled business also has a distinct Star Gate SG – 1 ring to it, Morgan Le Fay of the ascended Ancients comes to mind. Although it is arguable that Strange is more successful at his task and accomplished more with less.
On the whole, this is a decent movie, it does have its flaws and rough edges, namely the detached dialogue and the rigid bits of Marvel formula popping up here and there, but there are also good parts and high points, the effects are praiseworthy, to say the least, Escher and Salvador Dali would be proud, wherever they are, and there is some insight to be gleaned behind the spells and the Arcana, some food for thought, so to speak. Tilda Swinton and her Celtic wisdom carried the day, certainly. That’s why I for one, am looking forward to the return of Dr. Strange and his even stranger way of saving lives in another installment of the epic adventures of the Master of Black Magic.