After taking the SATs, I rewarded myself for finishing the test by watching Doctor Strange. We’ll talk about how I did on another day, I’m not ready to think about actual scores coming out on an actual day and actually accepting what I got. However, I will discuss my opinions about the test in a later blog post.
Back to Doctor Strange. Strangely, despite the fact that I’ve been anticipating for its release since word got out about the production, I didn’t see any teasers or trailers from the movie. I don’t exactly know the reason why for this. But anyways, I didn’t really have any expectations for the movie other than what you could always expect from a Marvel movie: a marvelous plot, amazing cinematography (explosions especially), and memorable jokes. Also, let’s not forget those dramatic, angsty scenes.
Doctor Strange did not disappoint.
The movie begins with a little background about Dr. Steven Strange, played by Benedict Cumberbatch, one of the most renowned neurosurgeons in New York City. He demonstrates his skill when saving a patient, who was wrongfully pronounced as brain-dead by one of his co-workers, by taking a bullet out of the patient’s brain. With his skill comes with his arrogance, which later becomes one of the obstacles that initially prevents him from learning magic.
Fast-forward to the part where Doctor Strange is bloody and barely breathing and is being wheeled into the surgeon’s room in the same hospital he works in. This scene particularly disturbed me because the weak and dying Dr. Strange was such a stark contrast to the arrogant, swagger-filled Dr. Strange we’re first introduced to in the beginning of the movie. I won’t go into detail about how bloody and beaten he was because I am not a fan of blood and surgery rooms. Later, he’s lying in a hospital bed wearing a hospital gown and is excessively wrapped in gauze and has metal needles through his hands. This scene also disturbed me because, hello! he has metal needles through his hands. In this scene, he looks especially helpless as his hands are useless–something he is extremely upset and worried about because as a neurosurgeon, your hands are one of your most valuable tools.
Throughout the movie, his name is a reoccurring issue–he is forced to clarify numerous times about his title as a “Doctor” In the beginning, he couldn’t let go of the fact that he was no longer a doctor because he’s spent the majority of his life trying to and becoming a neurosurgeon. So, as a person practically married to his job, he held onto his title because, initially, his whole life was devoted to being a neurosurgeon and his reputation. As the movie progresses, he still insists on being called a “Doctor” which I found ironic because he was now a sorcerer and practices the art of magic, completely the opposite of being a doctor who based his beliefs on science and logic. However, I didn’t find this unusual because he did earn the title and it would be a waste to give it up.
There was this one moment in the movie where the Kaecilius, an evil sorcerer portrayed by Mads Mikkelsen, says, “Mr…?” in an attempt to ask Doctor Strange his name. Doctor Strange, in response, automatically corrects the “Mr.” to “Doctor” and prompts Kaecilius to assume that Doctor Strange’s name is “Mr. Doctor.” This then leads Doctor Strange to clarify his name by replying with “Strange,” then prompting Kaecilius to say something along the lines of “I suppose so, but I’m not to judge.” I think I did a terrible job in explaining that scene, but it was one of my favorite moments and it’s definitely funnier when you see it versus when it’s badly explained by me.
Doctor Strange, unsurprisingly, excels in practicing magic and even surpasses many of the other recruits who have been practicing for much longer than he has. He’s able to cast spells only the Ancient One is able to cast and reasons that it is, in part, due to his perfect photographic memory.
I thought, and still think, that everything came too unnaturally easily for Doctor Strange in the sense that I didn’t think he didn’t go through enough to develop the powers that he did. On the other hand, he did endlessly fall and tumble down a cliff and had the majority of his body destroyed and also struggled, but still not enough in my opinion, in initially developing his powers. During his stay at the institution in Kamar-Taj, he also quickly learns Sanskrit and the language of magic, which I also found absolutely ridiculous because how? but then again! you have to keep in mind that this is a movie and that in this movie, Doctor Strange is an unusually intelligent and talented person and has a great affinity for magic.
The movie proceeds with a series of fight scenes as Kaecilius attempts to take down the three Sanctums (located in New York, London, and Hong Kong) that protect the earth from magical enemies from various, different universes. The Sanctums especially protect the earth from Dormammu, a powerful being from the Dark Dimension that wants to devour everything from all existing universes.
These fight scenes, in one word, were trippy. Very trippy, in two words if I must. Kaecilius, being blinded by the power offered by Dormammu, stole a ritual that abled him to draw power from the Dark Dimension. This allowed him to become especially powerful and to also bend, twist, and alter the known world in whichever way he desired. He was able to turn things upside down, in and out, out and in, etc. The only way I could explain what it looked like is what the world would possibly look like if you were on a large dose of LSD. Actually, a more accurate description of the cinematography effects would be if you were to look through a telescope to look into a kaleidoscope while under the effects of LSD. Of course, I’m basing off my descriptions from what I’ve heard and read about the effects of the drug.
Don’t get me wrong, the cinematography effects were amazing. Everything in those crazy, complicated scenes existed in a colorful and complex conglomeration of organized chaos.
There was this one instance where Doctor Strange was sent to edges of time and the universe by the Ancient One. While floating in the known, his fingers grew hands and from the fingers of those hands grew more hands and from the fingers of those hands grew even more hands with even more fingers. It reminded me of the tiny, plastic toy hand you put on one of your fingers.
The directors and other creators of this movie also exceptionally blends the modern and the traditional world together. As previously stated, the movie begins in the “modern” world of New York City where Doctor Strange is working in a hospital and is thriving from the excessive amount of money he receives from his job. He then flies himself to Nepal where we are shown the stark contrast between the city life of New York and the more traditional, less-industrialized life in Nepal. The blending of the “modern” and “traditional” worlds is made clear in one an instance when, during one of the more light-hearted scenes, Mordo—a trained sorcerer played by Chiwetel Ejiofor—gives Doctor Strange a piece of paper with an unrecognizable word. I first assumed that it was going to be Doctor Strange’s new name since deciding to take part in a “cult” usually requires the new member to receive a new or an alternate name. Doctor Strange questions as to what the word is for and Mordo amusingly replies something along the lines of “It’s the wifi password, we’re not savages.” It’s ironic because they’re in Kamar-Taj, a very isolated place in the Himalayas. You wouldn’t think they’d have wifi.
Though I have more to say, I think this is enough to describe my first few thoughts on the movie. In summary, I love the movie to the point that I’ve already made plans to see it again.