Just What the Doctor Ordered

The Sorcerer Supreme debuted in theaters on Nov. 4, and it was a mind-blowing experience.

Pradyoth Velagapudi, Managing Editor

“Dr. Strange” hit theaters just two weeks ago, and it was one of the coolest Marvel movies so far. It’s the first Marvel movie to feature magic, as well as the first one that doesn’t place the final battle in New York (which I appreciate). It also introduces another Infinity Stone to the MCU in the form of the Eye of Agamotto.

The movie starts with a breathtaking scene of a lone, hooded figure fighting a gang of baddies in a London alleyway. As they fight, they seem to bend the rules of reality itself, moving skyscrapers and shifting the ground in an impressive display of magical prowess.

Cut to Dr. Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) showing off his amazing brain surgeon skills in the hospital where he works. We also get a taste of Strange’s private life, with fancy watches, spiffy suits, a luxurious penthouse, and an expensive car. His true personality is also revealed, as he seems to be arrogant and overconfident. He also turns down several patients whose cases are “too severe,” because he doesn’t want to botch the surgery and put a stain on his perfect record.

Then one night, while he’s driving his amazing car down a two-lane mountainside road while overtaking everyone else, he bumps into the car next to him, rolls over into a parking lot, and wakes up in the hospital to find that he has severely injured his hands, and cannot continue his career as a neurosurgeon. In an effort to find a cure, he travels to a temple in Nepal, only to find that it is the headquarters for an organization of magicians led by the Ancient One (Tilda Swinton), who defend the world from magical and inter-dimensional threats.

The bad guy, Kaecilius (Mads Mikkelsen), is the leader of a gang of evil magicians who pull power from the Dark Dimension, which is usually forbidden for sorcerers to do. He is also the Ancient One’s former student, kind of like Tai Lung from “Kung Fu Panda.” In fact, a lot of parts of this movie remind me of “Kung Fu Panda.” There’s a one-time baddie who used to be good but went rogue, then a new guy comes who is hopeless at fighting but becomes the best of them all. Next, the bad guy attacks the headquarters for the good guys, and the good guy uses magic previously thought impossible to beat the villain, yada yada yada, everyone lives happily ever after. It reflects as an unoriginal, overused trope.

There’s also a scene when Dr. Strange first comes into the temple, when the Ancient One forces him to confront his disbelief in magic by pushing his “astroform” through several different universes, each one stranger than the last (get it? Strange?). This scene was interesting when it started, but it drags on way too long, and it loses a lot of its original gravity. After that, Strange finally believes in the magic, and he asks the Ancient One to teach him. Then the Ancient One just says, “No,” and kicks Strange out. This scene is totally unnecessary, because she has no real reason to do that, and she lets him back in almost immediately, after conferring with Mordo (Chiwetel Ejiofor), one of her most trusted students.

Despite this, I really enjoyed the movie. The special effects were unbelievably believable, and there was a lot of unexpected humor, which I loved. The development of Strange’s character shows throughout the movie, and the theme of fighting your demons is prominent. It’s definitely better than some other superhero origin movies I’ve seen.

In the end, I definitely recommend watching this movie, but it’s probably not worth IMAX 3-D or anything.