Synopsis: A very full of himself Doctor Strange comes to learn the mystic arts after a car accident nearly destroys his hands.
• As always, Benedict Cumberbatch is perfectly cast as the eponymous hero.
• An engaging origin story, and not entirely predictable.
• Beautifully filmed and surrealist, with some of the best imagery of the MCU.
• Successfully meshes the fantastical story elements into the sci-fi context of the MCU, adding considerable content to the overarching mythology.
• As an origin story, the peril Strange experiences has a dulled impact.
• Sometimes seemed a smaller film than it was meant to be.
• Some fans of the comics might not be pleased with the changes to some of the supporting characters.
This film essentially used much of the same substructure as Thor (2011), showing how the fantastical can just be misunderstood science. Here, Strange and his compatriots were simply sucking and utilizing energy from elsewhere, which is a major plot point of the past Darkhold storyline in Agents of SHIELD (2013-present). The Darkhold grimoire itself was often associated with Doctor Strange stories, and was indeed incorporated in that show to correspond with Doctor Strange’s first appearance in the MCU.
Regardless, Doctor Strange may at times be more comparable to stories in the Star Trek franchise, particularly the second season episode “Contagion” of The Next Generation (1987 – 1994) That episode featured technological remains of a long extinct race described as the Iconians. That race practically could bend reality itself in their travels, and like in Doctor Strange, they had doorways that could lead to seemingly anywhere in the universe. It was surmised in the episode that the Iconians were likely a race of peaceful explorers, but other races of their time grew fearful and resentful of the Iconian’s total mastery of science, leading to a successful alliance to end the apparent gods. Iconian transporter technology was also a major plot point later in an episode of Deep Space 9 (1993-1999), as part the Federation-Dominion War story-arc. In Doctor Strange, it was learned that the practitioners of the mystic arts stay almost underground, and are very protective of their secret knowledge, which can be seen and used for nefarious purposes. That is what made Doctor Strange stand out amongst the growing MCU: the film brings truly interesting fantastical elements into the overarching mythology in realistic ways.
Rotten Tomatoes — 89%