The latest installment from Marvel Comics and Disney Studios is 2016’s Doctor Strange.
It tells of Doctor Stephen Strange, who is a brilliant but egotistical neurosurgeon who through a twist of misfortune ends up crippled and unable to perform surgeries.
Much like Bruce Wayne’s genesis as Batman, Dr Strange journeys into the Himalayas to search out the Ancient One and learn the mystical arts of healing.
Also, like many comic book and hero stories, Strange learns of unique giftings hidden within him and an uncanny aptitude to learn magic and sorcery. With the aide of a side kick and several magical items such as a levitating cloak and necklace which can bend time, Strange becomes a serious force to contend with in the magical realm.
The story is classic hero journey. A skeptical scientist carries the audience with him on a journey into mystery, thrown from his comfortable reality into the depths of dream and deep psyche.
On this journey, he discovers mentors, allies, enemies and magical weapons and touchstones.
Strange’s story reaches denoument when he faces a choice – he can channel healing into his hands and return to love and career – or he can stay and battle forces of evil, a broken man the rest of his days.
His choice to remain, carries him to the very nexus of evil, to face the Dormammu or the Dark Dimension.
Herein lies on the most startling hero motifs of any sci-fi or fantasy I have seen for a long time.
Doctor Strange with the aid of his time bending amulet, creates a loop of time in which he and Dormammu are trapped without end. In doing so, he willingly condemns himself to infinite death so that humanity may live.
Our hero takes infinite death that humanity might live……..
This saviour motif resonates time and time again, throughout stories, myths and legends of many cultures. Too many to recount.
All in all, the film relies too heavily on computer generated effects and the at times the plot is clumsily narrated through longwinded dialogue. Nevertheless the cast are brilliant and some genuinely witty interchanges brighten the story.
I give it – three out of five stars.