Question Reality. Change Your Destiny.
"You want to know what I see in your future? Possibility."
--The Ancient One
"Stephen Strange? Might I offer you some advice?
Forget everything that you think you know."
Dr. Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) is a brilliant neurosurgeon--but sometimes, one has to lose everything in order to find one's self. Strange is at the top of his game professionally. Not much of his private life is revealed in the movie, but according an earlier animated feature, he became a neurosurgeon to save his younger sister, who suffered from seizures. She died while he was performing surgery on her, which would explain why his cocky facade conceals a deep fear of failure (it also explains why doctors aren't supposed to treat members of their own family!).
But I digress. Doctor Strange is en route to a dinner at which he's to receive a prestigious award when he receives a call from his assistant, who has a number of cases for him to choose from (Captain America: Civil War Easter egg here). Looks like nobody told the good doctor about the dangers of talking on the phone, even with a hands-free device, because he has a near-fatal accident that renders his hands all but useless.
After going broke looking for a miracle, he learns of a man who was miraculously healed after being paralyzed. This is the beginning of a journey that takes him to Nepal, to the mysterious Ancient One (Tilda Swinton) and her followers (Chiwetel Ejiofor, Benedict Wong). At first, he's skeptical. He's a man of science. He can't accept the things she suggests--until she shows him. Under her tutelage, he masters new skills. Mystical skills.
Director and co-writer Scott Derrickson is a Christian, and it shows in the parallels between issues of faith and the teachings of the Ancient One. The battle between good and evil...opening one's mind to all possibilities...that nothing is coincidence, all things happening for a reason...it's all here. Example: had Strange not had that life-altering accident, he would have gone on being an arrogant neurosurgeon, never realizing his true destiny.
Like its Marvel predecessors, Doctor Strange is well-written and directed, cast with actors who seem ideal for their roles, and presented with just the right balance of action and humor. There are two of the usual post-credits scenes, the first involving Doctor Strange's first encounter with another member of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and the second involving a fallen hero. I'm looking forward to seeing the good doctor again!
Postscript: I launched a new blog today--the serial I've mentioned before. I hope you'll check out An Army of Angels!