I am Doctor Strange.

Editor’s Note: This is a the first of hopefully many guest posts from Mr.Teacher

I am addicted superhero films. I have seen them all. Yes, even the embarrassing ones; Green Lantern and Fantastic Four to name two. Don’t picture me as some sort of glutton for punishment or person with terrible taste. I simply have great nostalgia for the obsession of my youth. When I was a kid, much of my independent play was spent with my superhero action figures. Naturally, I hoped one day I would be a superhero just like them. I wanted to join all of my friends on their fantastic adventures.

As I grew older, I began to wish that all my favorite superheros would be in live-action movies. I didn’t realize my nerdy dream would be answered exponentially.

That’s not to say studios didn’t try to produce superhero movies when I was young. Terrible Batman movies were always coming out. That being said, the technology simply wasn’t up to the task of making superhero movies anything more than their cartoon counterparts.

No one could have foreseen the money making capabilities of superhero movies back then. Now, however, superhero movies are money in the bank for many Hollywood studios. In fact, there are so many superhero movies each year that much of the public is experiencing a palpable superhero movie fatigue.

Marvel movies have been the most successful at comic book adaptations. Their campy and lighthearted movies, full of celebrity banter, have delighted the public to the tune of billions of dollars. DC Comics has recently tried its hand at igniting a rivalry, but the grim seriousness of their movies have not gone over as well with the public (even though they may have the better canon).

Doctor Strange is Marvel’s newest attempt at adding to its cinematic universe. Yes, another superhero franchise is launching. However, just like the surprisingly funny and caper-esque Antman, Marvel has nailed its newest film.

Doctor Strange is led by the mega-star Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Stephen Strange. His supporting cast is full of actors with major chops. Chiwetel Ejiofor plays the severe and formidable sidekick Mordo. Mads Mikkelson plays the lead villain Kaecilius, and Rachel McAdams plays the love interest Christine Palmer. The cast is rounded out by the highly controversial casting of Tilda Swinton as the Ancient One (a classically Asian role stolen by a white actor — looking at you Emma Stone).

Yes, this movie has a classic origin story. I know, I’m sick of them too. However, this one is relatively painless. Steven Strange is an asshole surgeon. He has his hands destroyed in an accident. He goes to the far east to be healed by mystics. He meets the Ancient One, and he realizes that the linear world he believed in, is one of infinite possibilities, and universes.
Along the way, Stephen Strange, is beaten down and stripped of his egotism. He learns magic and harnesses powers of the universe under the tutelage of the Ancient One. Quickly he is sucked into a battle for the salvation of the Universe.
This movie has all of the quick repartee of the Avengers movies, but enough soul and relationship building to make you care about the characters. The special effects in this movie are amazing. Buildings fold in on one another, there are beautiful interpretations of universes and worlds on end, and the battle scenes are frantic (almost haphazardly comical) and satisfying.

I can’t recommend the movie enough. Doctor Strange is a welcomed addition to the Marvel cinematic universe. See you in Thor: Ragnarok.

While watching Doctor Strange, I had a surreal out-of-body experience. People that know me personally, know that I recently had a serious hospitalization for a pericardial effusion (fluid around the heart). In the movie, Stephen Strange has the same issue, with bloody red fluid being removed from his heart sack in a particularly hectic and important scene. I looked at my wife as I watched the scene, and mouthed to her “What are the chances?” As I concentrated on my breathing and suppressed any flashbacks I realized something.

I am Doctor Strange… Fine, I’m not Doctor Strange, but I think this is the closest I’ll ever be to achieving my childhood goal of being a superhero.  Time to go work on the goatee.

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