Everything you need to know about Doctor Strange before seeing the Marvel Movie
Doctor Strange is one of the mystical Marvel characters that grew to fame in the 1960s. He doesn’t have the comparable qualities of an Iron-Man, Spider-Man or a Captain America. Where then, does the film “Doctor Strange” fit in with the Marvel Universe? I’m going to break it down into the simplest explanation of what you need to know before seeing the movie.
Growing up, my uncle introduced me to Doctor Strange through Marvel’s “Strange Tales” comic book series, though I didn’t understand the premise versus the traditional superhero books I was used to. Doctor Stephen Vincent Strange is a neurosurgeon who is connected with an alternate dimension and a hidden world. Strange is a bridge between that world and ours, using his metaphysical abilities and mastery of the mystic arts to protect humanity. In the comic books, the writing for Strange was a lot like that of Silver Surfer and Thor. It was a little different and harder to read (for a youngster). The film’s storyline may be a little more difficult for the younger audience to understand, in that regard.
Scott Derrickson directs this film, which has yet to receive an MPAA rating. The film stars Benedict Cumberbatch (FINALLY in a role involving a superhuman!) as Doctor Strange, with the incredible Rachel McAdams (Christine Palmer) and Tilda Swinton (The Ancient One) co-starring, with Chiwetel Ejiofor as Mordo. Unlike a lot of our traditional Marvel flicks, this one will be more closely related to a sci-fi thriller than a superhero film. Derrickson immediately made a gender change to one of the characters. The Ancient One was a male in the comics.
Dr. Strange premiered in “Strange Tales” #110 in 1963 and his origin was revealed 5 issues later, that same year. According to the comics, he is a Philly native who, at the age of 8 years old, was controlled by a sorcerer named Karl Mordo, but rescued by Mordo’s mentor, a character called “The Ancient One.” As the name implies, The Ancient One has been around for countless ages and protects the earth.
Strange, through his young adult life, was a cold, wealthy egomaniac who hides his sense of failure after not being able to save a couple of his family members from death. He delves deeper into material possessions. His brother, Victor, confronts Stephen about his terrible lack of remorse and grief, particularly over the death of their family.
Victor leaves Stephen’s apartment, angry at his brother and frustrated. His emotions get the best of him and Victor fails to see a car. The accident crushes a blame-ridden Stephen, who puts his brother into a cryogenic freezer, hoping to revive him when futuristic breakthroughs come about.
A different car accident involving Stephen severely damages the hands of the doctor, cutting his storied career short. His vanity keeps him from accepting limitations and he spends his vast fortune in failure after failure to restore his ability as a neurosurgeon. He’s soon destitute.
As a last resort, Stephen Strange seeks out the help of The Ancient One in Tibet, but is refused a cure. The Ancient One is attacked by mystic forces and – for the first time in decades – Strange acts in an unselfish manner to try and protect The Ancient One.
It turns out, Mordo was behind the attack.
Strange becomes a humble apprentice to The Ancient One, vowing to learn magic to redeem himself and restore the years of guilt he had from his vanity and mistakes of the past. Mordo becomes Strange’s primary opponent, in the comic series. He has a partner in his fight by the name of Wong (played by Benedict Wong), who is a descendant of The Ancient One.
Marvel’s “Doctor Strange” is set to be released November 4, 2016 in the United States.