The Marvel Cinematic Universe was firmly science fiction from the beginning — its first film is literally about an inventor in a robot suit. Even the first Thor focused on telling audiences that the Norse gods are just powerful aliens. This focus only makes sense: most Marvel heroes are sci-fi in nature, especially the popular ones. The series also started in the wake of Batman Begins and The Dark Knight, which cemented superhero cinema as more grounded than the comics.
However, there is more to Marvel than high-tech gadgetry and radioactive origin stories. This universe was capable of accommodating full-on magic, and all the possibilities branching from that. Thor: The Dark World waded into that pool, but it was Doctor Strange that cannonballed the MCU into the realm of fantasy.
Forget Everything That You Think You Know
The standout of the movie is not Benedict Cumberbatch as Dr. Stephen Strange, though he is quite amusing yet stoic in the role. It is not Benedict Wong as Wong, nor Chiwetel Ejiofor as Karl Mordo, nor Mads Mikkelsen as Kaecilius (again, all great in their parts). It is, without a doubt, the visual effects. The standout sequence is, of course, the scene where the Ancient One transports Stephen’s soul across the multiverse. It is abundant with psychedelic imagery that sets the tone for the rest of the movie.
The characters’ other forays beyond the physical plane are fantastic as well. The battles in the Mirror Dimension, with skyscrapers expanding and folding into each other, fulfill the promise first made by Inception. There is also the time loop that Strange creates to force Dormammu, a malevolent monster of the Dark Dimension, into a bargain. This is easily one of the most memorable and satisfying hero-versus-villain confrontations in the MCU, and not a single punch is thrown.
Worlds Without End
Doctor Strange introduces magic, with teleportation portals and time-turning jewels and the beloved Levitating Cloak. With that said, the filmmakers still grounded the supernatural into the scientific — or at least took a sci-fi approach. Notably, the Masters of the Mystic Arts discuss continuum probability, spatial paradoxes, and temporal manipulations. Of course, Stephen starts the story as a brilliant surgeon and a skeptic of anything unscientific. This approach allows him, and more importantly, the audience, to accept the magic as part of his world. Arguably, it helps him master it.
Perhaps most important is the Ancient One revealing that the Marvel Cinematic Universe is just one of many in the multiverse. The sequel, Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness, is poised to tackle this in greater depth. Of course, as the first movie to go into detail on magic in the MCU, Doctor Strange eases us into everything. The visually incredible Mirror Dimension and the disturbing glimpse into the Dark Dimension are all teasers. Like Strange’s first astral trip, this is just a taste of what is to come.
What Mysteries Lie Beyond …?
Doctor Strange may not have a story with a serious impact on the MCU. What it did was inject new worlds of potential into the MCU with the introduction of true fantasy. Plus, it gave us Dr. Stephen Strange, one of the MVPs of Avengers: Infinity War and the man responsible for Endgame’s famed “Portals” scene. If you want a visually impressive and mind-expanding experience from your superhero movies, pay a visit to the Doctor.
Doctor Strange Merchandise
Your WDW Store has plenty of unique gifts for all fans of the Master of the Mystic Arts. Some of our Doctor Strange merchandise is even exclusive to the theme parks, available nowhere else except our online store. That is our own little act of magic, and like the magic in the movie, it is no trick.