Dr. Strange


The movie “Dr. Strange” is a wonderful tale of adventure celebrating Eastern Mysticism whose powers apparently lie just beyond the perceptions of most mere mortals.   The premise is that with only a little talent but perhaps some extended effort, enormous latent talents can be unleashed in even the dullest of minds.  The secret trick is to abandon the Western tradition of reason and science in favor of Eastern superstition which somehow enables one to channel colossal energies lurking in the inscrutable folds of nature. 


In any event, the hero is driven to such studies by an egoistic desire to return to his well rewarded life style after a tragic accident and a crippling infirmity.  But while debilitating for the demanding duties of a neurosurgeon, the affliction is not otherwise noticeable.   Ironically it is only when he is forced into trying very hard not to try too hard and to admit his incompetence that he is finally able humble himself sufficiently to become the all-powerful master of the universe.


That is not to say the story line is shallow or inconsistent or even unbelievable given the constraints of the basic premise.  Rather the plot is logically developed and with sufficient depth to arouse strong audience involvement.    The tale contains the necessary assortment of heroes and villains with all the expected virtues and vices.  But the characters are not stereotypical and instead display complex and surprising mixtures of both good and evil.  Indeed, audience emotions are skillfully manipulated as assorted free agents interact and evolve as many colorful threads are woven into a rich tapestry of shifting motivations and allegiances.


Strangely adding to the realism of the story is the notoriously unfortunate fact that modern medicine remains a complicated mixture of art and science.  The love interest is underplayed but charming.   The hero is cultured, funny, insightful, and non-threatening throughout.  The special effects are breathtaking and far enough removed from normal science fiction themes as to refreshingly relieve the tedium.  The action scenes, with perhaps the exception of needles in the operating room, are sufficiently exciting without any nerve wrenching obsession with blood and gore.  Indeed, bad guys are summarily dispatched only in little well-deserved puffs of glory with nary a whimper.


All in all, this is an entertaining and well crafted movie, if somewhat unusual.  And so I could easily recommend it and even might suggest watching until the very last credit.