As the year comes to a close, Marvel is ready to start a new chapter in its comic book franchise, something it calls 'Phase Three'. It started with Captain America: Civil War and the next chapter continues with Doctor Strange. The initial trailers have created a huge hype train and we're all aboard the massive locomotive of hopes and dreams.
Now that the movie is about to be released, let's get you all prepped up on some backstory now, shall we? Here's everything you need to know before watching Doctor Strange this weekend:
Who is Doctor Strange and what's his origin story?
Strange is a renowned - and egotistical - neurosurgeon whose life changes after a car accident destroys his hands and, as a result, his career. He decides to search the world for a way to fix his hands and revive his career. Instead, he meets a powerful sorcerer, who schools him the arts, both mystical and martial.
Doctor Strange is best known as the Sorcerer Supreme, which basically means he’s living out every eight-year-old’s dream of being the greatest magician in the universe. Or as Marvel likes to put it, he “is a practitioner of the mystic arts who commands a greater portion of the ambient magical energies than any other organism on a given world or dimension.” And of course, he's taught all this by the mystical Ancient One. Which brings us to our next point.
So, who actually is the Ancient One?
In the comics, the Ancient One is a centuries-old Tibetan man living in a Himalayan city known as Kamar-Taj. He also happens to be a sorcerer in his spare time. He's the one who teaches Doctor Strange about spells and parallel planes and serves as Strange's mentor. In the movie, Tilda Swinton was cast as Sorcerer Supreme's mentor, much to the furore of the comic book fan base.
Basically, in a nutshell, the Ancient One is to Doctor Strange what Randeep Hooda was to Salman Khan in Sultan.
What are Doctor Strange's powers?
He uses spells to fight bad guys. He also uses two mystical objects that complete his look: the Cloak of Levitation and Eye of Agamotto (a.k.a. the Time Stone).
It's also the first time when magic will be introduced in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. While Scarlet Witch uses her powers quite often, the term 'magic' has never been used for her.
Who is the main villain in this movie?
Kaecilius is one of Doctor Strange's earliest enemies. In the comics, Kaecilius was a disciple of Baron Mordo, and together they do a number of shady things, including kidnapping the Ancient One.
Kaecilius' goal is basically to reshape the world, which is really bad in the world of magic. In the prequel comics, we learn the reason Kaecilius is so bad - and hates the Ancient One so much - is because he wanted to use the mystic arts to bring his wife and child back from the dead. Obviously, that didn't really work out for him.
Also, Mads Mikkelsen is playing Kaecilius. That's enough reason to want to take a chance on this movie.
What's Dr Strange's impact on the MCU?
Scarlet Witch and Strange both use magic, albeit she's untrained and a little more chaotic. And they've crossed paths numerous times in the comics, often with insane, mystical results. It would be pretty cool if Strange tried to train Scarlet Witch to prevent a misuse of magic.
In addition to this, we can also consider the possible 'friendship' between Thor and Strange as the new focal point of the MCU. The Time Stone has been hinted at in a trailer for the movie and with Thanos' looming arrival on Earth, the pursuit for infinity gems seems to be getting a lot more attention.
Why should you watch this movie?
This movie is going to have dueling sorcerers conjuring swords and javelins, throwing lightning bolts, and levitating. These people are going to be able to literally bend reality.
Also, this movie marks the start of the tonal shift of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. While Captain America: Civil War felt far more serious and gritty than its predecessors, Doctor Strange looks extremely fresh. If the trailers are anything to go by, Doctor Strange is going to be a comic book movie that'll be smart, trippy and fun.
Also, there's the Illuminati and we might see a start to them in the MCU.
Comprising the world’s self-proclaimed most important people, its other founding members include Namor, Professor X, Mr. Fantastic, Black Bolt and, of course, the Master of the Mystic Arts.
Amidst doing things like kicking Hulk off Earth, avoiding a Kree-Skrull conflict and trying to destroy the Infinity Stones, the Illuminati have taken it upon themselves to secretly guide the events of the Marvel universe, usually with disastrous results. Each member represents a different aspect of society, with Doctor Strange appearing on behalf of the mystical community.
Maybe it's time to see the Illuminati in full force in the Marvel Cinematic Universe? Well, we can always dream about this.