Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Rachel McAdams, Michael Stuhlbarg, Mads Mikkelsen, Tilda Swinton, Scott Adkins, Michael Stuhlbarg, Benedict Wong, Amy Landecker
OUR RATING: ★★★★☆
Marvel’s superhero fantasy adventure directed by Scott Derrickson. Doctor Strange (2016) centers on Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) a brilliant but arrogant and conceited neurosurgeon, who after being injured in a car accident that ruins his career sets out on a journey of healing and uncovers the hidden world of magic where he encounters the Ancient One (Tilda Swinton), who later becomes Strange’s mentor in the mystic arts.
Our Favorite Quotes:
Dr. Stephen Strange: [referring to West] Woh, wait a minute. You guys aren’t…
Christine Palmer: What?
Dr. Stephen Strange: Sleeping together? Sorry, I thought that was implicit in my disgust.
Christine Palmer: Explicit, actually. No, I have a very strict rule against dating colleagues.
Dr. Stephen Strange: Oh, really?
Christine Palmer: I call it the “Strange Policy”.
Dr. Stephen Strange: Oh, well, good, I’m glad something’s named after me. I invented a laminectomy procedure, and yet, somehow no one seems to want to call it the “Strange Technique”.
Christine Palmer: We invented that technique.
Dr. Stephen Strange: Regardless, I’m very flattered by your policy.
Dr. Stephen Strange: I’m talking tonight at a Neurological Society dinner. Come with me.
Christine Palmer: Another speaking engagement? So romantic.
Dr. Stephen Strange: You used to love coming to those things with me. We had fun together.
Christine Palmer: No, you had fun. They weren’t about us, they were about you.
Dr. Stephen Strange: Not only about me.
Christine Palmer: Stephen, Everything is about you.
Dr. Stephen Strange: Maybe we could hyphenate. Strange-Palmer Technique.
Christine Palmer: Palmer-Strange.
Christine Palmer: [as Strange wakes in hospital] Hey. It’s okay. It’s going to be okay.
Dr. Stephen Strange: What did they do?
Christine Palmer: They rushed you in a chopper, but it took a little while to find you. The golden hours for nerve damage went by while you were in the car.
Dr. Stephen Strange: What did they do?
Christine Palmer: Eleven stainless steel pins in the bones. Multiple torn ligaments, severe nerve damage in both hands. You were on the table for eleven hours.
Dr. Stephen Strange: [sobbing as he looks at his hands] Look at these fixators.
Christine Palmer: No one could have done better.
Dr. Stephen Strange: I could have done better.
Dr. Nicodemus West: Give your body time to heal.
Dr. Stephen Strange: You’ve ruined me.
Christine Palmer: [as Strange is trying to find a way to cure his hands] You’ve always spent money as fast as you could make it, but now you’re spending money you don’t even have. Maybe it’s time to consider stopping.
Dr. Stephen Strange: No, now is exactly the time not to stop because, you see, ‘m not getting any better!
Christine Palmer: But this isn’t medicine anymore, this is mania. Some things just can’t be fixed.
Dr. Stephen Strange: Life without my work…
Christine Palmer: Is still life. This isn’t the end. There are other things that can give your life meaning.
Dr. Stephen Strange: Like what? Like you?
Christine Palmer: This is the part where you apologize.
Dr. Stephen Strange: This is the part where you leave.
Christine Palmer: I can’t watch you do this to yourself anymore.
Dr. Stephen Strange: Oh, too difficult for you, is it?
Christine Palmer: Yes, it is. It breaks my heart to see you this way.
Dr. Stephen Strange: No, don’t pity me.
Christine Palmer: I’m not pitying you.
Dr. Stephen Strange: Oh, yeah? Then what are you doing here, bringing cheese and wine like we’re old friends going for a picnic? We are not friends, Christine. We were barely lovers. But you just love a sob story, don’t you? Is that what I am to you now? “Poor Stephen Strange, charity case. He finally needs me.” Another dreg of humanity for you to work on, patch him up and send him back into the world, heart’s just humming. You care so much, don’t you?
Christine Palmer: Goodbye, Stephen.
Dr. Stephen Strange: I’m Stephen Strange. I’m a neurosurgeon, was a neurosurgeon.
Jonathan Pangborn: Actually, you know what, man, I do know you. I came to your office once. You refused to see me. I never got past your assistant.
Dr. Stephen Strange: You were untreatable.
Jonathan Pangborn: No glory for you in that, right?
Dr. Stephen Strange: You came back from a place there’s no way back from. I’m trying to find my own way back.
Jonathan Pangborn: I’d given up on my body. I thought my mind’s the only thing I have left I should at least try to elevate that. So, I sat with gurus and sacred women. Strangers carried me to mountaintops to see holy men, and finally I found my teacher. And my mind was elevated, and my spirit deepened. And somehow…
Dr. Stephen Strange: Your body healed.
Jonathan Pangborn: Yes. There were deeper secrets to learn there, but I didn’t have the strength to receive them. I chose to settle for my miracle and I came back home. The place you’re looking for is called Kamar-Taj, but the cost there is high.
Dr. Stephen Strange: How much?
Jonathan Pangborn: I’m not talking about money. Good luck.
Mordo: You’re looking for Kamar-Taj.
Dr. Stephen Strange: [Mordo takes him to Kamar-Taj] Really? Sure we got the right place? That one looks a little more Kamar-Tajey.
Mordo: I once stood in your place. And I, too, was disrespectful. So, might I offer you some advice? Forget everything you think you know.
Dr. Stephen Strange: Alright.
Mordo: The sanctuary of our teacher, The Ancient One.
Dr. Stephen Strange: The Ancient One? What’s his real name?
Dr. Stephen Strange: [Mordo just looks at him] Right. Forget everything I think I know. Sorry.
Dr. Stephen Strange: [to who he thinks is the Ancient One] Thank you, Ancient One, for seeing me.
The Ancient One: You’re very welcome.
Mordo: [Strange looks with confusion at him] The Ancient One.
The Ancient One: Thank you, Master Mordo. Thank you, Master Hamir. Mr. Strange.
Dr. Stephen Strange: Doctor, actually.
The Ancient One: Well, no, not anymore, surely. Isn’t that why you’re here? You’ve undergone many procedures. Seven, right?
Dr. Stephen Strange: Yeah. It’s good tea.
The Ancient One: Yes.
Dr. Stephen Strange: Did you heal a man named Pangborn, a paralyzed man?
The Ancient One: In a way.
Dr. Stephen Strange: You helped him to walk again.
The Ancient One: Yes.
Dr. Stephen Strange: How did you correct a complete C7-C8 spinal cord injury?
The Ancient One: Well, I didn’t correct it. He couldn’t walk, I convinced him that he could.
Dr. Stephen Strange: You’re not suggesting it was psychosomatic?
The Ancient One: When you reattach a severed nerve is it you who heals it back together or the body?
Dr. Stephen Strange: It’s the cells.
The Ancient One: And the cells are only programmed to put themselves back together in very specific ways.
Dr. Stephen Strange: Right.
The Ancient One: What if I told you that your own body could be convinced to put itself back together in all sorts of ways?
Dr. Stephen Strange: You’re talking about cellular regeneration. That’s bleeding edge medical tech. Is that why you’re working here without a governing medical board? Just how experimental is your treatment?
The Ancient One: Quite.
Dr. Stephen Strange: So, you’ve figured out a way to reprogram nerve cells to self-heal?
The Ancient One: No, Mr. Strange. I know how to reorient the spirit to better heal the body.
Dr. Stephen Strange: The spirit to heal the body?
The Ancient One: That’s right.
Dr. Stephen Strange: Alright. How do we do that? Where do we start?
The Ancient One: [referring to the picture] Don’t like that map?
Dr. Stephen Strange: Oh, no. It’s really good. It’s just, you know, I’ve seen it before, in gift shops.
The Ancient One: And what about this one?
Dr. Stephen Strange: Acupuncture, great.
The Ancient One: What about that one?
Dr. Stephen Strange: Showing me an MRI scan. I do not believe this.
The Ancient One: Each of those maps was drawn up by someone who could see in part, but not the whole.
Dr. Stephen Strange: I spent my last dollar getting here, a one-way ticket, and you’re talking to me about healing through belief?
The Ancient One: You’re a man looking at the world through a keyhole, and you’ve spent your whole life trying to widen that keyhole, to see more, to know more, and now, on hearing that it can be widened, in ways you can’t imagine you reject the possibility.
Dr. Stephen Strange: No, I reject it because I do not believe in fairy tales about chakras or energy or the power of belief. There is no such thing as spirit! We are made of matter and nothing more. You’re just another tiny, momentary speck within an indifferent universe.
The Ancient One: You think too little of yourself.
Dr. Stephen Strange: Oh, you think you see through me, do you? Well, you don’t. But I see through you!
Dr. Stephen Strange: [as the Ancient One forced his spirit out of his body] What did you just do to me?
The Ancient One: I pushed your astral form out of your physical form.
Dr. Stephen Strange: What’s in that tea? Psilocybin? LSD?
The Ancient One: It’s just tea, with a little honey.
Dr. Stephen Strange: What just happened?
The Ancient One: For a moment, you entered the astral dimension.
Dr. Stephen Strange: The what?
The Ancient One: A place where the soul exists apart from the body.
Dr. Stephen Strange: Why are you doing this to me?
The Ancient One: To show you just how much you don’t know. Open your eye.
Dr. Stephen Strange: [sees the alternate dimensions] Oh, s**t! Oh, God! Oh, God. No! No, no, no! What’s happening? This isn’t real! This isn’t real! This isn’t real!
Mordo: His heart rate is getting dangerously high.
Dr. Stephen Strange: The Ancient One: He looks alright to me.
The Ancient One: [as Strange is going the alternate dimensions] You think you know how the world works? You think that this material universe is all there is? What is real? What mysteries lie beyond the reach of your senses? At the root of existence mind and matter meet. Thoughts shape reality. This universe is only one of an infinite number. Worlds without end. Some benevolent and life giving. Others filled with malice and hunger. Dark places where powers older than time lie ravenous and waiting. Who are you in this vast Multiverse, Mr. Strange?
'We never lose our demons. We only learn to live above them.' - The Ancient One (Doctor Strange) Click To Tweet
The Ancient One: [as she brings Strange back into his body] Have you seen that before in a gift shop?
Dr. Stephen Strange: Teach me.
The Ancient One: No.
[Strange is then thrown out of the building]
The Ancient One: [after throwing Strange out of Kamar-Taj] You think I was wrong to cast him out?
Mordo: Five hours later, he’s still on your doorstep. There’s a strength to him.
The Ancient One: Stubbornness, arrogance, ambition. I’ve seen it all before.
Mordo: He reminds you of Kaecilius?
The Ancient One: I cannot lead another gifted student to power only to lose him to the darkness.
Mordo: You didn’t lose me. I wanted the power to defeat my enemies. You gave me the power to defeat my demons and to live within the natural law.
The Ancient One: We never lose our demons, Mordo. We only learn to live above them.
Mordo: Kaecilius still has the stolen pages. If he deciphers them, he could bring ruin upon us all. There may be dark days ahead. Perhaps Kamar-Taj could use a man like Strange.
Dr. Stephen Strange: [hours after being thrown, banging on the door] Don’t shut me out. I haven’t got anywhere else to go.
[defeated he sinks down against the door, suddenly the door is buzzed open]
Mordo: [shows Strange to his room] Bathe. Rest. Meditate, if you can. The Ancient One will send for you.
Dr. Stephen Strange: [Mordo hands him a paper with the word “Shamballa” written on it] What’s this? My mantra?
Mordo: The Wi-Fi password. We’re not savages.
The Ancient One: The language of the mystic arts is as old as civilization. The sorcerers of antiquity called the use of this language spells. But if that word offends your modern sensibilities you can call it a program, the source code that shapes reality. We harness energy drawn from other dimensions of the Multiverse to cast spells to conjure shields and weapons to make magic.
Dr. Stephen Strange: But even if my fingers could do that my hands would just be waving in the air. How do I get from here to there?
The Ancient One: How did you get to reattach severed nerves and put a human spine back together bone by bone?
Dr. Stephen Strange: Study and practice, years of it.
Wong: Mr. Strange.
Dr. Stephen Strange: Stephen, please. And you are?
Dr. Stephen Strange: Wong. Just Wong? Like Adele? Or Aristotle. Drake. Bono. Eminem.
Wong: This section is for masters only, but at my discretion, others may use it. You should start with Maxim’s Primer. How’s your Sanskrit?
Dr. Stephen Strange: I’m fluent in Google Translate.
The Ancient One: You cannot beat a river into submission. You have to surrender to its current and use its power as your own.
Dr. Stephen Strange: I control it by surrendering control? That doesn’t make any sense.
The Ancient One: Not everything does. Not everything has to. Your intellect has taken you far in life, but it will take you no further. Surrender, Stephen. Silence your ego and your power will rise. Come with me.
Dr. Stephen Strange: [the Ancient One takes him to Everest] Wait. Is this…
The Ancient One: Everest. Beautiful.
Dr. Stephen Strange: Yeah, right, beautiful. Freezing but beautiful.
The Ancient One: At this temperature a person can last for thirty minutes before suffering permanent loss of function.
Dr. Stephen Strange: Great.
The Ancient One: But you’ll likely go into shock within the first two.
Dr. Stephen Strange: What?
The Ancient One: Surrender, Stephen.
Dr. Stephen Strange: [the Ancient One leaves him in Everest closing the portal] No! No!
Mordo: [training Strange] This is a relic. Some magic is too powerful to sustain so we imbue objects with it allowing them to take the strain we cannot. This is the staff of the Living Tribunal. There are many relics. The Wand of Watoomb, The Vaulting Boots of Valtorr.
Dr. Stephen Strange: Really just roll off the tongue, don’t they? When do I get my relic?
Mordo: When you’re ready.
Dr. Stephen Strange: I think I’m ready.
Mordo: You’re ready when the relic decides you’re ready. For now, conjure a weapon.