Doctor Strange (2016) does not look or feel like any Marvel movie that has come before it. This could be due to the great acting, the really great costumes and the fantastic score. But I’d like to chalk it up to the film’s signature sequences of mind-altering awesomeness that have been garnering buzz ever since the first trailer dropped. Without further ado: Here are the seven most mind-bending moments in Doctor Strange (2016).
Easily one of the most mind-bending aspects of Doctor Strange (2016) is its main character, Doctor Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch). Studies show that less than 0.25% of all people in the United States are doctors. In fact, many people who attend college as a pre-med end up switching majors, making the likelihood of someone being a doctor even more unlikely. Suffice it to say, the part in the movie when it’s revealed that Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) is Doctor Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch)? All I can say is: whoa!
Midway through the film, it is revealed that the Ancient One’s (Tilda Swinton) siiiick pad has portals that connect to Hong Kong, New York and London. This is proven when several characters, including Doctor Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), travel through the portals. We even see the characters walking around those cities and interacting with them the way we would in the Marvel Real-Life Universe. This leaves us with one possible conclusion: Doctor Strange (2016) takes place in all three cities. I’d say the film makes its point that this earth has at least three cities, and I know it left me with my jaw right next to my ballsack.
During one of Doctor Strange’s (2016) boring astral projection duels, Nicodemus West (Michael Stuhlbarg) walks down the hallway of a hospital. Which hospital? We never find out. Anyway, he uses a vending machine to purchase a bag of chips. As the astral specters of Doctor Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) and one of Kaecilius’ (Mads Mikkelsen) disciples pass through the vending machine, three more chip bags fall, allowing Nicodemus West (Michael Stuhlbarg) to get more for his dollar. The scene is played for laughs, but it begs the question: How is Nicodemus West (Michael Stuhlbarg) gon’ eat all those chips?
Despite a plot featuring multiple dimensions, time travel, and wizards, we (us) are able to follow Doctor Strange (2016) pretty clearly. You can understand my surprise, then, when I discovered that principal photography on the film began in Nepal on November 4th, 2015, featuring Benedict Cumberbatch (Doctor Stephen Strange). Hold on though. Doctor Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) doesn’t appear in Nepal until the second act of the film, does he? That’s right! This can only mean they shot that shit willy nilly, and then someone else had to put it back together. You’d need to be a real wizard to do that job, and I should know, because I believe in wizards.
When the Ancient One (Tilda Swinton) introduces Doctor Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) to the “Mirror Dimension”—a parallel plane of reality where actions, even magical ones, have no effect on the physical realm, allowing skilled sorcerers to practice experimental magic without fear of consequence and to trick and imprison their enemies—the dicks really start flying off the page. You’re telling me the filmmakers behind Doctor Strange (2016) know about my short-lived post-punk new-wave collective “Mirror Dimension?” We only pressed like a hundred copies of one 7”. I gotta tell the guys!
One of the hands-down coolest scenes in Doctor Strange (2016) is when Doctor Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) trains with Karl Mordo (Chiwetel Ejiofor). Yes, as the two fight, Doctor Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) is forced to improvise a cat’s cradle-esque defensive weapon out of pure energy, while Karl Mordo (Chiwetel Ejiofor) is so adept that he can use that same energy as stepping stones with which to run through the air, yes. Yes. I hear you. Yes. But did anybody else notice that Karl Mordo’s (Chiwetel Ejiofor) primary weapon is one of those muscle rolling sticks you can buy online from any Mars Athletics, ISDON, Supremus Sports, PENSON & CO., Physix Gear Sport, or Fit Spirit retailers? I got one of those things at home for after dance competitions. Where’s my bailout?
And that’s why Doctor Strange (2016) should win Best Sound Mixing.
Graham Techler is a New York-based writer and actor. Follow him at @grahamtechler.