Who is Doctor Strange?

Benedict Cumberbatch turns superhero inDoctor Strange
Benedict Cumberbatch turns superhero inDoctor Strange

Here’s a primer to get acquainted with the Marvel’s superhero universe’s most unique character

Superheroes seem to follow set rules. Either you have a multi-billionaire who builds a super suit; or an alien on earth with special powers. Then there’s the radioactive insect bite which gives superpowers or that noble victim of unfortunate circumstances.

This is followed by the superheroes teaming up to save the world while maintaining their troubled other lives. But there are exceptions. Take for instance Guardians of the Galaxy (2014), which subverted the superhero formula. Now it’s time for another unusual hero to hit the big screen, one that’s aptly named Doctor Strange.

A brilliant but egotistical neurosurgeon, Stephen Strange charged high fees, was callous and arrogant. And then one day he lost the use of his hands in an accident. After a series of events and plenty of soul searching, Strange seeks out The Ancient One, who makes him a sorcerer. You see there are groups like The Avengers to protect the earth from physical threats and alien invasions. But there seems to be no hero protecting the world from metaphysical entities; malevolent beings invading our planet from other realms and dimensions. This is where Doctor Strange steps in, countering those threats through mystical arts.

Doctor Strange first appeared in July 1963 in Marvel’s Strange Tales #110 . Created by Steve Ditko, Doctor Strange was first envisioned to be a high level magician, carrying the tagline Master of Black Magic. Over the years his popularity grew and he got his own comic book series: Dr. Strange: Sorcerer Supreme. He also made appearances in The Amazing Spiderman . He’s also part ofThe Avengersand theDefenders. In fact, a self-titledDoctor Strangemade-for-TV film from 1978 is still buried in embarrassment.

As a character, Doctor Strange allowed writers and artistes to go psychedelic with his powers. He’s a sorcerer supreme and uses incantations to invoke mystical entities and objects of great power. Strange can also use astral projections, cast illusions, mesmerise, and travel through dimensions and time. And physically, he can kick some you know what, as he’s a martial artist with an extremely good knowledge of science and medicine in addition to the metaphysical.

Casting coup

The film that releases tomorrow, features Benedict Cumberbatch in perhaps the best casting choice. Joining him are Chiwetel Ejiofor, Rachel McAdams, Benedict Wong, Mads Mikkelsen (as the bad guy) and a bald Tilda Swinton as The Ancient One. From what we have seen, the filmmakers have done a great job in bringing the comic to life with out-of-the-world psychedelic effects. Expect cities to bend and move while Strange travels through dimensions.

The author is a freelance tech and lifestyle writer

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