Movie Reviews

Science vs Spiritualism: Thoughts on Doctor Strange

doctor_strange_poster
Courtesy of Marvel Studios & Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures (Via Wikipedia)

Doctor Strange (2016)

Directed By: Scott Derrickson

Warning: Spoilers!

I watched Doctor Strange with my sister during Thanksgiving break. To be honest, it wasn’t on my to-watch list, but I watched it anyways because my sister was interested in it and she needed someone to go with. Although I initially wasn’t interested, I ended up liking Doctor Strange after watching the whole film.

This film is about the origin of Doctor Strange. Stephen Strange is a famous but arrogant surgeon who gets into a car accident and loses nerve control with his hands, resulting in the end of his surgeon career. So he seeks to be healed by the Ancient One in hopes that he can once again rise to prominence as a surgeon. However while apprenticing under the Ancient One, he learns about magic and alternate dimensions and gets caught up in a battle with Kaecilius and his zealots who are trying to open a portal to Dormammu of the Dark Dimension.

The first thing I would like to address is the core theme of science vs spiritualism. They are two different beliefs systems that collide within Stephen Strange. He’s a man of science and constantly questions the logic behind how the Ancient One’s teachings can achieve the impossible such as healing one’s hands or learning how to walk again when the numbers and scientific evidence state that it’s physically impossible. In the beginning, he couldn’t fully grasp and accept that this type of healing is a “mind over matter” process. I thought it was fascinating to see him struggle with two ideologies. Personally, I believe that both ideologies are important in one’s life and should co-exist with one another since there are certain things science can’t explain and vice versa.

However, I was a little surprised at the ending. I was expecting a more action-packed conclusion where the good guys defeat the bad guys. Instead, Doctor Strange had a  “peaceful” and clever way of handling Dormammu which I thought was an interesting way to end a conflict within a movie. It gives perspective to the audience that solutions don’t necessarily have to be handled by war or fighting, but instead, conflicts can be resolved through diplomacy and compromise. Also, it is like Doctor Strange’s character to use his wit and cleverness to find a quick get away.

I was somewhat disappointed that Karl Mordo turned away from the teachings and ideology of the Ancient One. However, it is understandable why he would refuse to continue being a master under the Ancient One. The Ancient One lied to her students, and as a man who follows his morals strictly, Karl Mordo did what’s best for him by refusing to follow the teachings of someone who lied. Yet, I do believe that there needs to be a balance between good and evil: the Ancient One draws energy and power from Dormammu and good needs to exist in order for evil to exist. It kind of reminds me of the yin/yang concept and the idea of balance between binarisms.

I actually heard more “negative” and “average” reviews for Doctor Strange, but I think it’s a movie that you have to go see for yourself in order to know if you like it or not.

4/5

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6 comments

  1. i havent watched doctor strange yet, but spiritualism is a topic that i find interesting. it’s a term that gets tossed around a lot and feels less discretely defined. ive heard scientists define their spiritualism as the wonder they get observing the universe and its complexity, but if true spiritualism necessitates a belief in the supernatural, then i would be inclined to reject it. i believe that the concession that something is beyond scientific understanding is the slowing of the progression of scientific knowledge, a shackle on the moving frontier, so i dont think it’s healthy to keep that thought myself. i think a good first reaction to a supernatural event is to attempt to explain it, rather than to just accept it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I understand where you are coming from. For me, it’s a struggle to find logic and/or accept things as are. I think that my train of thought comes from reading so many books. You should definitely watch Doctor Strange though. I think it’s your kind of movie.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Great post, and I like your thoughts on the film. I was one of the persons that found the movie to be good, but not great. I love Marvel movies, but I kind of feel that they are currently following a certain predictable path. However, the way you put it, I had not thought of it before. Great review 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, they are trying to combine all the Marvel movies (aside from X-Men) to make a mega superhero movie, and I think we can all agree that there’s a superhero movie formula now. And thanks for the comment, I’m glad my thoughts gave you some new insight on the film.

      Liked by 1 person

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