Movie Name: Doctor Strange: The Sorcerer Supreme
Studio: Marvel Enterprises
Release Date(s): August 14, 2007
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Dr. Stephen Strange, haunted by his failure to save his own sister, finds himself headed down a path of self destruction. When a car wreck takes away the use of his highly skilled hands, Strange seeks out a cure for himself against everyone’s warning. Strange is led to a secret organization led by a man named the Ancient One and is about to learn how unlock the mystic powers he already possesses. Strange’s arrival puts him in conflict with the Ancient One’s other student Mordo and that conflict could allow the dreaded Dormammu to take over the Earth.
Marvel Comics’ animated adaptation of Dr. Strange was an attempt to bring a relatively minor Marvel character (in the big sense…most people on the street probably don’t know Dr. Strange) to the forefront and pave the way for a possible feature film.
Dr. Strange first premiered in Strange Tales #110 in 1963 but his origin was quite different from this movie. Yes he was a surgeon and yes he injured his hands, but his origin (which wasn’t revealed until Strange Tales #115) mostly involved Strange protecting the Ancient One from an assassination attempt by his student Baron Mordo. Strange’s story did make it to a live action film once in 1978 when Peter Hooten portrayed him in a made-for-TV movie called Dr. Strange that failed to spin off into its own series.
This story combines lots of aspects of Strange’s origin and makes Woo more of an equal in terms of training and association with the Ancient One. It also establishes an almost Buffy the Vampire style team of sorcerer’s defending the world from mystic invasions. The final battle with Dormammu seemed a bit tacked on and it would have been better served if it had been its own story.
The conflict between Strange and Mordo also felt a bit underdeveloped since it didn’t really start to set it up until the last third of the film. There needed to be a bit more creative storytelling or something to establish that the movie was really about this conflict (or at least should have been).
What happens in Dr. Strange’s animated adventure is that it feels like three stories. Dr. Strange’s rise to Sorcerer Supreme, Dr. Strange’s conflict with fellow disciple Baron Mordo, and Dr. Strange’s defending of Earth from Dormammu. These elements don’t entirely mesh together well and in the short hour and a half film a main story should have been selected.