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Marvel is well into WandaVision, and with the speculation that Doctor Stephen Strange may make an appearance before the series is over, I decided to revisit Doctor Strange. While I enjoyed the movie even more with this latest viewing, I couldn't help but pick up on a few problems with Doctor Strange that I didn't notice the first time around.
Just to be clear, all of these points are nitpicky, and while they do create some problems for the plot if you want to be a stickler, ultimately don't affect its quality on a massive level. Let's turn back the clock on this one, and remember while reading that, as the Ancient One says, not everything has to make sense.
Stephen's Doctor Brazenly Blowing Him Off
Stephen's medical consult is one of the most bizarre scenes in Doctor Strange, mainly because it doesn't go down in a way that's remotely accurate to real life. Stephen books a consult with a prominent surgeon overseas, hoping to get some type of work performed on his hands so that he can get his full functionality back. The doctor explains he can't do the surgery, but goes about doing it in the most unprofessional manner possible. He's brazenly rude about it, and even hangs up on Stephen as he's trying to speak. You have to think there was a better way he could've gone about it, and I'm not sure why the movie shot it this way.
The Circumstances Of The Car Accident
At the beginning of the movie, Stephen Strange is an asshole and cocky, but I can't necessarily categorize him as a risk-taker. He's unwilling to operate on patients he think will blemish his perfect record, which makes the fact he gets injured reviewing an x-ray while speeding down the highway in a sports car so weird. Beyond the obvious danger, one would think that someone so worried about whether or not they could do a successful surgery would take a little more care in reviewing a patient's records before agreeing to operate on them? Why not have him spill coffee, or just slip on the slick road? I should note that a car crash is in line with his actual comic book origin, although though I think his hands being injured could've been accomplished another way.
The Apple Eating Sequence
When Stephen acquires the Eye of Agamotto, he tests out the effects of the artifact by manipulating an apple he took a bite out of. When he fast-forwards time, the apple gets more bites taken out of it and begins to rot a little. The sequence, while cool, proceeds to make no sense because no one eats the apple following the scene. If Dr. Strange didn't continue to eat the apple, then why did it proceed forward in time like it was eaten? Wouldn't it make more sense that it would just rot with the one bite in it? The shot of the apple getting eaten is cool, but I've seen the opening of True Blood enough times to know watching something rot can be cool too.
The Rotunda Of Gateways
The Rotunda of Gateways is a magnificent piece of magic and allows visitors of the New York Sanctum Sanctorum to visit one of three different locations on Earth. As cool as it is, it would be a hell of a lot more useful if all the sorcerers weren't given a sling ring that allows them to open up portals to any location or even an entirely different dimension. It's kind of hard to justify anyone using one of the three doors when you have something like that. It's basically like still having a landline when everyone in the house has a smartphone. Is it there because it's useful, or because no one has really thought to get rid of it?
The Defibrillator Sequence
I've watched this scene a couple of times now, and I'm still not entirely sure how the defibrillator sequence worked. Stephen's spirit goes and tells Christine to shock him with the defibrillator, and then as she does that, he grabs his attacker. The shock kills the guy and impacts his normal body, but somehow Stephen is unaffected? Keep in mind, he was the guy in the worse physical shape between the two. He only just had his heart restarted, and Palmer has some real qualms with shocking him so soon after. Stephen literally hops off the medical table after this encounter, and yet the dude getting choked out by his cape died?
The Dark Dimension Time Loop
This is the biggest moment of Doctor Strange, but also the most confusing the moment you think about what went down. Stephen enters the Dark Dimension to "bargain" with Dormammu. The sequence plays out amazingly and I wouldn't change it for the world, but the whole premise of what Doctor Strange did doesn't make sense. Time doesn't exist in the Dark Dimension, so he shouldn't have been able to use the Time Stone to create a time loop. I guess if we're operating from the standpoint that the Stone literally created time within the Dark Dimension, it makes more sense, though I'd like to think the Stone more or less alters time and doesn't create it.
The Ancient One's Initial Refusal To Train Strange
This feels like a cheap shot to Doctor Strange, but given that the MCU is a complete body of work, I do have to bring out that it is a weird error that the Ancient One rejected training Stephen Strange immediately. This is thanks to Avengers: Endgame, where Hulk visits The Ancient One long before she meets Strange officially. Because time is relative, however, she knows who Strange is and decides to give Hulk the Time Stone because Doctor Strange "is the greatest" of them. I know Doctor Strange came years before this moment in real life, but considering how carefully crafted the MCU is, someone should've remembered that.
If you feel you need to revisit Doctor Strange, it's currently available to stream on Disney+, which you can sign up for with this link. For those looking forward to the sequel, be sure to check out the latest thoughts we have on WandaVision as the series leads into Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness.