Doctor Strange was released in the fall of 2016, which seems like eons ago in Marvel years considering there's so much content to consume via its Cinematic Universe lately. Audiences have gotten to watch Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2, Spider-man: Homecoming, Thor: Ragnorok, and the record-breaking Black Panther since they were introduced to Benedict Cumberbatch's neurosurgeon-turned-sorcerer-supreme. So, what are Dr. Strange's powers anyway? You might need to brush up on your superheroes before Avengers: Infinity War hits theaters.
While Doctor Strange's comic book contemporaries have years of screen time under their snazzy belts (the first Iron Man debuted ten years ago!) and viewers who aren't completely versed in Marvel's history have a good idea of what they're all about, Cumberbatch's character is relatively new to the movie world. You might be racking your brain to remember his origin story or wondering how he'll fit into the whole Avengers vs. Thanos narrative that the upcoming movie is set to tackle. What do you need to know about the mysterious Doctor Strange? Here are a few things to keep in mind.
He Was Actually a Doctor
Yes, Stephen Strange was originally an arrogant neurosurgeon living a life of wealth, acclaim, and prickly condescension in New York City. One night he was involved in a devastating car accident, which took one of the most important assets essential to his livelihood — the ability to use his hands to operate. After unsuccessfully trying to restore their former glory through experimental surgeries, his desperation leads him to the mysterious Kamar-Ta with the help of miraculously cured paraplegic named Jonathan Pangborn (Benjamin Bratt). He is then taken under the wing of sorcerer Karl Mordo (Chiwetol Ejiofor), a Master of the Mystic Arts under The Ancient One (Tilda Swinton). Strange ends up training with them, channeling the world-saving mystic powers that give him now-superhero status.
But, what can he do exactly?
Allow Marvel President Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige to explain. He revealed to EW back in 2015:
He does cast spells, which in the comics have very sort of tongue-twisty fun names. We don’t want to shy away from that, because that’s what makes Doctor Strange Doctor Strange. He has a Cloak of Levitation that allows him to fly, but he doesn’t fly like Superman or like Thor. It’s almost got a consciousness of its own, this cloak, which, again, gives us a superhero with a red cape — which we’ve seen a few times — but allows us to do it in a wholly unique and wholly original way. He can create these mandalas of light that he can use as shields and he can use as sort of weapons. He can create portalas that will open before your eyes that he can step through and go to other places around the world.
In the 2016 film, Strange uses his powers to defeat evil in the form of magical bad guy Kaecilius, who attacks Sanctums (basically buildings that provide a safeguard from the threats of other dimensions) in three major cities. Phew. Still with me?
His Fate in Avengers: Infinity War Is...
...up in the air. The trailer gives fans a glimpse of the character being tortured, which doesn't look great? "I think with a lot of these films there's less character evolution than there is plot evolution," Benedict teased of Strange's trajectory in the upcoming ensemble. "I think there's lots of stuff that he's involved with that you don't necessarily learn more about who he is than you did in the origin film." He'll also apparently play the "adult in the room," as opposed to his "petulant" past. "He's in the room with Iron Man and he's trying to pull him together and focus him on this pretty sobering threat that's imminent..." Cumberbatch added of his role to come and how he'll play into the Avenger dynamic.
Avengers: Infinity is all about the villainous Thanos' quest to obtain all six Infinity Stones, and Doctor Strange introduced the time-bending Time Stone, which is contained in the Eye of Agamotto. Hmm. Wonder how that situation will all play out.
Avengers: Infinity War premieres on April 27, 2018.