This straight to video film from Animated Marvel Features is one hell of a ride. It brings to life the comic book hero and updates the look to get a whole new generation hooked on the good doctor. It really does a good job of showing just how Doctor Steven Strange becomes the Sorcerer Supreme at a time when the world needs one most. The plot has been tweaked and streamlined from the comics and done is a way that gives it more drama and flair then what just plain pictures in a comic can give. You are able to see and feel the struggles and challenges that he must face to finally be free of his pain. While it might not follow the comic cell by cell it does it honor in the way that it was put together for this animated film.
Stephen Strange (Bryce Johnson) is a doctor of neurosurgery and one that only takes the tough cases. He never does charity work and is always pushing himself to be the very best. He refuses to fail and with good reason. He blames himself for the death of his only sister and since then has refused to fail at anything that he does. This drive and self guilt has turned him into a real bastard that just about everyone can’t stand to be around. Some do try to get through to him while others have just learned to work around his personality. And the reason for his guilt? While he was trying to help his sister April Strange (Tara Strong) she died on the operating table while under his knife. It is a memory that he has not been able to forget and it drives him to be a real ass when dealing with others.
An old flame of his Dr. Gina Atwater (Susan Spano) who cares for coma patients calls him in for a consultation about a patient. Since it is not something that is going to get him money or fame he just passes it off till the administrator, Oliver (Fred Tatasciore), of the hospital comes in and basically forces him to go see what she wants. While examining the patient he sees a vision of the nightmares that she had been having before she fell into a coma. This one sight of what she saw scares Strange and he finds just about any excuse that he can to get out of there and get home. Earlier in the day he had another vision as well of people fighting monsters in the streets and with this new development he is quite shaken.
on the way home he thinks that he sees all the children from the coma ward as well as the fiery face from the girl’s nightmares and his own vision as he exits a tunnel. While trying to avoid the face from behind and the perceived children in front of him he winds up running off the side of the road and over a cliff. While his life was saved his hands were crushed in the accident. Since he feels that it is only his hands that have made him what and who he is he falls immediately into despair and starts spending all his money to find a cure. The cure is never going to be what he thinks it will be as his bones in his hands were completely shattered. You get to see this in one of the pictures of his x-ray showing his bones looking more like gravel and puzzle pieces then like the normal bones of fingers.
Totally lost and all alone with nothing left but his name he tries to take his own life only to be stopped by Wong (Paul Nakauchi), one of the people he saw fighting monsters in the city so long ago. Wong tells him that he can find a cure in Tibet and gives him a map to show him the way. With nothing else to loose he barrows the money from Gina and starts the long road to what will eventually be his recovery. We see him struggle with the elements as he tries to find the hidden community that he thinks will be able to fully cure him. We see him scale mountains with his bare hand and the force of will that it takes for him to finally reach the doors of the cure that he seeks. Only problem is that it is not the cure he thinks it is going to be.
Eventually Stephen finds out that the vision he saw while touching the child was actually that of Dormammu (Jonathan Adams), an evil entity that was locked away in another dimension by the Ancient One (Michael Yama) who is the Sorcerer Supreme. The old man is dieing and knows that he is not long for this world and is having his successor trained by Wong and Mordo (Kevin Michael Richardson), a head strong warrior who wants to be the next Sorcerer Supreme. He has no concept of mercy, only that the ends will always justify the means no matter who might get hurt. Only a true healer and one that does not want the job will ever make an excellent Sorcerer Supreme and the Ancient One tells Mordo as much. From there you are just going to have to go and see the film yourself and it is worth seeing.
If you love Doctor Strange and want to truly see it almost live then you are going to love this film. If you are still stuck back in the past with your nose in a fading comic book then I doubt this is going to be for you. To anyone willing to watch this and realize that comics and their story lines are always changing then you will be able to really appreciate what has been presented here for us by Marvel. They are always updating things and this comic needed one to bring it into the 21st Century. With the way they did this one it is going to open up a whole new world for them to explore. Maybe we might even get a live action one sometime soon though after seeing this one you are going to be seeing it live in your head any time that you think about it.
I give this film a Musing review of