DOCTOR STRANGE (2007):
“This is not about your hands. It has never been.”
Doctor Stephen Strange is a world famous neurosurgeon. But, he’s selfish and only takes high profile jobs. One night, he sees a little girl who has nightmares. He tells her to see a psychologist and stop wasting his time. But suddenly, he sees a burning face in a vision. He flips his car after seeing the vision again. So, begins his journey to find a cure for his injured hands.
After visiting every advanced doctor he can think of, he gets a mysterious map for a stranger (Wong) who says his master in Tibet can cure him. Dr. Strange thinks he’s out of options, so he goes to Tibet to be instructed by the Ancient One in the power of magic. They give him tasks like lifting heavy rocks and fighting with “invisible” swords. Soon, Strange learns that by believing the rocks to be light, they are light, by believing his sword to be real it is, and that by believing his hands to be better they are. Magic is the energy of perception. So, he has to forget traditional medical models of the body, and focus on mind.
This is important for disability theory because if we believe we’re weak and injured we will be, as a community. However, our strength is re-working disability as a strength by perception. By changing what we believe we empower certain realities. Dr. Strange learns his True power only after he changes what he thinks. His assistant Wong tells him it was never about his hands.
Meanwhile, the Ancient One’s battle wizard Mordo thinks his master is too weak, and is not dealing with the demons invading Earth quick enough. Dr. Strange learns from the Ancient One that Dormammu, an evil demon, enters Earth through people’s dreams, and soon he and his armies will invade Earth.
No sooner is this prophesied, then Dormammu returns, as a giant body of flame, like in his vision. Soon, zombies, demon, natural disasters and plagues fill the world. Mordo kills the Ancient One, and joins Dormammu. Swords and magic fly, and Dr. Strange becomes the new Sorcerer Supreme. He also receives the Eye of Agamotto which sees all dimensions. He’s then ready to battle Dormammu’s monster minions.
Dr. Strange learns that Dormammu believes he’s made of pure magic, and has the power of a god. He uses this arrogance to get him to show him all his power so he can absorb it, which imprisons Dormammu in the Eye of Agamotto. The doors of Dormammu’s realm are closed. In the end, Dr. Strange accepts his new position, and learns that there are more sorcerers to train.
The action here is rife with metaphors for disability theory and discovering the power of inner experience vs. lust for power. The visuals are amazing, and remind me of Ghostbusters, especially in the inner city fights. Sometimes, it’s hard to tell what’s going on in the wizard battles because of all the flashiness. But, if you are looking for a good story for disability and inner power with the world of Mighty Marvel, this is the granddaddy of them all. And, I can finally say who my favorite (singular) superhero is: I LOVE DR. STRANGE.