In the tradition of Marvel Comics being a machine to make money, “Dr. Strange,” the surgeon turned wizard, is the latest superhero to make it to the big screen. The character, a neurosurgeon named Dr. Steven Strange, is played by Benedict Cumberbatch with one part arrogance and one part vulnerability.

Some spoilers follow.

Dr. Strange finds his hands mangled after an auto accident caused by the remarkable arrogance of his looking at an image of a brain texted to him while he is driving down a winding, mountain road in the rain hell bent for leather in a sports car.

Medical science can do nothing to restore his surgical skills, so he decides in desperation to seek mystical help in a temple in Katmandu, Nepal.

Dr. Strange, as a neurosurgeon who regularly brings people back from the brink of death. Is an arrogant jerk. He managed to hold on to the humility that he acquires by being stripped of everything and having nothing to lose when he learns how to travel through alternate universes and manipulate time and space. Naturally, he manages to defeat the villains, who want to bring eternal life to Earth but at the cost of plunging it into the ultimate darkness.

Then he takes his place as the defender of Earth from occult evil.

The special effects are eye-popping, but the story of Strange’s journey from the self-absorbed person he was to the self-sacrificing hero that he ends up as keeps things moving along. Standout supporting performances grace the screen, including Tilda Swinton as the bald headed Ancient One, Rachel McAdams as Strange’s long-suffering girlfriend, Christine, an ER doctor, Benedict Wong as Wong, the librarian, and Chiwetel Ejiofor as Mordo, looking awfully like the Operative from Serenity.

Mads Mikkelsen, formally TV’s Hannibal Lector, is the big bad.

Naturally, the movie is the start of a franchise. It has not just one but two Easter eggs in the credits, so be sure to sit through it to the end. The movie is rated PG-13, but the fantasy violence is not too intense for anyone but the smallest and most sensitive of children.

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