Timeline-wise, this is an interesting chapter. It is said by some of the writers, themselves, that this essentially takes place after the events of 'Civil War'. However, Stephen Strange is mentioned as someone with abilities in 'Winter Soldier', which suggests he already exists. However, I have my own theory.
I place this as a long-scale movie, beginning at some point before 'Winter Soldier', as in the movie he mentions "study and practice, years of it", and we're lead to believe he's studying his new abilities for a gracious period of time. By the time he's got it down, and becomes Doctor Strange, there's no reason to believe the second half of this movie could be a few years later.
The other theory, of course, is that I'm just way off, and they tinkered with continuity a bit more than I suspect here. I just think it fits better when you pay attention to the idea that he could have been studying for more than just a little while. It makes sense too, considering he's a full-tilt rookie in the beginning. But on with the review, shall we?
Dr. Steven Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) is a brilliant neurosurgeon who, one day, gets into a horrible car accident. A lot of his body gets wrecked, but most importantly, his hands become pretty much useless.
After a long stay, trying everything he knows about western medicine, he approaches a young man who claims to have been healed by a place in Kathmandu, Nepal. Desperate to get his hands working again and continue his life as a great surgeon, Strange travels to Kathmandu in search of aid.
There, he meets The Ancient One (Tilda Swinton) who is able to open Strange's mind to the ideas of real magic, claiming that he won't need his hands. After getting his first solid taste of this idea, he decides to stay and learn everything he can. Even to the point of going beyond what he may be ready to know.
Meanwhile, a powerful sorcerer by the name of Kaecilius is on a mission, along with his men, to bring the Dark Dimension to Earth, and unleash Dormammu on the world, claiming that time will be irrelevant and that all can live forever if this happens. Long story short, it sounds better than it really would be.
The film itself was very entertaining for me! Bearing in mind, however, that films with trippy imagery are something I'm a bit of a sucker for. For example 'Inception' is an all-time favourite... but the effects in this make 'Inception' look like a game of 'Snakes & Ladders'. It gets pretty freakin' psychedelic! I love that Marvel studios don't pull any punches with their sci-fi and supernatural imagery. Why keep it in the real world when you have a whole big, amazing universe to build from and the technology to do it with?
'Doctor Strange' opens this whole idea up just about as much as 'Guardians of the Galaxy' did, but in more of a fantasy/spiritual way than a science fiction way, thus branching ideas out, and expanding this wonderful universe full of 31 flavours of awesome!
MID-CREDIT SCENE: Doctor Strange speaks to Thor about his job of interdimensional protection. Thor, bringing Loki to Earth realm, is in search of their father, Odin. Strange decides to assist in the matter, as once Odin is found, it's promised that Thor would return Loki back to Asgard promptly.
POST-CREDIT SCENE: Mordo confronts Pangborn, the man who gave Strange the idea of repairing his hands, and steals the mystical energy that he uses to walk, declaring that Earth has "too many sorcerers".