we're in the endgame now: thoughts on Stephen Strange

Sep 03, 2019 10:29

Disclaimer: I thought Doctor Strange the movie was kind of boring, and all these feelings came from his appearances in other movies (and especially Infinity War and Ragnarok) and then get applied retroactively to his solo movie.

Stuff that fascinates me about Stephen Strange and his corner of the MCU:

1. He's got that Weight of the World trope more than probably any other single character in the MCU, IMO. Tony Stark likes to make the entire world's problems his responsibility, but for Strange, against certain threats, the entire world (and occasionally the whole universe) is his responsibility. How do you even begin to handle that, psychologically? On one hand Strange has his experience as a surgeon with individual people’s lives in his hands, but I would like to think he's grown a lot as a person since his surgeon days, and also this is on a whole other scale of responsibility.

2. He's really isolated from his former life. It's not clear he had friends even when back then, but now even his old acquaintances won't be able to relate to the life he leads or the experiences he has. By the end of Dr Strange, he's back in New York, but even though he's in his old world, kind of, he's not of it anymore.

Despite the superficial similarities, I think being master of the NY sanctum is a really different kind of isolation from being a star surgeon. And one of the--weaknesses? neutral aspects?? of the solo movie is we don't really see him have or develop any intimate relationships. There's Wong, but that relationship is still pretty superficial by the end; there's Mordo, but that relationship is definitely over now; and there's Christine, which is a friendship I would like to see more of. (Fic about Stephen Strange Makes a Friend would be extremely rtmi.)

What makes it more interesting to me is that yearning for connection is probably going to feel pretty foreign to Strange, I'd think? He's always had pretensions of being too good for everyone, but now that he really is mostly alone, maybe he finds he doesn't like it but also doesn't even recognize that what he wants is people, occasionally.

3. So by the end of Doctor Strange, he's saved his own planet and maybe his entire plane of existence, but he still doesn't know that much about the day-to-day life of being master of the sanctum (and neither do I!). I really enjoy quiet, low-key fic that just has him finding his way around this new existence. I like the idea that being master of the sanctum is partly/largely about maintenance. Checking the borders of reality, patching up existential holes, smoothing out metaphysical tangles.
seinmit suggested the idea of the sanctum master being a rancher who spends most of his time mending magical fences, which I LOVE.

stephen strange the lone western rancher of magic -- on his own with his thoughts and his friendly wordless companion (the cloak) and constant pacing the length of a fence to keep creatures who barely care about his existence safe

4. TIMEY WIMEY SHENANIGANS. There are so many possibilities for weird metafictional stuff with Strange, and stuff playing around multiverses and canon divergence, and so much potential for really fucking weird cosmic horror. And I LOVE all of those things.

(How excited am I that supposedly Doctor Strange: Multiverse of Madness is going to be the “first scary MCU movie”? REALLY FUCKING EXCITED. Even though the title is lol.)

Also, one of the great things about the MCU (and spec fic generally) is how it puts characters into situations that have no real-life analogue. For Strange, he's got this grasp of time and events that no one else except other maybe some other sorcerers have (although of course they don't have the time stone). How does that affect him psychologically? Metaphysically? And I love fic that plays more with all those tropes and possibilities.

5. Look, Stephen Strange is easily the most attractive Benedict Cumberbatch has ever been. (This is not a high bar.) Is cheesy-hot a thing? Because the goatee and graying temples and high-collared cloak are all really working for him.

Crossposted from Dreamwidth. Comments welcome over there. (
DW replies)

fandom: mcu, entry: long thoughts

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