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Doctor Strange | 2016 | PG-13 | - 1.5.3

An arrogant, successful neurosurgeon (Benedict Cumberbatch) loses the use of his hands in an automobile accident. Becoming despondent, he stumbles onto the ways of a group of wizards and struggles with accepting a new role as a champion against dark forces in multiple universes. Also with Chiwetel Ejiofor, Rachel McAdams, Benedict Wong, Michael Stuhlbarg, Benjamin Bratt, Scott Adkins, Mads Mikkelsen and Tilda Swinton. Directed by Scott Derrickson. [1:55]

SEX/NUDITY 1 - A woman kisses a man on the cheek after they hold hands.
 A man asks a woman about another man, "You aren't sleeping together?" and she says no.
 An androgynous wizard speaks with a female voice and we see only the bald head and pale face; associates use the pronoun she.
 An elderly man sits on a step behind another man, while wearing a loincloth-like wrap, exposing partial chest and upper abdomen. A man is shirtless and we see his bare chest.


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VIOLENCE/GORE 5 - Four sorcerers make ropes of golden light and tie a man by the wrists and ankles to float in the air above a large metal pot; a man takes out two curved knives and the camera cuts to the shadow of the scene as the man with the knife cuts off the suspended man's head and the head falls into the pot with a ringing sound (no blood is seen).
 A man drives a car very fast on a rainy mountain road at night and while distracted hits another car on the side, runs into a wall, and plummets over a cliff; we hear loud crashing sounds and metal-folding as a windshield shatters while in slow motion, glass shards from the windshield move across the screen and cut his face (we see blood flow) and the car flips many times end-over-end along the long axis, stopping on its roof (the driver hangs upside down with a cut, bleeding face).
 In a surgery a woman places three large syringes filled with clear liquid on a table as a man sticks an instrument into the head of a patient, obscured by a sheet except for a partial red rim of scalp (we see some bloody gauze); a surgeon looks at an X-ray of a bullet in a patient's head, then rushes into an operating room where he argues with another surgeon, and drills the skull below the frame; we see him inset an instrument and remove the bullet and we see some bloody pieces of gauze.
 A man falls through a wavy energy-filled door onto a stone floor as an explosion breaks up the stone floor in fire and smoke and the man is transported to London where three criminals attack a wizard-guard, stabbing him three times without bloodshed (we hear that he survives) before another wizard shouts and jumps over a balcony at the attackers; the other wizard fights all three criminals with kicks and punches, leaving one unconscious in the hallway and encasing another one in a metal full-body straight jacket that makes the prisoner kneel; a criminal walks on walls and ceilings and a fire-whip shoots out without harm, a floating cape captures a criminal and covers his head before slamming him to the stone floor and it seems to beat the groaning man as he thrashes about (we see the man dead later with open eyes). Three thieves rob a man for his watch and a sorcerer beats all three thieves, knocking them to the ground and stomping on the last thief's chest.
 A man is stabbed by a spear that sails into the frame; the man falls to the floor, dripping blood and crawls, finally stepping through a fiery circle to a hospital where a woman helps him to the operating room and we see a bloody wound on his chest; unconscious, the man's spirit leaves his body in a cloud of glass-like shards, startling the woman and the spirit reaches into the body's chest as the woman injects a clear liquid from a very large syringe and we see the needle enter the chest; the woman sews up the wound and we see red tissue being sewn with black thread.
 A sorcerer confronts evil sorcerers, who walk through a door that shimmers in waves as they pass through and into a city; buildings fold and twirl and a faceted mirror wall appears as a barrier, the evil sorcerers conjure ropes of fire and the other sorcerer conjures fiery fighting fans and circular weapons of fire in each hand; after a brief confrontation of waving weapons, the criminals flee through a fiery portal to another dimension.
 Two wizards fight three criminals inside a mirror wall that is to be a barricade, but which does not work; buildings tilt and whirl, then fold up and inside out as the fighters jump between folding platforms and buildings, down chutes, and around structures; a wizard and a criminal argue as folding stone structures circle the floor and the two people on the floor struggle with fiery shields and a staff, until one of them is stabbed (no blood shows) and falls off the floor, through a glass roof, and then slams hard into a sidewalk; we later see the dead body on a hospital table with eyes open and an oxygen tube in the throat (the face is cut and bloody). Two spirits fight with punches and throws and the man connected to one of the spirits flat-lines; a woman uses defibrillator paddles on the man twice, causing power to shoot through the spirit of the man and into the other spirit, killing him. A sorcerer visits a man, who swings a crowbar, but misses; the sorcerer reaches into the man's abdomen, and pulls out wispy golden smoke (a magic healing power) causing the man to fall and his hands and arms curl in paralysis as the sorcerer says that there are too many sorcerers on Earth. Three criminals try to destroy a city, folding skyscrapers and twisting them with magic as three other wizards confront the criminals; all of the fighters conjure and swing fiery and shadowy swords and circular knives while they kick one another.
 A wizard flies into the sky with a glowing gemstone and lands on a cratered planet where he confronts a giant monster with glowing purplish eyes, bellowing in a deep voice, "You've come to die! You will spend eternity dying!"; the monster knocks down the wizard, punches a planet, causes fire to cover the wizard, or causes tall stones to impale him, but the wizard rewinds time a dozen times and keeps coming back until the monster leaves and the criminals turn into charcoal, begin to disintegrate and float up to the monster.
 A sorcerer takes a man to meet a wizard who demonstrates magic powers and tells him that his arrogance and fear will not help him in life; the wizard hits the man's chest with the heel of one palm, sending his spirit out of his body and into clouds, outer space, into wormholes, and around planets as he screams and flies back into the present into a wooden chair before shooting back into outer space, and more wormholes, screaming; hands grow out of his fingers and hands grow out of the hands, multiplying to cover his body as he screams and slams back into the chair, knocking it over. A man undergoing physical therapy grimaces and grunts loudly as he tries to make his fingers move; at home, he cannot hold a safety razor and at his desk he angrily swipes his laptop to the floor, shouting.
 A wizard uses time magic to reconstruct a city with people lying on sidewalks flying back into cars that speed backwards, water flowing back into a large tank, and buildings reconstructing themselves. A wizard waves her hands and conjures a bar of energy as glowing fire, circular shields, circular weapons, and a complex shape of a square and circles. Students in a courtyard practice conjuring circles of fires. Two men practice kung fu with glowing staffs in a courtyard; one man is seen being choked and slammed to the ground. An elderly man with one hand conjures circular fire wheels. A wizard takes a man through a fiery portal and leaves him on a windy, snowy Mt. Everest, telling him he has 30 minutes to live unless he can conjure a portal; he finally does so after many tries and falls to the ground, covered in frost. A man says that he will kill anyone who tries to steal a book, but three small circles of fire appear behind him and hands reach through to take books. A man's spirit sits at the foot of his bed at night, studying books as his body sleeps. A wizard waves an arm and creates a faceted mirror wall barrier to enclose a man for safety so he can practice conjuring; she conjures many levels of moving ceilings and floors, which startles the man.
 A man causes a gemstone to glow and make circles of green light in geometric patterns around his arm; waving this arm, he can control time, making an apple look eaten to a brown core, and then reconstructed as whole, he makes a glass column appear and two men enter shouting at him as they point to a globe and we see three large fiery shields emanate from major cities that stretch across the Earth.
 A criminal conjures curved red lines in the air and three apprentices conjure similar lines; all of their eyes become sunken, red, and surrounded by gray ashes as the cathedral around them folds inside out and stained glass windows fly apart to make patterns.
 A man argues with his girlfriend and she leaves. We hear that a paraplegic man was suddenly healed. As three wizards celebrate a victory one of the trio says they broke the laws of nature, so he must leave the group; he walks away. A man argues loudly several times with two wizards. A criminal says, "Time is an insult. Death is an insult." A wizard says, "Death is what gives life meaning."
 A man on a hospital gurney has blood on his face, chest and both hands; he wakes up in a room with bandages on his forearms and sets of metal pins, 21 total, sticking down into all his fingers (his face is black and blue, with cuts and a swollen eye and lip) and the camera cuts to several days in the future, where his scarred hands shake uncontrollably and they shake throughout the rest of the film. A man in an operating room removes metal pins from a man's hands and we see some bloody gauze.


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LANGUAGE 3 - 1 scatological term, 3 anatomical terms, name-calling (hypocrite, coward, murderer, butcher shop, junk idiot), exclamations, 2 religious exclamations (Oh My God).


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SUBSTANCE USE - A man asks what is in his tea, implying it was drugged (it was not) and he suggests LSD and psilocybin (this is denied by his host), and incense smokes in three large pots in a temple and in a small burner in three library scenes. A man sips from a huge mug of beer and when the camera cuts away and back again we see the mug is empty but refilling itself.


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DISCUSSION TOPICS - Moral choices, breaking rules for the greater good, situational ethics, belief, wizards, supernatural powers, multidimensional travel, gender presentation, arrogance, uncontrolled ego, fear, humility, injury, acceptance, starting over, helping others, determination, responsibility, courage, sacrifice, relationships, friendship, respect, loyalty.

MESSAGE - The loss of conventional superior skills can be replaced by something greater that also gives life a purpose.

CAVEATS

Be aware that while we do our best to avoid spoilers it is impossible to disguise all details and some may reveal crucial plot elements.

We've gone through several editorial changes since we started covering films in 1992 and older reviews are not as complete & accurate as recent ones; we plan to revisit and correct older reviews as resources and time permits.

Our ratings and reviews are based on the theatrically-released versions of films; on video there are often Unrated, Special, Director's Cut or Extended versions, (usually accurately labelled but sometimes mislabeled) released that contain additional content, which we did not review.


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