The Magic And Spectacle Of Marvel’s ‘Doctor Strange’ And J.K. Rowling’s ‘Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them’ 

How do movie studios evolve from one successful project to another? You cast a new spell. This is the case in both Marvel and Disney’s superhero property “Doctor Strange,” as well as J.K. Rowling’s next “Harry Potter” installment entitled “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.” 

The Doctor is in, and the magical zoologist – Newt Scamander – score big with their adaptations, and neither of these heroes rely on prestidigitation. Both of these extraordinary heroes use magic to thwart their enemies, but it is great storytelling and superb character development that give these films excellent entertainment value, and a Grade A-. 

“Dr. Strange” Has A Really Good Prognosis, While “Fantastic Beasts” Delivers Sentimentality And Friendship

With the established “Avenger” film series and multiple movies completed and in the works, “Doctor Strange” is able to deliver a unique story from its high flying cohorts. Benedict Cumberbatch portrays Dr. Stephen Strange with complexity and arrogance that makes the story rooted in reality. 

Cumberbatch’s Dr. Strange is a successful surgeon who is always proving himself to be good at everything and never failing at anything. But a near fatal car accident causes Dr. Strange to loose the ability of his money makers, his hands. Strange quickly descends into depression over losing the ability to use his hands; he is transformed from a rich successful surgeon, into a desperate man selling his valuables and bending his morality in order to regain the use of his hands. This is the beginning of a strange journey for the doctor: from Western medicine to that of metaphysical and magical realism healings.

While Strange eventually defends the Earth from cosmic and magical threats, Scamander of “Fantastic Beasts” tries to protect magical creatures from its biggest threat, humans. Scamander played by Oscar winner Eddie Redmayne brings to life the character in 1920s New York, along with his new friends Queenie, Kowalski, and Agent Porpentina. 

Scamander’s arrival could not come at a worst time; he wants to rescue and study the magical creatures so that the magical community can learn more about them. Meanwhile, in New York City, there is an impending war between witches and wizards against the humans. To complicate matters more, Gellert Grindelwald is a renegade wizard who is refusing to hide from humans. Grindelwald is tired of hiding in the shadows, but President Seraphina Picquery does not want magical exposure of any kind. 

Scamander along with his new friends are pulled into the war that they do not wish to be a part of. Kowalski, the “no mag”/ non-wizard, and the rest of the gang, like Scamander, take on this charge with responsibility. 

Magic Is Part Of Both “Dr. Strange” And “Fantastic Beasts,” But It Is More About The Age Old Question: What Is My Purpose In Life? 

Dr. Strange’s overachieving attitude makes him become a powerful “sorcerer,” but there is not much else. The Ancient One, played excellently by Oscar winner Tilda Swinton, enlightens him by suggesting that all of what he is there to learn – and regain the use of his hands, is not all about him. The Ancient One and others are there to give themselves, so that they can protect the magical sanctums of Earth from cosmic threats. Strange’s morality of refusing to do whatever it takes to protect the Earth makes him question everything. This leaves the Ancient One and others frustrated and impatient. 

Strange does eventually give up himself to the greater good. This makes him the “Sorcerer Supreme”; Scamander on the other hand relies on his new friends to fight evil, a living “obsurial” and wizards like Grindelwald, rather than always turning to his magical animals for support. Scamander believes his purpose is to protect the animals that he travels across the world to find, but soon he discovers that he can also help people too even though they might know that they want it or need it. 

A strange and difficult journey for the doctor, that is from surgeon to that of a magical protector. In this “Harry Potter” prologue story that is “Fantastic Beasts” is similar to the “Boy who lived,” in that people like Scamander will always need help from good friends who are not afraid to make difficult decisions.