ByJack Carr, writer at
You are the Princess Shireen of the House Baratheon, and you are my daughter.
Jack Carr

If you read this article before having watched Doctor Strange, you will encounter major spoilers, and you won't be able to rewind time because doing so has major consequences. Or... does it? Hmm...

is currently receiving rave reviews, and $85m taken at the US box office this weekend suggests the future Sorcerer Supreme is going to be handling the mystical side of the for a long time to come. As entertaining and visually sumptuous as the movie was, though, not every aspect of it made sense. Check out seven of the biggest plot holes and head-scratchers found in Doctor Strange.

1. Door Security, Anyone?

The Sanctums, as we're told in no uncertain terms, are Earth's primary source of defense from mystical attacks. That's great, but shouldn't they hire some security? Given how easily murdered the librarian at Kamar-taj in the opening sequence, you'd imagine that additional incantations as well as actual men on the ground would be put in place at each of the Sanctums to prevent further attacks.

She's wise. But also, like, totally chilled about security. (Marvel)
She's wise. But also, like, totally chilled about security. (Marvel)

But no. So New York falls. Whoever would've seen that coming?

2. Who's Watching The Eye of Agamotto?

So, Stephen Strange has discovered the Book of Cagliostro (which, by the way, was not being safeguarded in any way), using the Eye of Agamotto to read the pages stolen by Kaecilius and deduce the nature of the villain's plan. When he's caught in the act by Mordo and Wong, both are furious, but neither has the solid logic to think "Woah, hang on a sec — this man has an Infinity Stone around his neck! Let's safeguard that!"

Wong took his Eye off the ball. (Marvel)
Wong took his Eye off the ball. (Marvel)

The Doc gets to keep the amulet, which is fairly absurd considering their reaction in the library and Strange being a relative newcomer to sorcery. Throw in the fact that Wong is meant to smarter and more rational than Mordo, and all pretence of common sense basically falls apart here.

3. Mordo Goes Bad On A Dime

One of the problems with superhero movies nowadays is that every movie exists to set up the next. Everything must connect, so no story is standalone. That's exactly the reason Doctor Strange elects to undo 90 minutes of good work on Mordo's character by turning him bad in a total eye-roller of a post-credits scene — it provides Doctor Strange 2 with a villain. Great! But imagine if that villain was somebody who had an actual reason for being bad. Just imagine.

4. Hoarding Dark Magic

Look, Mordo's arc in this movie is dreadful, so it might be futile to look too deep into his motivations or his actions and expect to find much logic. So instead, here's a sciencey question — what does Mordo do with Pangborn's dark magic?

Classic bad guy sulkface. (Marvel)
Classic bad guy sulkface. (Marvel)

We know the former student of the Ancient One, once paralysed, regained the full of his body by sapping power from the Dark Dimension, home to Dormammu. Mordo, having appointed himself the judge of what's ethical and what isn't, decides to take back that power, instantly crippling Pangborn again ("for the greater good", no doubt). But where does the dark energy go?

Sure, can take it, but he can't destroy it. Does that mean it now lives inside him? If so, destroying Pangborn's life seems like a straight-up act of cruelty. He hasn't wiped out the existence of the dark magic, just rendered it useless to those who actually need it. Way to go, Mordo.

5. The Trouble With Time

The very reason Strange is told by Mordo not to meddle with time ("The bill always comes due!") is that it has consequences. That accounts for why Strange only screws with time inside the Dark Dimension (a space which exists without time — more on that in a moment) rather than using the Time Stone to go back and save the Ancient One.

Hermione did it first. (Marvel)
Hermione did it first. (Marvel)

All of that is undone, though, by Strange's use of the stone in Hong Kong to briefly rewind time, an act which has no consequences whatsoever beyond riling Mordo and triggering his descent into villainy. Seeing for himself that the world does not implode after meddling with time, why doesn't Strange go back a few hours further and save his mentor? Simply because the movie needed an emotional climax. Doctor Strange plays fast and loose with the laws of time, and the result doesn't stand up to close examination.

6. Wait, About That Time Loop...

A question for the physics majors out there: How does one create an infinite time loop in a space without time? The confrontation between Strange and Dormammu during the film's climax is entertaining, but unless I'm missing something, it doesn't really hold up. And it's not really an infinite time loop if Strange is able to end it at will.

7. What You Waiting For?

In my opinion, this is the single biggest plot hole in Doctor Strange.

Kaecilius: At home knitting. (Marvel)
Kaecilius: At home knitting. (Marvel)

The movie begins by showing us Kaecilius breaking in and taking his desired pages from the Book of Cagliostro, and then removing the librarian's head. In terms of the timeline, we know this happened several months prior to his attacks on the three Sanctums (it clearly took Strange several months, at the very least, to train at Kamar-taj) — so what the hell was he doing in that time?

The answer is that the script needed Kaecilius to hold off on his three-pronged assault of the Sanctums until the Ancient One's newest apprentice was fully trained, so that Strange could play the hero. But it doesn't give him a reason to wait (maybe he's at home enjoying an Avengers Blu-ray marathon?). That's quite simply bad writing which makes clear that story in Doctor Strange is secondary to visuals and the awe of seeing magic in the for the first time, which is a shame.

Can you explain or debunk any of the plot holes in this list, or is there something you noticed that I missed? Chime off in the comments below!


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