When I was seven, my parents would always buy me those small magician kits that included two red fluffy balls and a black stick with the white end. As a young immigrant to the U.S. from the Dominican Republic, magic made me feel powerful. And when I discovered that comic books had a magician character, I fell in love.
Although I liked Spider-Man as much as any other kid, Doctor Strange was the superhero who made me stay and explore the Marvel Universe to its core.
The Kid Magician And The Sorcerer Supreme
When I first saw a rabbit taken out of a hat, I almost cried. (Really.) The complete mysteriousness and impossibility of such feat took me to a world of excitement.
I was living in a state and a country that didn't feel like home yet, but the transition was a happy one; I can attribute that to my love for comic books. It wasn't until I moved to the U.S. that I really started to become a comic geek, reading Doctor Strange's adventures in my school library. Like me, Doctor Strange was different. Like me, Doctor Strange loved magic. And, like me, Doctor Strange was just strange.
A Cerebral Kind Of Superhero
Very few Marvel fans, at least before 2016, would've called Doctor Strange their favorite hero. He was always viewed as cool, but perhaps opaque or inaccessible to a general readership. There's something more to the Sorcerer Supreme that makes him my favorite, though. And that is the simple fact that he is different.
While other superheroes can fly, turn to fire or exhibit incredible strength, Doctor Strange is able to carry the perfect punch without actually throwing a single punch. He dresses differently than any other superhero; even his hairdo was different.
I myself was different when I moved to the United States, so it was easy to relate to an outsider superhero. Whenever Strange cast one of his spells, I would remember the phrase and repeat it over and over again. Imagine the face my parents made when I told them I wanted Doctor Strange's white side-hair!
I Loved Doctor Strange — But Then I Started Growing Up
During middle school and high school I started to read fewer comic books, and I started watching more movies. Doctor Strange, a character that was crucial in my childhood, unfortunately started to fade away. By the time I started high school in 2010, Doctor Strange had vanished from my mind. He always had a place in my heart, but comics began to seem like kid stuff.
And then Marvel created the MCU.
When I saw Guardians of the Galaxy, James Gunn's cosmic adventure brought back so many memories. I started reading comics again, to my own surprise, and became just obsessed with the Marvel Universe.
When I was a child, I didn't totally understand the elaborate concepts that filled Doctor Strange's stories, but now I could. Through him I discovered characters like Eternity, Uatu the Watcher, Galactus and Dormammu; I learned about obscure dimensions and the different planes of existence in the Marvel Universe, about alternate timelines and different worlds. He was my guide.
Doctor Strange And The MCU
I enjoyed the MCU films from Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk through Guardians of the Galaxy, but I started to think — almost constantly — what about Doctor Strange?
I followed the MCU like a maniac; my anticipation grew even stronger when I watched Captain America: The Winter Soldier and caught a magnificent easter egg: Doctor Strange was name-dropped in the movie! I totally lost it.
So, imagine my face when I found out a Doctor Strange movie was in the works. I felt like I did the first time I saw a rabbit come out of a hat! But it was nothing compared to the incredible opportunity I was given by my friends at Movie Pilot.
Watching 'Doctor Strange' For The First Time
Early in October, I was contacted by Movie Pilot's community manager, the great Andrew Marco, who asked whether I would be interested in attending the Doctor Strange premiere and press conference. You already know my reaction as soon as I heard this. I can't put into words the excitement and thrill that rushed into me; I felt blessed.
On October 19th I flew to Los Angeles and met the Movie Pilot staff, who from now on I'm referring as "the coolest people in the world." We arrived at Walt Disney Studios and I won't deny that I had the biggest smile on my face. (Walking the Disney backlot was mesmerizing, because it was here that many of cinema's greatest films were produced.)
With popcorn in hand, 3D glasses on my face, and the best feeling in my heart, the movie was about to start.
To say that Doctor Strange was great is not enough. To say that it's the best MCU movie doesn't even come close; Doctor Strange is one of the best superhero movies ever made. Visually, it's a moving Picasso painting. The cast is fantastic and Benedict Cumberbatch was definitely born to be the Sorcerer Supreme.
The aura that was in that theater was uniquely beautiful; I knew that I wasn't the only one feeling like a billion bucks of joy.
Face-To-Face With Doctor Strange
The day after the screening, early in the morning, it was time for the press conference. To think that I would be in the same room with Benedict Cumberbatch, the amazing actor portraying my favorite superhero!
I sat just a couple of rows from the stage, but we were so close; I even felt like Benedict and I gave each other a Western stare-down. Here I was, face-to-face with the Sorcerer Supreme. It was something that, until now, I've only experienced in dreams, and yeah, it was true magic.
Since I was a kid, I loved Doctor Strange because I also loved magic — and because, like me, he was different. When the MCU came at us full-throttle, he was the one who kept me looking forward, theorizing about and hoping for his appearance, and the wait was so worth it.
Doctor Strange opens in theaters on November 4th.