*Warning: This post contains spoilers for Doctor Strange, nestled neatly under a visually appealing animated gif.*
Fitting with the titular, magic-wielding hero, the climax to Doctor Strange was, well, strange. The unexpected final battle saw Benedict Cumberbatch's cape wearing sorcerer enter the Dark Dimension, coming face to CGI face with main villain, Dormammu.
While encountering the metaphysical and all-powerful being, Stephen Strange opts for a tactic of the repetitive variety, creating a time-loop in the previously timeless dimension and forcing #Dormammu to defeat him, over and over again. The Groundhog Day option works, forcing his foe into submission through pure persistence.
As quirky and humorously unique as the sequence is, there may be more lurking behind the surface, adding context to Strange's development. Reddit user bhamv has come up with a theory that, as well as serving as a device that illustrates Strange's ingenuity, quick thinking and determination, that battle may've been the process that turned #DoctorStrange into a high-level sorcerer worthy of the title Sorcerer Supreme.
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Practice Makes Mystic
Dormammu is one of the most powerful villains in the #MCU, the ruler of the Dark Dimension and an entity who poses a serious threat to Earth. To defeat an opponent of such magnitude — one who had the upper hand and defeated Strange repeatedly — wouldn't have been easy. It may've taken thousands, millions or even billions of attempts.
While Strange was naturally skilled at working the mystic arts — the fact he created a time-loop so early on proves this — he was still far from the finished product prior to the final fight. In his battles before then, although he ends up victorious, it is generally down to a mixture of luck and support from others.
Although gifted with spells, his combat left a lot to be desired. During his training at the Kamar-Taj he was lagging behind the rest of his class on a practical level. He also struggled to defeat the glitter-eyed villain #Kaecilius (Mads Mikkelsen), having been out-skilled before receiving a helping hand from the Cloak of Levitation.
The Transition From Doctor To Sorcerer Supreme
During the final battle there are glimpses of Strange using different spells to defend himself, such as the shield spell to deflect Dormammu's energy blast. Now, if this loop did repeat itself millions of times, Strange may've taken the phrase "practice makes perfect" to the extreme.
The theory claims that, as well as frustrating Dormammu into submission, Doctor Strange used this opportunity to hone his craft by practicing magic against one of the most powerful opponents he could possibly face. By the end of the process, Strange would've had enough practice to raise him to a masterful level.
By the end of the film, Strange has become the Master of the New York Sanctum, and looks well on his way to reaching the level required to become Sorcerer Supreme, the protector of the Earth's realm.
It certainly makes perfect sense his warping of time and space had an influence in his rapid development, and goes some way to explaining how Stephen Strange transformed from beginner to expert during the runtime of the movie.
After all, his training may have lasted a number of years. We just didn't witness it.
Do you think Doctor Strange increased his skill during his repetitive battle with Dormammu?