Have you guys seen Doctor Strange yet?
The fam and I saw it yesterday, and it completely blew me away. I rarely see movies more than once in the theater, but I think this one deserves another viewing – maybe in 3D – just to comprehend the stuff I missed the first time. I’m not just saying that because I love Marvel movies.
The movie is an intricate and layered story dressed in cinematic effects that surpass The Matrix (which came out in 1999, to be fair). The role of Dr. Stephen Strange fits Benedict Cumberbatch like a glove. As I watched, being a storyteller, I looked for things I could glean that would enhance my own storytelling prowess. There were a number of possibilities – good vs. evil, secondary characters, even humor – but for this story, we need to talk about the character arc.
And since it’s new, I’ll do my best to complete this post with a minimum of spoilers.
For those just starting their writing journeys, a character arc is basically how the main character (or other characters) change from the beginning to the end of the story. All important characters have arcs – or they should, because stories without arcs aren’t satisfying. We want to see how characters change and grow (for better or worse).
The main character in Doctor Strange starts the story as an arrogant neurosurgeon. Some would say rightfully so, as he’s obviously brilliant and highly skilled. However, it is this arrogance that leads to his downfall – a horrible crash that is the direct result of him recklessly driving his fancy car. His surgeon hands are crushed and despite extensive operations, the nerve damage is so severe he suffers permanent shaking and an end to his career.
This is unacceptable, and it gives him a huge motive (something else an MC needs) – do whatever it takes to get his hands fixed, even if it means traveling to the far side of the world and exploring ideas he would have quickly dismissed before.
Fast forward a bit – he learns how to travel through dimensions with portals and how to fight by channeling energy from the multiverse, ultimately becoming – well, I said no spoilers (I don’t think I spilled any major ones so far), so you’ll have to watch the movie if you want to see what he becomes. Suffice it to say, he can’t possibly become it and stay the self-centered man he was.
Here’s the kicker (and this kind of is a spoiler) – his hands don’t get fixed. His primary goal isn’t met, but he becomes a better man in spite of it (or because of it?). And he gets a new, much more important goal.
If you haven’t seen the movie, what’s another story you’ve read/seen that shows a compelling arc? And if you have seen it – feel free to fangirl with me in the comments. Wasn’t the cloak awesome??