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Biggest Plot Holes In Doctor Strange

Doctor Strange is undeniably fun from start to finish. By introducing the mystic arts, the multiverse, and a whole lot of Dormammu, the Benedict Cumberbatch-starring superhero sorcery story keeps Marvel Studios' streak alive into the latter half of 2016. But it's not perfect. Call us nitpickers, call us buzzkills, call us acolytes of the dark dimension, but we're about to dive into some of the less magical aspects of Doctor Strange's plot. While its story is actually really tight overall, there are still a few niggling plot holes and contrivances that can't simply be waved away with the Wand of Watoomb, no matter how hard you try.

Oh, and it should go without saying, but let's say the magic words anyway: massive spoilers ahead.

Insecurity system

The movie begins with Kaecilius, played by Mads Mikkelsen, breaking into the Ancient One's library to steal a couple of pages from one of her very favorite books. These books contain the most advanced knowledge and spells in the Ancient One's possession. They're pretty important! That must be why she keeps them loosely draped in chains that appear to be entirely decorative.

While it goes without saying that Kaecilius needs to steal the pages describing the ritual for the movie to, y'know, actually happen, it wouldn't have taken much more on the movie's part to make it a little harder for the bad guy to actually steal them. Of course, if that happened, then the books wouldn't be incredibly easy for our hero, Doctor Strange, to take a look at them when he needed to learn about the rituals later in the movie. Speaking of which...

Oh, hey, Kaecilius

Throughout the first half of the movie, we see Doctor Strange learning the ways of the mystic arts. He puts his spongy brain and natural magical aptitudes to good use as he absorbs just about every mystic ritual he encounters. And it just so happens that, on the night that he wanders into the magic library, when he reads from the book with the missing ritual pages stolen by Kaecilius, when he teaches himself how to use the all-powerful Eye of Agamotto that can manipulate time itself ... that's the very night — the very moment — when the villain decides to launch his attack on all three magical sanctums, including the library itself. Not only that, but it happens literally seconds after Doctor Strange says, in no uncertain terms, that he won't be dragged into some mystical war! Man, that's some bad timing, Doc. Next time, why don't you say "I've got a bad feeling about this," or maybe "what could possibly go wrong?" Those, too, must be powerful spells that magically compel the plot to move forward at the most dramatic moment.

Eye, oh my...

While we're on the subject of that scene in the library, Wong and Mordo both seem pretty unhappy about how Strange went and started messing with the Eye of Agamotto. The two yell and scream at him, telling him of all the terrible consequences that could come from monkeying with the timestream, and they put the book back where they find it, right before delivering all the necessary exposition to help us understand the presence of the three magic sanctums and their importance. Just one thing, though: why don't they take that big honkin' amulet off of him, too? Oh, it's so he can have it during the villain fight that's about to take place for the rest of the movie? Oh, okay. That's cool.

No time to explain

Again, when Mordo and Wong find Strange futzing with the Eye of Agamotto, they provide a vague list of consequences that the world might possibly face as a result, like time loops and alternate timelines or something equally unspecified. And, hey: we all saw Back to the Future Part II. Nobody wants Biff Tannen to take over the world and get down with our moms. That's gross. But aside from the time loops that were admittedly part of an extremely clever and satisfying climactic battle with Dormammu, we never actually learn anything concrete about the dangers of screwing with time. In fact, it kind of seems like there might be no actual consequences at all, since Doctor Strange used his super time necklace to save the day.

Those supposed consequences, however, are apparently so terrible and terrifying that they make Mordo leave Kamar-Taj and embark on his destiny of becoming the villain for the Doctor Strange sequel. That's fine and all — every villain needs a motivation, and Mordo seems pretty damn motivated in the post-credits sequence. That said, wouldn't it have been helpful for him to explain what was really so very bad about using the Eye to save the entire planet from being sucked into the Dark Dimension? We never really know, and it seems ... well, not really that bad, actually. Maybe this one will get discussed in Doctor Strange's next adventure.

Kung fu cloak

Remember that wacky magic carpet from Aladdin? The one that was so expressive and fun, despite not having a mouth or eyes or even a face? Well, the carpet's back — in cloak form. That's right, the Cloak of Levitation is the magical item that takes a liking to the good doctor and helps him in his battle against Kaecilius and his goons in the New York sanctum. It's a pretty handy little garment, dragging Strange around to important magic traps and beating up bad guys left and right. Except ... when it doesn't, like when Doctor Strange gets stabbed in the chest. And literally any other time after its initial introduction. The cloak seems to have a mind of its own and acts as an important ally for Strange on his heroic quest — but only when it's convenient. Otherwise, it's just, y'know, a cape. But a fancy-looking cape!

Two sanctums, or three?

We learn from Wong that there are three sanctums protecting the world from evil. Kaecilius and his minions take down the one in London, and destroy the one in Hong Kong. And that's when Dormammu's Dark dimension starts to come through. But the New York sanctum is still standing. So how many of these things does the world actually need?

The Pangborn identity

While Strange is recovering from his car accident early on in the movie, he's working at strengthening his hands with the help of a sassy physical therapist. The therapist shares a story of a guy he'd worked with once, Jonathan Pangborn, who managed to walk again, despite having become completely paralyzed in an industrial accident that smashed up his spine. When he confronts Pangborn at a game of pickup basketball, we learn that not only does he hold the key to Strange discovering the secrets of the mystic arts, but they're also connected in another way. Back when he was trying to get his back fixed, he actually met with Strange — who sent him away without helping him! Oh, man, what are the odds?

Follow-up appointment

Because Pangborn is played by Benjamin Bratt and because his encounter with Mordo is featured in the final post-credits scene, it seems pretty likely that Doctor Strange will have the opportunity to help heal him with his new magical abilities in the sequel. And let's not forget, that regardless of whatever plot holes or hiccups we may think we've found here, Doctor Strange was hugely fun. When it comes to an amazing introduction to the weird, magical side of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, one thing's for sure: the Doctor is in.