What’s really interesting about Strange’s character arc in the Doctor Strange movie is how quickly his mystic abilities improved as a sorcerer in such a quick time. Some even criticized that it didn’t seem as if he had been training long enough to really be able to accomplish all that he did in the movie, especially defeating a super scary bad guy like Dormammu.
Looking back at things, however, the answer was really in plain sight all along, although it was never really clarified verbally. Remember Strange’s battle with Dormammu in the Dark Dimension?
In Doctor Strange, the hero was able to create an infinite time loop within the Dark Dimension using the Time Stone. This loop in time trapped not only Dormammu, but Strange as well inside until one with control over the ancient relic broke the cycle. It was here that Stephen found himself dying over and over again at the hands of Dormammu until the evil being couldn’t take it any longer realizing that there was no winning as long as Strange was motivated to keep the game going.
Although in the real world time seemed to pass by like brief moments, who knows exactly how long Doctor Strange was in the Dark Dimension living and dying over and over again? One of the writers for the film by the name of C. Robert Cargill said that they chose to leave this “intentionally vague.”
We left it intentionally vague with room to address it later – but it wasn't just a few minutes, I'll tell you that. He was there long enough to gain even more mastery over his powers. https://t.co/JMTkuGbYAu
— C. Robert Cargill (@Massawyrm) April 10, 2018
So for all we know Strange could have been fighting and honing his abilities, trying new techniques, and becoming much more adept in the mystic arts for days, weeks, months, or even years until Dormammu broke under the pressure. This dimensional loophole served as a “hyperbolic time chamber” if you will for the DBZ fans out there, allowing Strange to grow exponentially in the blink of an eye in the real world.
This really helped to put Doctor Strange at a proper and competitive skill level for the threats currently on their way in Avengers: Infinity War. Be sure to see how it all pans out on April, 27th when Doctor Strange hits the screen yet again with the rest of the MCU in full force.