Villains in a character’s first movie are often at a disadvantage, as a lot of time needs to be dedicated to establishing the character’s personality, flaws and ambition. With a surprisingly overstuffed cast, Kaecilius suffers from this problem more than most.
For all of the stunning visual effects, many feel Doctor Strange is one of the most straightforward MCU films. Certainly, it’s fairly light on subplot compared to the rest of them, but with dimension shifts and the mystical angle, there’s still a lot going on.
Kaecilius is pushed aside after popping up near the start of the movie as we see Strange’s success as a surgeon and his debilitating accident. With setting up a love story, Strange’s bitter personality and then his quest to repair himself, Kaecilius is just a lurking presence.
He plays a much larger role in the movie’s second half, but is usually overlooked in fans’ memories for Dormammu. However, Kaecilius motivations are much more clear cut and relatable, with Mads Mikkelsen excelling in the role. He’s one of the more tragic villains out there; a good man corrupted by his grief. With a more singular focus on him, he’d a contender to Killmonger’s position in the fandom.