I know Captain America: Civil War is mere weeks away and (at time of writing) it has an insanely high critic score on Rotten Tomatoes, but in all honesty, I’m slightly fed up with everything Avengers related at the minute. Part of this is plain superhero fatigue, but I also think that the Marvel Cinematic Universe is in dire need of something new. That’s why I am really excited for Doctor Strange – the trailer for which came out last week.
So the trailer looks pretty awesome, which is encouraging because the Doctor Strange comic is going to be a tricky one to get right. Based on one of Marvel’s (arguably) lesser known titles, Benedict Cumberbatch plays the eponymous hero who starts off as a total berk. Stephen Strange is a genius surgeon who only cares about money and advancing his career. Things go tits up when he is involved in a car crash that crushes his hands, giving him the permanent shakes and effectively ending his career. Desperate to heal his doddery digits, Strange travels the globe in search for a cure. This leads him to Nepal where he crosses paths with ‘the Ancient One’, and unfathomably powerful being who (eventually) teaches Doctor Strange to become the world’s most powerful sorcerer.
This is all in the trailer, along with a brief glimpse of Chiwetel Ejiofor’s Baron Mordo – who, in the comics at least, is Strange’s main rival. We also see Rachael McAdams who presumably plays the Love Interest (because there has to be a Love Interest, it’s the law or something) and Tilda Swinton doing cool stuff as the Ancient One – including apparently punching Doctor Strange’s soul out of his body. The real star of the trailer, though, is the visuals.
One of the things that impressed me about the Ant-Man movie was the sequence where (SPOILER) Scott had to ‘shrink between the molecules’ and enter the Quantum Realm. The visuals in this section were stunning and experimental, unlike anything we’d seen in a Marvel movie before. In a way, the Quantum Realm scene may have been a test for what we’ll see in Doctor Strange. The emphasis on multiple realities and dimensions will allow for some amazing visuals – the section in the trailer where a building… unfolds is jaw-droppingly detailed, and even the Inception-like cityscape was pretty impressive.
So yeah, it’s a great trailer, and it looks like Doctor Strange will be an awesome film. The hype for this movie was, however, marred by the reaction to Marvel’s choice of Tilda Swinton to play the Ancient One. Considering the character is depicted in the comics as being an old Asian man, many fans and commenters were irked that Swinton was cast in the role – accusing Marvel of white-washing. Kevin Feige went on record to say that they were trying to avoid any stereotyping roles and that the film makers liked the idea of the Ancient One being a woman. While this is probably true, and not having stereotyped characters is definitely a good thing, white-washing in Hollywood is a genuine issue and avoiding cliche doesn’t really cut it as an excuse. It’s particularly confusing in this case given that there are several well-written and un-stereotypical Asian characters in both of the Daredevil seasons, but maybe this is a discussion for another time…
All in all, I am excited for this movie. At a time when comic book films are becoming increasingly convoluted and formulaic, Doctor Strange looks like it will be a much needed breath of fresh air.
Just a shame we have to wait until November, really.