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The Dr. Strange Movie

Yesterday, Marvel announced their upcoming Phase 3 movies, and the earliest new character is going to be Dr. Strange. They’ve even announced that they offered the role to Benedict Cumberbatch.

For those who aren’t familiar with the character, he’s basically the superhero wizard of the Marvel Universe. Origin in brief: Arrogant surgeon injures his hands in car accident. In seeking a cure so he can go back to being his old self, he stumbles upon a world of magic spells, extra-dimensional demons, and fetishized orientalism. He becomes apprenticed to a sorcerer, then takes the role of the Sorcerer Supreme (the magical protector of his reality).

Basically, he faces magical bad guys, extradimensional weirdness, and fights with magic items and spells. And back in the Steve Ditko days, we got art like this:

Note to Disney: get that shit in the movies.

However, it seems that the MCU will continue to run away from the idea of actual magic. In the upcoming movie, Strange’s spells let him “tap into the supernatural, which involves everything from quantum mechanics to string theory, all of which you can manipulate with your hands and your thoughts.” Which makes no sense, really, but if you’re afraid of driving off any segment of your audience, you change Thor into an alien (and turn his story lines into sword and planet adventures) and base Dr. Strange’s spells on “string theory.”

Which… whatever. It’s just a different kind of hand-waving, and I seriously doubt it will satisfy hardcore “Harry Potter recruits for Satan!” types. The truth is, I’m hoping this movie works. Dr. Strange has always been better in the concept than the execution–although I wish Marvel would hire Chris Bird to write the book. His ideas are more interesting than the usual stuff Marvel runs with.

How I think it should be done:

    Skip the origin. Just to show it’s possible.
    At least three Ditko-esque acid trip landscapes.
    Keep Cleo, but without the creepy student/teacher romance.
    Keep Wong, but make him more than a kung fu manservant. Better roles for POC > fewer
    Lose the costume.
    Get a better costume. The big cape is cool, but change the look.
    Keep magic spells
    Lose rhymes required to chant them.
    Lose the magician swears. “By the Vishanti!” Seriously.

Villain: Mordo, with Dormammu lurking in the background.

As for the casting of Cumberbatch (if they’re correct) I don’t really have an opinion about him. I’ve seen him on Sherlock and Star Trek, and was underwhelmed both times. Maybe his performance in THE IMITATION GAME will surprise me, since I thought ST was boring and wanted to walk out of the room when Sherlock was on. We’ll see.

Mirrored from Harry Connolly. You can comment here but not there.



( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 29th, 2014 04:08 pm (UTC)
Ahh, you and I as usual disagree. Getting rid of the invocations? Losing the origin that gives us some insight into WHO Strange is? Ditch one of the cooler costumes in Marvel's stable? No, no.

I agree about the bizarre Ditkoesque otherworlds, though. We need those. That was part of Doc Strange's schtick.

Their whole BS about avoiding magic, though, really frosts me. Thor is a god, Strange is a Sorcerer Supreme.
Oct. 29th, 2014 04:29 pm (UTC)
But sorcerers are servants of Satan!

I think he'll work better in a suit and tie, with the amulet overtop. The footie pajama bottoms and fanged high collar would look a little ridiculous.

But we'll see what they manage to pull off.
Oct. 29th, 2014 06:17 pm (UTC)
The fanged high collar is a must. That's his Levitation Cloak!
Oct. 29th, 2014 09:53 pm (UTC)
But it doesn't have to look like a red curtain with a cheap fringe.
Oct. 29th, 2014 10:49 pm (UTC)
You apparently are looking at different comics than I am.
Oct. 29th, 2014 04:24 pm (UTC)
It's being directed by Scott Derrickson (The Exorcism of Emily Rose, Sinister, Deliver Us from Evil), so they're almost certainly going a darker route than the colorful old Ditko/Kirby cosmic/magic comics stuff. I'm very curious about what tone they'll take and how they'll tie it into the other movies. I wonder how different they'll make movie Strange from movie Constantine.

The good news is it will probably be scored by Chris Young, who virtually invented modern gothic horror/fantasy scoring a couple decades ago, so at least it'll sound great!
Oct. 29th, 2014 05:09 pm (UTC)
A lot of directors make their name in horror, then move on to other things. James Gunn shook off his horror origins for Guardians of the Galaxy, after all.

I haven't heard of Chris Young, but now I'll be paying attention to the music.
Oct. 29th, 2014 05:20 pm (UTC)
Cumberbatch is a very solid *actor*, imho. But... if they want him to play Sherlock-as-Strange, I’m not sure it’s a good choice for the role. (I admit that I loved his Sherlock, because he is, in general, both compelling and revolting - they went for a much harsher Sherlock, and it worked for me. I watched it before it was huge, though; if I went in with huge expectations - and I didn’t, as I’d only seen him in ATONEMENT, a movie I hated) I’m not sure how it would have worked.

I didn’t hate him as Khan; I was too busy jaw-dropping at the incredibly stupid world-building choices made in that movie. I don’t generally - but. Well.

I honestly can’t imagine him taking the role - well, I *can*, because he’s British and they seem to have a much more “work is work” attitude to film.
Oct. 29th, 2014 09:53 pm (UTC)
Plus, Marvel has been making successful movies lately, so a solid role in a successful franchise--especially one that doesn't fall into the spandex and super-villains style--would be a smart choice.

I was surprised by how many things he's been in, most of which I haven't seen. Besides, if there's one thing the internet has taught me, it's not to gripe about an actor until I've seen the performance.
Oct. 30th, 2014 05:27 am (UTC)
The only thing I've seen Cumberbatch in was THE IMITATION GAME; I thought his performance was charismatic and perfectly competent, but I was annoyed at how historically and mathematically unsound the film was.
Oct. 30th, 2014 01:49 pm (UTC)
So much relies on the script.
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )