Will "Doctor Strange" reign supreme over the rest of the Marvel movies?
Introduced in the 1960s, Doctor Stephen Strange was a renowned neurosurgeon who lost the powers of his hands after a terrible car accident. With his surgical career destroyed, Strange travels to the mountains of the Himalayas to seek the Ancient One, who brings him into a new world of magic and mysticism.
Although the 14th Marvel movie and the second in the newly entered Third Phase of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, a big screen adaptation of "Doctor Strange" has been in the works since the 90s, with only two feature length adaptations successfully made. "Doctor Strange" has been a personal passion project for Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige, and he has spared no expenses to make this origin story of the Sorcerer Supreme to be among the best that Marvel has produced so far.
"Doctor Strange" is set to be a cinematic milestone, not just for Marvel, but also its cinematic universe, and from what we have seen on paper and in the trailers, it has many hopes riding on it for being different to what has come before. That's not quite an exaggeration as we present you five reasons why "Doctor Strange" could be the best Marvel movie there is.
Director Scott Derrickson
From a creative risk to becoming a tradition, Marvel Studios has made unexpected choices to bring in fresh talents to helm every superhero they introduce into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. While Marvel has pretty much laid out the framework of how they want their superheroes to be told and tied to each other in the grand scheme of the Marvel universe, but they have also allowed these directors to exercise their creative freedom on the style of delivery. From Jon Favreau to the Russo Brothers who have delivered some of the finest Marvel movies, Marvel has now entrusted director Scott Derrickson to put his mark on "Doctor Strange". Marvel's choice of directors can usually be very telling of the tone they intend for the movie, and in this case Derrickson has racked up an impressive resume of horror movies; making him the first horror-based director for the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Opens a whole new universe in the MCU
When Doctor Strange was first introduced in the comics, he had opened up a new world in the comic universe for his dabbling into the mystic arts and facing off with magical adversaries that come from strange and often multiple dimensions. Already in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, we have the Nine Realms from "Thor", the outer Galaxy in "Guardians of the Galaxy", and the Quantum Realm in "Antman", "Doctor Strange" is aiming to introduce another dimension to the Marvel Cinematic Universe as the introduction to the Marvel multiverse. Comic book fans will know that the multiverse opens up a vast range of alternate universes and connecting all the other worldly settings in the Marvel Cinematic Universe thus far. Expect this multiverse to be brought up again and again in future Marvel movies (leading up to "Infinity War"), and things are only going to get stranger after "Doctor Strange".
Inspired by surrealist arts of the 60s and 70s, and the mathematically symmetrical works of Dutch artist M.C, Escher, the look and feel of "Doctor Strange" is expected to be a mind trip as Strange learns to bend and shape reality with his powers. Those who have seen the trailers of "Doctor Strange" are easily reminded of the mind-bending visuals of Christopher Nolan's "Inception", but Marvel has pushed hard to use the latest visual graphics to create something more extreme than what has been done before. 3D is also being used to enhance the trippy effect, so there might also be good reason to go for the extra spectacle.
The Oscar Cast
Marvel has never been shy in hiring a star studded cast to be leads and even minor characters or villains in their movies, but they seem to have outdone themselves for "Doctor Strange". Pushing its release schedule in order to secure Oscar-nominee Benedict Cumberbatch to don the Cloak of Levitation as Doctor Strange, Cumberbatch is not the only Oscar nominee to be on the cast list for "Doctor Strange". Despite the controversial claims of whitewashing and angering comic book fans, Oscar-winner Tilda Swinton has been cast as the androgynous Ancient One, who will be Strange's mentor into the mystic arts. Other members of the cast with Oscar stripes are Chiwetel Ejiofor as the Ancient One's pupil and Strange's guide, Karl Mordo and Rachel McAdams as fellow surgeon Christine Palmer. But the startling list of names doesn't end there when you have Mads Mikkelsen as main antagonist Kaecilius and Scott Adkins expected to make an appearance. Lastly although he is no award winner, we didn't forget Stan Lee who will make his regular cameo appearance.
Of course, with such a powerful cast like that, it may be easy to forget the talents behind the camera, and without them "Doctor Strange" could not be more amazing. Running the engine are most of the crew being the same people who were behind "Guardians of the Galaxy" (and we know how well that turned out), including cinematographer Ben Davis, who will be working with his third Marvel movie after "Guardians of the Galaxy" and "Avengers: Age of Ultron", who by now should have a firm grasp in delivering what Marvel wants to say in its visual elements.
Script work has been done by Scott Derrickson himself, together with Jon Spaihts, who wrote "Prometheus" and the recently unveiled "Passengers" and Derrickson's "Sinister" collaborator Christopher Robert Cargill. Lastly, music is composed by Michael Giacchino who has provided the most memorable tunes from Pixar classics "The Incredibles", "Ratatouille", and "Up", and also the more upbeat tracks of "Jurassic World", and most recently "Star Trek Beyond".
Cinema Online, 24 October 2016