#FIRSTLOOK: “DOCTOR STRANGE” TRAILER
Back in December, we posted this piece pointing to some early images of Benedict Cumberbatch in the role of Doctor Strange for the upcoming Marvel Studios project of the same name. The film has flown under the radar to some extent, perhaps because we have some other superhero releases to get through first in 2016, but the argument can be made that Cumberbatch is the biggest star to take up a superhero role since Robert Downey, Jr. and Scarlett Johansson. And that should make this a pretty exciting release when the time comes.
In the meantime all we have is speculation and whatever the studio gives us. And this past week, that included a first look at the character in action! The debut trailer for Doctor Strange was uploaded to YouTube by Marvel Entertainment, and you can view it in its entirety here.
In the meantime, here are some thoughts and questions we had regarding this early look…
First, how about the distinct Christopher Nolan undertones? Upon a first watch of the trailer you may notice that in a very general sense the sounds and cinematography on display are reminiscent of Nolan’s style. But watching more closely, you might see distinct echoes of two films in particular: Batman Begins and Inception. We see Stephen Strange (Cumberbatch) in both humble rags and a tuxedo, and then seemingly training and reinventing himself in what looks to be a Far East temple of some sort very much in the image of Christian Bale’s Bruce Wayne in Batman Begins. We also see people manipulating environments and even folding cities in ways that bring Inception visuals to mind. This is by no means to suggest this film will be anything like those Nolan projects, but either way they’re certainly not bad comparisons.
The next thought that came to mind was the question of how familiar this character will be to comic fans, if at all. The truth is that the studio (and larger company) have already made some efforts to plant an image of Doctor Strange in the minds of modern fans. The character exists in multiple games online and on mobile devices, and there may even be a hint of him in a popular casino game at this site. The image for The Magician Trick Picks slot game looks suspiciously like some versions of Strange, and we know that both Marvel and DC like to advertise their characters by licensing their images out to these platforms. In this case, the game isn’t official, but it could easily have been taken as a hint of more to come. Despite all these appearances most of which fall in line with the Entertainment Weekly stills of Cumberbatch in the role that we discussed previously the trailer shows a humbler and more ordinary looking character. It may b e that for this first film we’re pretty much looking at a normal human before he transforms into a costumed hero.
And finally, it’s difficult to watch the trailer without wondering: is this a little bit too much? The imagery and Nolan-like quality are quite exciting, on their own, but the film looks to have a distinctly different tone than most of the other superhero films we’ve seen. Furthermore, it certainly appears as if the school of power that Strange is studying in has secrets that would far surpass the abilities of the other Avengers, and of the villains we’ve seen thusfar. An early review for Captain America: Civil War essentially praises the upcoming film for remaining grounded, whereas so many superhero films have focused on greater powers and enemies emerging from the skies. Frankly it’s all gotten a little bitridiculous and there has to be some concern that Doctor Strange will ramp things up in that department just a few months after Civil War brings the genre back down to Earth.
Purely as its own project, however, Doctor Strange is looking pretty interesting. Its trailer definitely makes you want to know more.