Lately, there has been talks of strange. No, I’m not talking about female body parts. I’m talking about Doctor Strange, Marvel Comics’ master of the mystic arts and Sorcerer Supreme (that’s his actual title by the way). Soon to be one of the newest additions to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, or MCU, you’d think he’d be welcome by anyone who has seen any past films made by Marvel Studios. Sadly there has been a lot of negativity involving his role in the MCU from both the online community and from friends of mine. Ever since his subtle name drop in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, people are wondering how someone like him could fit into a world that involves people like Captain America, Iron Man, The Hulk, and others. Well true believer, I’m more than happy to tell you.
First off, let’s go with story. Stephen Strange was a brilliant but arrogant surgeon who cared less about helping people and more about his money and prestige. One night, a car accident led to serious damage in the nerves of his hands, ensuring he could not perform surgery again. Unwilling to be a consultant or teacher, Strange spent his fortune traveling the world, seeking a way to restore said hands. Eventually, he ended up in Tibet where he met the Ancient One, a centuries-old mystic who served as Earth’s Sorcerer Supreme. The Ancient One not only fixed his hands (somewhat), but offered Strange a new purpose in life to replace the medical profession he’d lost as the new Sorcerer Supreme. So… a rich and arrogant genius who gets into a life-changing accident that reshapes them into a hero and protector. Sounds like a certain armored hero in the MCU doesn’t it?
Next, let’s talk about the aspect of magic. We all live in a world where science and technology is the answer for everything. And let’s face it, a majority of Marvel Comics’ characters are rooted in the science world. Because of that, I can understand how some people might be turned off by the aspect of a magical hero in the MCU. Except we already have that in Thor. I mean seriously, even if some forms of technology was shown in his movies, we’re talking about a Norse god who wields a hammer that summons lightning and comes to Earth through a rainbow bridge. Plus, wasn’t the Orb of Agomotto, one of Strange’s famous tools, in Odin’s vault? It seems Marvel has been subtlety preparing us for Doctor Strange years in advance. A film about him would not only connect to other magical characters like Thor and Loki, but also draw in movie goers who are more into fantasy, making sure that there’s a Marvel film for everyone to enjoy. We all know the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy is going to draw in the Star Wars/Star Trek/Firefly crowd, so Doctor Strange would pull in fans of Thor, Harry Potter, Doctor Who, Grimm, and others.
But what about the visual aspects of the films? I’m glad you asked. Superhero films often have to be just as visually appealing as their comic book counterpart, if not more so, to draw in crowds who aren’t that familiar with them. Honestly this is where Doctor Strange could shine brighter than any other Marvel franchise. Created during the artsy and beatnik days of the 1960s, Stan Lee and Steve Ditko created Strange to be a visual representative of that era. Ditko’s work specifically pushed the boundaries of the growing Marvel Universe by immersing Strange in worlds that were more colorful and awe-inspiring than places even the Fantastic Four have visited. To me, that artwork looks like a literal acid trip, only comparable by Ditko’s later work on the Silver Surfer. If Marvel really wants to establish this movie, they and director Scott Derrickson will have to focus on the having the film be a visual testament to those early Lee/Ditko stories, just as they used Jack Kirby’s version of Asgard as inspiration in the Thor films.
Lastly, let’s focus on female leads. What would a superhero film without a love interest? An actual superhero film in my opinion, but I digress. Marvel Studios has made it their business to not only adopt this concept, but to make sure that the ladies in their movies aren’t simply damsels in distress. From the tough as nails Peggy Carter to the ass-kicking Black Widow, women get their due in Marvel. For Doctor Strange there’s no better love interest than Clea. For those who don’t know, Clea is Doctor Strange’s estranged wife and former pupil, not to mention the niece of Dormammu, one of Strange’s greatest enemies. This silver haired beauty is as powerful as Strange himself, and is one of the few constants in his otherwise crazy life. Even when they are dimensions apart, fate somehow brings them back together. Writing her into the movie would be easy enough, especially if Dormammu is the main villain. Besides, hooking up with your mortal enemy’s hot niece? That’s going to lead to some angry mystical battles!
So you see, Doctor Strange isn’t that much different from the rest of Marvel’s characters. The question to ask now is how could he NOT fit in with the rest of them???