If there is one genre which has risen to dominate the box office over the last decade it is the superhero film, that success spilling over into both network and subscription television, and at the forefront of that revolution have been Marvel. While the core of the Avengers are the tried-and-tested straightforward heroes such as Iron Man and Captain America, they ventured into the fringes with the Guardians of the Galaxy, and now they are to bring to the big screen a character so far from the mainstream that he defines the very word strange…
Directed by The Exorcism of Emily Rose‘s Scott Derrickson from a screenplay by Prometheus‘ Jon Spaihts and Sinister‘s C Robert Cargill and starring Star Trek Into Darkness’ Benedict Cumberbatch, Serenity’s Chiwetel Ejiofor, Sherlock Holmes’ Rachel McAdams, Trumbo’s Michael Stuhlbarg, Hannibal’s Mads Mikkelsen and Snowpiercer’s Tilda Swinton, the team have viewed the first trailer for the second film of phase three of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the fourteenth overall, and offer their reactions.
Prepare to meet Doctor Stephen Strange, a surgeon whose hands are injured in a car accident, ending his career, but who eyes are opened by the Ancient One…
Michael Flett – He’s a character I know solely by reputation, and I know a lot of folks are really excited by this one, particularly played by Benedict, and that they’re saying it’s really going to push the envelope of what the Marvel Cinematic Universe can be in the same way that Guardians of the Galaxy did a couple of years back, but this looks… conventional.
Admittedly, that may be a ruse; Winter Soldier completely misled with the trailers which is why when the rug was pulled it turned out to be my favourite of all the Marvel films so far, and I have a suspicion the same will be true of Civil War and hopefully with this come the end of the year.
You get the audience in with the hook, then once you’re settled, then you surprise them. It’s telling that they’re conspicuously not showing the costume in the trailer other than a backlit tease. Despite not being a comic fan, I know enough by now to know that Marvel know what they’re doing.
Which makes me question why on Earth they have trusted this production team. If memory serves Derrickson took over on the hideous abomination of the remake of The Day the Earth Stood Still part way through production so likely the course of that particular disaster was already set, but of the rest of his resume, Sinister is the only thing tolerable. Deliver Us From Evil had so much potential and such a great cast, and he made it dull, tedious, lifeless and derivative. I’ll admit I’ve never seen the straight-to-DVD joy of Hellraiser: Inferno, but its reputation precedes it.
He’s not a name I associate with original, challenging or exciting cinema. If I was being kind, competent is about as far as I could go.
Spaiht’s script for Prometheus was heavily rewritten by Damon Lindelof, so it’s difficult to know where precisely to point the finger, but the finished draft was an utter mess which I can’t believe any professional scriptwriter would allow their name on. Instead, I’ll judge him on his previous offering The Darkest Hour, which I watched slack jawed in amazement at how painfully, insultingly idiotic it was. On the evidence, he doesn’t even get competent in my book.
Cargill, all I know is his script for Sinister, as I’ve not had the chance to read his well-reviewed book, so gets the benefit of the doubt, though I do wonder whether Derrickson got on the phone crying “help me, you wrote the only decent film I ever made!”
I know it’s only a tease, but it really doesn’t do anything to make me tingle. Tilda will be wonderful, she always is. Benedict will also be great, he always is. But it looks terribly generic and derivative. Yes, it looks great, but it just looks like Inception or Dark City. I’m not feeling the wow.
Les Anderson – WOOOOOOW!
Christopher Nolan, eat your heart out.
I knew it was going to be trippy like the comics were but this exceeds my expectations. I am even more excited now – Doctor Strange was one of my favourite comics back in the day because it was so weird but this raises it to a whole new level.
Wes Morrison – It’s hard to go wrong with that amazing cast, Swinton, Mikkelson, Cumberbatch, Ejiofor, and Marvel has been daring before, testing the edges of what is expected (Guardians of the Galaxy), so I’m all in on this one.
Kevin Gilmartin – So if I’m seeing this right it’s Batman Begins with some reality hopping. Despite being something of a comics fan I don’t really know much about Doctor Strange other than seeing him make the odd guest appearance in some stuff on Cartoon Network.
I’m intrigued, though, and I like Frumious Bandersnatch, and I’ll watch anything with Tilda Swinton in it.
I’ll probably go see it although it won’t be a priority like Guardians or the Avengers instalments were.
I look forward to a second trailer later this summer to get a better feel for what they’re trying to do here, but there’s plenty of illusion, and we’ve got an idea of just how metaphysical some of the magic will be. Great first look, for sure!
Dario Persechino – Oh no he’s doing an accent :/
That was my first take away from the trailer. I mean I’ve heard him do accents before and not really thought about it but it just sounded… wrong. Too American.
I was expecting more of the deep resonance of Sherlock but that brief line about not believing in chakras sounded to me too much like “a Brit trying to do an American accent.” That concerns me.
It could be that the small line we have is not indicative of the voice of the character throughout. I hope so.
Other that that the trailer looked fine. Flashes of an origin tale with his mentor and some mind bending special effects. With familiar elements resembling both Batman Begins and The Matrix there is nothing stand out and new in the trailer but hopefully they are holding back for the main event.
It didn’t put me off; it just didn’t wow me either.
Doctor Strange is scheduled for release on 20th October in the UK and 4th November in the US