There's something Strange in the neighborhood and it has nothing to do with the Ghostbusters. After months of waiting, fans will finally be able to see the 14th entry to the ever-expanding Marvel Cinematic Universe: Doctor Strange.
If you're not really a comic bookworm or you've been exposed to the MCU only through films, the name Doctor Stephen Strange might not be too familiar. Is he a real medical pracitioner? Why does he dress like a middle-aged magician at a children's party? Here's everything you need to know about Marvel's Doctor Strange.
He's really a doctor
Not all superheroes are like Captain America, who are lab-grown with the sole purpose of defending the human race from the evils of the world. Apparently, some have day jobs. The character of Stephen Strange, who first came out in the comics in 1963, was an actual gifted neurosurgeon before he decided to put on a cloak. Arrogant and selfish, Strange's life was changed forever by a car accident that robbed him of the use of his hands.
With traditional medicine failing him and desperate to find healing, he finds himself in the unlikeliest of places—a mysterious enclave known as Kamar-Taj. He quickly learns that not only is this place a center for recuperating, it is also at the forefront of the battle against dark forces out to destroy reality. Now, it's up to Doctor Stephen Strange to assume the mantle as the most powerful sorcerer and defend all humanity. But in doing so, he has to turn his back on a life of fame and fortune that he has grown to know and love.
The movie features a cast of acclaimed actors and actresses
Ryan Gosling, Ethan Hawke, Viggo Mortensen, and Joaquin Phoenix were just some of the names that were considered before Marvel decided on British actor Benedict Cumberbatch. While you could argue for each name on that list, the Academy Award nominee lends the movie the perfect mix of talent and commercial success. Rounding up the cast are actors who have also been recognized by critics and award-giving bodies.
Chiwetel Ejiofor plays Mordo, who serves as Doctor Strange's mentor and friend throughout his journey. Rachel McAdams is Dr. Christine Palmer, Strange's colleague and love interest. Benedict Wong (Kublai Khan on Netflix' Marco Polo) plays Wong, the keeper of Kamar-Taj's vast library of mystical tomes. The role of The Ancient One went to Academy Award winner Tilda Swinton, a wise and centuries-old figure that has safeguarded the secrets of the mystic arts for a very long time. Mads Mikkelsen plays the villain Kaecilius, who arrived at the mystical compound seeking the secrets of The Multiverse, but turned his back on The Ancient One in the belief that certain knowledge was being kept from him. "We have a cast that I think has more awards and nominations than any single cast we’ve ever put together," Marvel head honcho Kevin Feige said in an interview.
Doctor Strange opens up MCU's magical and mystical side
Marvel has long banked—and made tons of cash—on an established formula. The formula: There's a threat against Earth and and its inhabitants, and whether it be aliens or homicidal robots, someone has to come forward or come together to stop it. The formula works because it's simple and easy to understand. But while previous offerings have leaned towards sci-fi and political themes, Doctor Strange opens up the Marvel Cinematic Universe to a world of mysticism.
The movie is directed by Scott Derrickson, a veteran of the horror genre, so expect a different tone than the one you've come to expect from previous Marvel films. Early reviews have been positive, welcoming this fresh new dimension to the MCU.
It gives a whole new meaning to the term 'eye candy'
We've gotten used to seeing spectacular set pieces that it's becoming increasingly difficult to impress audiences. And from what we've seen in recent releases, bigger hasn't always been better. The airport battle scene in Captain America: Civil War was far more memorable than seeing Cairo in ruins in X-Men: Apocalypse.
If you've seen the trailer for Doctor Strange, you'll probably remember a scene that is quite similar to that famous one from Inception, in which the cityscape folds on top of itself. The aesthetic is visually similar and fans have compared the special effects to the mind-bending elements of The Matrix.
Catch Marvel's Doctor Strange in cinemas starting October 26