Marvel’s latest offering, Doctor Strange, continues the studio’s winning streak when it comes to critics, holding steady at a 90 percent rating on aggregate site Rotten Tomatoes, a 7.9/10 on IMDB, and a 72 percent on Metacritic. The psychedelic solo movie received critical acclaim, although some did feel that it stuck just a little too closely to the Marvel formula, and that it was especially similar to the first film in the MCU, Iron Man. Doctor Strange was also accused of whitewashing, with the character of the Ancient One being played by Tilda Swinton, rather than an Asian actor.
Since its release in November, director Scott Derrickson has spoken about where he would like to see the character go in the future, including meeting Rocket Raccoon, presumably at some point during the vast ensemble movie Avengers: Infinity War. Now, the director reveals that he has not been reading any of the reviews for the film, even though the majority are incredibly positive.
In an interview with CBR about the upcoming Blu-Ray release of Doctor Strange, Derrickson explains:
I kind of put the blinders on. Once I saw that the reviews were all positive, I didn’t read them. I just saw it was 90-something percent on Rotten Tomatoes and the box office was huge. At that point, I just kind of turned it off and tried to not pay too much attention to it for my own, I think, mental and emotional health.
I can only assume, and based on some of the Twitter feedback, that people got an experience that went beyond their expectations, and that was always the idea. It was to create characters that they cared about, that had ideas that had some weight and some significance, and that would be a visceral experience beyond what they’d experienced before in a movie. It seems, based on what little feedback I have paid attention to, it seems like that happened.
With the sheer volume of online chatter about any superhero movie, it’s never going to be possible for a director to listen to absolutely every opinion about a film. However, it’s interesting to see that Derrickson has chosen to shut out even the positive reviews, and yet read some of the tweets about the film. The director is an active Twitter user, which may explain this, and even used the social media platform to respond to whitewashing criticisms last year.
It’s encouraging to see a director involved with a franchise as huge as the MCU really listening to fans, and listening to fans on social media over film critics (although both are incredibly positive about this film). We can assume that if the reviews were negative, Derrickson may have taken a different approach, and spent more time considering what went wrong – although given his reference to his own mental and emotional health, maybe not. It sounds like the director is very focused on his own vision for the film, and is not willing to let that be swayed too much by outside opinion.
At the same time, some might be wondering just how accurate this is, and if the director doesn’t spend a little time reading just the best reviews – after all, surely he deserves to hear some of the appreciation for such a fantastic film? Listening to criticism can also help to ensure that should Doctor Strange get a sequel, any concerns with the first film will not be repeated. We will have to wait and see what the future holds for Stephen Strange and his director, but for now we are definitely looking forward to his return in Infinity War.