A lot of people still aren't quite sure what to make of the Marvel Cinematic Universe's next movie, Doctor Strange. Beyond the film's already fantastical subject matter, about a doctor who severely injures his hands and discovers a hidden world of magic and alternate dimensions, it has also been the subject of a lot of criticism for its casting choices. Benedict Cumberbatch as the eponymous lead character was the first point of contention, as many complained the actor was too well known. People's frustrations only grew once Tilda Swinton was announced to play the Ancient One, a formerly male Tibetan monk in the comics.
Yet despite all this backlash, a recent IMAX sneak peek of Doctor Strange has a lot of fans wondering just how the film will turn out. Mind-blowing and visually ambitious are now just some of the words being used to describe the creative and unique visuals in the various scenes shown so far on the big screen. It's being compared to Christopher Nolan's Inception, but we'll have to wait and see if the visuals and story all come together as a complete movie.
In the meantime though, Marvel is continuing to push its most divisive movie since maybe Guardians of the Galaxy. New promos, including the one above, are more and more featuring Doctor Strange's own brand of strangeness. This new promo includes a lot of the same scenes from previous TV spots, but also focuses on Stephen Strange's status as a reluctant hero. At the beginning of the film, he starts off as a bitter neurosurgeon who doesn't know how to go on with his life, before answering a higher calling.
However, the character's turn from an arrogant know-it-all before his car accident to a sympathetic character is only one part of the movie. The other parts of Doctor Strange are the previously referenced impressive visuals that come from the mystic arts he learns to defeat his enemies. They include casting spells, creating mandalas of light for shields and weapons, and creating portals for quick travel around the world. Strange is also aided by a few objects like the Cloak of Levitation for flight, and the Eye of Agamotto, a relic with the ability to manipulate time and space.
Some of these abilities are shown in the TV spot, like his use of gestures and mandalas in his magic. There's also a few shots of Inception-like special effects, but they appear to be saving all the noteworthy scenes for the actual movie. Doctor Strange will either end up being another Marvel success story or it won't, but nothing will take away its title as most ambitious. Already visually out of this world, enough to stir up significant buzz ahead of its release, let's hope the film has an equally riveting story to match.
Doctor Strange opens November 4, 2016; Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 – May 5, 2017; Spider-Man: Homecoming – July 7, 2017; Thor: Ragnarok – November 3, 2017; Black Panther – February 16, 2018; Avengers: Infinity War – May 4, 2018; Ant-Man and the Wasp – July 6, 2018; Captain Marvel– March 8, 2019; Untitled Avengers – May 3, 2019; and as-yet-untitled Marvel movies on July 12, 2019, and on May 1, July 10, and November 6 in 2020.