Last November, Marvel introduced a whole new world of magic and mysticism with the blockbuster Doctor Strange. The movie enjoyed a huge $85 million dollar opening, while going on to gross over $675 million dollars worldwide. Marvel’s fourteenth feature film release scored a 90 percent on the Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer, indicating a majority of critics favored the film as well. Any movie in the Marvel cinematic universe has the input of hundreds of voices, however Marvel president Kevin Feige once again made an inspired hire in director Scott Derrickson.
Derrickson came from a horror background by directing modest hits such as Sinister and The Exorcism of Emily Rose. However, much like previous Marvel hires, James Gunn (Guardians of the Galaxy) and the Russo Brothers(Captain America: Civil War), Derrickson was seen as having blockbuster potential. He joins a rare class of directors fully entrenched in the comic book movie world and his success is no fluke. Apparently he has been studying the genre for some time.
Derrickson’s stature has grown, yet he has remained accessible and has continued his fanboy passion for the genre. Recently, a fan contacted Derrickson via Twitter and tweeted him, “WATCHMEN is brilliant. Opening with Dylan is perfection.” The director promptly tweeted back, “The Ultimate Cut is an unparalleled masterwork.”
The Ultimate Cut is an unparalleled masterwork. https://t.co/zbHjeziU6w— Scott Derrickson (@scottderrickson) February 22, 2017
Before director Zack Snyder became a controversial figure for making Man of Steel and Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice; he was a controversial figure for adapting the seminal DC Comics’ classic, Watchmen. An adaptation of Alan Moore and artist Dave Gibbons’ comic book story that tapped into the tropes of superheroes, 1980’s politics, the fear of nuclear war, and the complex morality of vigilantes, among other issues.
For years the comic was thought to be impossible to be put to film. Mostly due to the length of the story, along with the visceral violence and themes that were uncommonly mature and complex for the genre at the time. The R-rated superhero movie went on to have a rocky release in 2009. It had a decent $55 million dollar opening, yet failed to gross over $200 million dollars worldwide during its entire run. For its home release, Warner Bros. offered alternate versions including an Ultimate Cut, that was intended to reflect Snyder’s original vision.
To this day Watchmen inspires debates between its detractors and supporters (i.e., Derrickson). The comic book genre has only recently found its footing and still is far from being accepted by highbrow critics and award circuits. In film history there are certain movies, such as Blade Runner, that were misunderstood during their release only to find critical acclaim later on. Watchmen is a unique film made specifically to deconstruct the superhero genre, which had not fully matured at the time. It’s possible that it won’t truly find its audience until years from now. Maybe then, we will be able to truly judge if Derrickson’s words are prophetic or hyperbole.
Doctor Strange will be available on DVD and Blu-ray on February 28, 2017 and is currently available on Digital HD and streaming services.
Source: Scott Derrickson
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