A neurosurgeon with a destroyed career sets out to repair his hands only to find himself protecting the world from inter-dimensional threats.
We have long been anticipating the cinematic release of Doctor Strange from Marvel. The good doctor is perhaps a strange choice when you consider the plethora of Marvel characters on offer. And yet we know that Marvel excel at offering us cinema-goers with leftfield choices. Think Ant-Man and Guardians of the Galaxy. Now we love Iron Man and Captain America, and long may their cinematic adventures continue, and it would have been easy for Marvel to continue to carry on with them. However what Ant-Man and Guardians of the Galaxy highlighted spectacularly was the huge appeal of less well-known characters, resulting in gargantuan box- office for both of these films!
We are huge fans of Steve Ditko’s distinctive comic book work. Famously shy of the press, his last known interview was way back in 1968; he allows his work to do the talking and what a body of work it is. The Marvel artist drew and created iconic comic-book characters such as Spider-Man and villains like Doctor Octopus, The Lizard and the Green Goblin as well, of course, Doctor Strange.
So for the uninitiated who is Doctor Strange? The character first appeared in Marvel Comics’ Strange Tales in July 1963. Dr. Stephen Vincent Strange M.D. is a brilliant but arrogant surgeon who loses the ability to use his hands as a result of a car accident. Devastated, he searches the globe in search of healing until he meets the Ancient One, eventually becoming the Sorcerer Supreme, the primary protector of Earth against magical and mystical threats.
At the helm of Doctor Strange is a Showcase favourite, Scott Derrickson, director of films such as Sinister, The Exorcism of Emily Rose and Deliver Us From Evil, for which we had the pleasure of speaking to Scott about. With his background in horror, Derrickson may not have been the obvious choice but his films are always thoughtful and strong on building characters, at all times paying respect to the story and never going for the cheap shock. Doctor Strange was a film that the director actively pursued after claiming “I think Doctor Strange is the only comic-book movie I am definitely suited to make.”
In fact, Marvel legend and writer of many of the early Doctor Strange stories, Stan Lee has been quick to offer his praise to Derrickson for his direction. Lee’s only quibble has been why he was not cast as the title character, claiming that he was certainly strange enough!
That role, of course, has been taken by Benedict Cumberbatch. Derrickson was so determined to see Cumberbatch take on the role that he and Marvel made the decision to delay the film while their star finished his stint on the London stage in Hamlet. Their resolution to cast him saw Cumberbatch proclaim, “It motivated me to try to fulfil their faith in me.”
From the footage we have seen, the acclaimed actor is ideally cast as Stephen Strange/Doctor Strange, completely in keeping with the comic books. Derrickson’s great casting eye has also seen a wonderful cast assembled around Cumberbatch including Oscar winner Tilda Swinton as the Ancient One, Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen as Kaecilius, Rachel McAdams playing fellow surgeon Christine Palmer and Cumberbatch’s co-star from 12 Years A Slave, Chiwetel Ejiofer as the Ancient One’s chief disciple, Karl Mondo.
So, we are excited to immerse ourselves in another part of the Marvel Universe at the end of this month!
Doctor Strange opens at Showcase Cinemas on October 25 in 2D, 3D and IMAX 3D