Before I get into what my minor gripes are with the brand new trailer for the upcoming Doctor Strange film, I think I need to give some background as to why I consider Doctor Strange to be one my personal favourites in the Marvel universe. For as long as I can remember I’ve been drawn to characters who use magic. Whether it’s Gandalf in Lord of The Rings, The Black Mage class of Final Fantasy, or even my D&D character that’s a sorcerer, magic users in fiction and games are always my preference. I think it might have to do with using willpower and knowledge alone to do incredible things, not relying on brute strength. So when I was young and getting into comics, it only makes sense that I was drawn to the Sorcerer Supreme himself, Doctor Strange. Now I’ll admit as far as back-stories go Doctor Strange is a bit generic by today’s standards, but I don’t think there’s anything I would change about it. So when it was revealed years ago that we would be getting a Doctor Strange film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, I couldn’t help but get excited. But the more I heard about the film as production went on, the more I was both excited and leery. That seems to be a common theme with me. Last night, we finally got our hands on the first trailer of the new film, and my reaction was mostly positive. But still mixed, to say the least.
Now, there’s only so much you can derive from a teaser as long as this one, so it’s certainly not fair to assume that it’s not going to be any good. I still believe with Marvel’s reputation and the cast and crew that Doctor Strange has the potential to be a fantastic movie. But, for every moment watching the trailer where I felt giddy, I also felt concerned. Let’s start with the bad before we get to the good.
For starters, I have a confession to make. As much as I think Benedict Cumberbatch is a great actor and enjoy his work, I’ve always felt that he wasn’t the best choice for the role of Stephen Strange. While I can’t name names, I certainly think there are plenty of other actors that could have done just as good a job. Not to mention that they probably could have done the accent better. Sorry, but the man can’t put on a decent accent to save his life. Or say penguins for that matter. In the same vein, while the casting of Tilda Swinton as the Ancient One is ok on paper, I refer to John Oliver’s segment on whitewashing in Hollywood as to why I’m not 100% ok with this casting decision. To give them credit, they do both seem to portray their roles well in what little footage we’ve seen (apart from a slightly jarring American accent). Only time will tell whether my views on the casting are misguided. But until then I reserve the right to be skeptical.
Regarding rest of the trailer though I think it’s done a good job “teasing” the film. Despite knowing the origin story of Doctor Strange well, I can only speculate what will happen based on this trailer. And that’s as it should be. In an age where trailers seem to tell the viewer the entire plot before release, the Doctor Strange trailer does a good job of showing some intriguing pieces of footage while leaving a lot up in the air. While that might change as we get closer to release, Marvel tends to be good about keeping things a secret. If I did have one other point of possible contention, it’s that for several moments of the trailer I thought I was watching the teaser for Inception 2. There are worse comparisons, but I don’t think that’s the impression they wanted.
It’s true that these issues are minor in the grand scheme of things, but when they’re adapting something you love into a film you can’t help but sweat the small stuff. As I did say earlier, The trailer has me both excited and skeptical about the movie. You might say that this is a defense mechanism, so that I don’t get my expectations too high, but I would argue that the best film trailers are the ones that leave me with no doubt in wanting to see whatever they’re promoting. Unfortunately, this is not one of them.