Last night the first trailer for Doctor Strange debuted, and oh god, Benedict Cumberbatch is even more perfect as the Sorcerer Supreme than previously imagined. For some reason, it never occurred to me he’d have an American accent. I don’t know why I assumed Cumberbatch would use his natural accent, but no, he’s doing a solid American accent as Stephen Strange. It immediately makes him feel like Not Sherlock, so I’m into it.
I’m into the whole thing—Doctor Strange looks bananas. There’s some Inception-style world-bending, and other weird reality warping, and it looks very different from previous Marvel movies, in that it sort of reminds me of Batman Begins with that whole “posh white dude goes to the East to gain Wisdom and Skills” thing that’s just a swamp of potential Orientalism and appropriation. Batman Begins managed to side-step the worst of those things, let’s hope Doctor Strange can, too.
Tilda Swinton, surprisingly, doesn’t look as crazy as expected, and again, while it’s cool they gender-bent the role of the Ancient One for her, it still sucks that also means they white-washed an Asian part. Doctor Strange is riding a very fine line, culturally, and while nothing in the trailer looks worse than anything in Batman Begins—which also white-washed the role of the superhero’s mentor—ultimately it’s going to depend on how the film as a whole shakes out. I hope they get it right, because the part where Tilda Swinton knocks Strange out of his body and then he says, “Teach me” while looking up at her worshipfully is basically all of my Tilda-related dreams.
Marvel keeps saying they’re done with origin stories, but Doctor Strange looks pretty origin-y. We get a glimpse of the car accident that ruins Strange’s hands and ends his medical career, and we see him travelling, looking for a cure, which leads him to Tilda Swinton and the world of magic. And there are quick looks at Chiwetel Ejiofor as Baron Mordo, Strange’s magic frenemy, and Mads Mikkelsen as the villain. We also see Rachel McAdams as someone who appears to be Linda Carter, aka Night Nurse. That’s disappointing. There are WAY more interesting female characters linked to Strange, and Rosario Dawson is already playing a very similar character on the Netflix/Marvel shows. That aside, though, Doctor Strange is incredibly promising.
They also unveiled the first poster for Doctor Strange yesterday—a legit gorgeous one sheet—and Marvel isn’t even bothering to include titles on their posters anymore. It just says “Marvel” and “11.4.2016”. Soon their posters will just be single-color blocks with a date on them. And we’ll all go to the theater on that date even though we don’t know what the movie is or who is in it or what it’s about, and that will be how we know that Marvel has finally Stockholm Syndromed us.