6 Things I Want to See in the Dr. Strange Movie
Dr. Strange movie rumors have started percolating across the Internet, and a big announcement is expected at Comic-Con this year. The Sorcerer Supreme has long been hinted at being in pre-production, but it seems the time has finally come to turn those rumors into fact. Good for Dr. Strange. Personally, I’ve never been a fan, but I definitely encourage Marvel Studios to reach beyond their comfort zone for new movies. Nobody expected Iron Man to be such a huge hit, after all.
So how exactly is Marvel going to fit Dr. Strange into their ever-growing Movieverse?
For those who don’t know, Dr. Strange is a superhero who does magic. There’s a big dangerous world of black magic and mysticism out there, and Dr. Strange is our defender, using his own power to keep us safe from evil sorcerers and Voldemorts. But Dr. Strange is not just some Copperfield-esque stage magician. He really knows magic, with a whole host of spells, artifacts and incantations at his disposal. The Marvel Movieverse has touched upon magic before – through Thor, Loki and Asgard – but never on the scale of Dr. Strange. He’ll bring a whole new style to the movies, and I for one am looking forward to a Dr. Strange movie. Being the helpful blogger that I am, here are 6 suggests for Marvel Studios on how to make a great Dr. Strange movie!
6. Origin Story/Magical Music Montage
A lot of people are sick of superhero origin stories, at least if you can believe reviews about those origin story movies. But I don’t have anything wrong with starting a franchise with the superhero’s origin, especially for a character like Dr. Strange. He’s not a mainstream stuperhero. Few people outside of comic book fans know anything about Dr. Strange, so an origin story is a must. But beyond that, Dr. Strange has a good, strong origin story. It’s easy to follow and serves as a nice introduction into his magical world. Dr. Stephen Strange starts out as an ordinary man, a skilled surgeon who is a little too arrogant for his own good. Then when he loses all of his skill and precision in an auto accident, he travels the world to find some kind of restorative medicine, only to end up learning magic from his teacher, the Ancient One.
Cue magical music training montage.
Dr. Strange’s origin story couldn’t be more perfect for a movie. It’s got an ordinary man from the regular world who hits rock bottom due to his own hubris; then he’s saved by the introduction of supernatural responsibility, and by the end he grows into a kickass hero. He’s Harry Potter without the need for seven years of schooling. Just like Rocky and the Karate Kid, all he needs is a music montage of him learning magic spells, and boom, he’s a wizard. Green Lantern didn’t have a training montage, and so it looked like Hal Jordan gave up after 5 minutes of learning how to be a Green Lantern. Dr. Strange is no quitter.
5. No Introductory Narration
Do you know what else was wrong with Green Lantern? It opened with a long, nonsensical dirge of narration that tried to explain the complicated mythos without any context. Then when Hal Jordan actually got his ring and was introduced to the Corps, the movie just went ahead and explained everything again! Likewise, Thor opened with a big, narrated, incomprehensible sequence. But they’re just so completely unnecessary. I hate when movies rely on introductory narration, as if the audience won’t be able to keep up with the cool, supernatural elements. Harry Potter didn’t need any sort of introductory narration to explain its magical world. Dr. Strange doesn’t either. Just introduce it to the audience at the same time it’s introduced to the doctor. A little exposition never hurt anybody.
4. Create a Strict Definition of Magic
Magic isn’t complicated. Audiences understand things like spells and incantations. So I don’t think magic needs a lot of explanation. However, magic does need rules and restrictions. You can’t just say, “It’s magic, it can do whatever it wants”. You have to clearly define what Dr. Strange can do and what he cannot do. To go back to Harry Potter (because it’s just so helpful), to cast a spell you needed a wand. And beginner wizards had to shout their spells out loud in order to cast them. That’s usually something Dr. Strange has to do anyway. “Crimson Bands of Cytorrak,” anyone? The magic in a Dr. Strange movie needs some kind of structure, and through that you can establish a clear understanding of how magic works in the Marvel Movieverse. It’ll make the whole movie just that much more believable.
3. Something Lovecraftian
I want to see something big, evil, monstrous and covered in tentacles! Dr. Strange is all about dark magic and mysticism, and the movie should definitely push itself to the extreme in that regard. But I don’t want Cthulhu to be the villain of the piece. Instead, I think the evil tentacle monster should be the larger, greater threat. It should be something far beyond the veil, threatening to come and destroy the Earth, like the ancient gods in Cabin in the Woods. Or the big, otherworldly beast in the end of Hellboy. And it’ll be up to Dr. Strange to save the day and keep the giant, otherworldly abomination at bay. Perhaps a certain Shuma-Gorath could make a cameo appearance? But however it’s used, I want to know that Dr. Strange is defending us against threats so big and insane it would boil our puny human brains just to comprehend them. As for the actual villains…
2. Villains: Mordo and Dormammu
Dr. Strange doesn’t have a lot of big name villains, so in the first film, why not use all of them? Baron Mordo is Strange’s evil counterpart. He’s also studying magic under the Ancient One, but Mordo is evil, whereas Strange is good. So that’s just a no-brainer to put him in the film. Evil rivals are a staple in movies, especially in superhero movies. Like Iron Man fighting Iron Monger, or Superman fighting General Zod. So Mordo is in. But what is Mordo’s motivation to be evil? Dormammu, of course! Dormammu is a big, flame-headed demon monster guy who rules the Dark Dimension. He wants to rule Earth, and Mordo is his willing disciple. So the plot of the movie is Mordo trying to use dark magic to bring Dormammu to Earth from the Dark Dimension, and it’s up to Stephen Strange to accept the mantle of Sorcerer Supreme in order to stop him. Done and done.
1. Keep It Simple, Stupid
This is my #1 rule for any superhero movie ever: keep it simple, dammit! Most superhero origins work because they’re simple and uncomplicated. Spider-Man gets bit by a radioactive spider, then fails to use his powers to save his uncle. Iron Man gets kidnapped by terrorists and uses his engineering know-how to bust his way out. Batman’s parents are shot and he swears revenge on all criminals. Dr. Strange is an arrogant surgeon who loses his job, then finds a new purpose through magic. It doesn’t need to get more complicated than that. What do I mean by ‘complicated’? Take the new Man of Steel movie. Superman’s origin should be incredibly simple. An alien planet is about to blow up, so they send a baby alien to Earth for safe-keeping, and he gets super powers. But instead of that, Man of Steel added all that nonsense about The Codex, and the genetic material of all Kryptonians hidden in Superman’s cells, and the idea about him being the first natural birth in centuries. Not to mention Zod killing his father. And a million other small, unimportant complications that only serve to muddy the water.
Dr. Strange is about a doctor who learns magic and saves the world. Don’t make him the ‘chosen one’. Don’t throw in an unnecessary macguffins. Keep it simple, you stupid movie producers!
Honorable Mention: Dump The ‘Stache!
Back in the day, Dr. Strange proudly sported a classic porn mustache. But the 70s were a different time. These days, he should follow the comics and go for a full goatee instead. It just makes more sense.
Though I remain undecided on the white streaks in his hair…
Those are my choices for the upcoming Dr. Strange movie, what are yours? Do you have a better idea for a villain? What about plots, storylines or supporting characters? Or you ‘yes’ or ‘no’ on Wong? Or Clea? Let me know in the comments!