Disney-owned Marvel studios last week announced that upcoming phase-three movie Dr Strange will star Benedict Cumberbatch in the lead role. This has continued the trend of announcing other phase-three title roles including the likes of Paul Rudd as Ant Man, which has just finished filming, and Chadwick Boseman as Black Panther.
Scheduled for release in November 2016, Dr. Strange is being rumoured to be the first movie in the Marvel universe to have a much darker and more sinister tone. For those that perhaps are less aware of Marvels periphery characters, Dr. Stephen Strange is a neurological surgeon, who after a horrific accident discovers the world of magic, the dark arts and alternative dimensions. His superpowers come from his own genius, so in a world with the likes of Hulk, Captain America and Thor, Dr Strange is certainly one of the more grounded, yet mysterious and powerful heroes.
With director and producer Scott Derrickson at the helm, it is obvious that Dr Strange will take a much darker approach to the Marvel movies gone by. Derrickson boasts a strong pedigree in horror when it comes to his previous work, directing and writing the likes of Sinister 1 & 2, Deliver us from Evil and The Exorcism of Emily Rose, all of which are truly terrifying in their own rights. While it doesn’t necessarily mean that Dr Strange is going to be the first ‘horror hero’ flick, it does mean that elements and true iconography of the genre will be present, and it could certainly bump up Dr Strange to a 15 rating.
With all of this in mind, Cumberbatch is actually the ideal candidate for the job. Strange is an unusual character and Cumberbatch has played his faire share of unusual roles in the past, with his three biggest roles all feeding into Strange himself. Sherlock is the genius of geniuses and rather smug about it too, Smaug who was voiced by Cumberbatch shows us that he can be a no nonsense menacing presence and in The Imitation Game Cumberbatch plays Alan Turing as a man obsessed with breaking codes. All these similar character traits have lead Cumberbatch to Dr Strange who we can safely consider an amalgamation of the three.
Benedict Cumberbatch follows other A-List Hollywood actors into the superhero genre, suggesting that as the industry currently stands this may be the way to get noticed. Dr Strange is a very different beast to the likes of Iron man and Captain America however and when Novemeber 2016 comes around, don’t be expecting an ‘in your face’ action movie. What Dr Strange, Cumberbatch and Derrickson will likely provide is a more psychological, atmospheric and potentially scary addition to the Marvel cinematic universe, one that might just open up a completely different side to the comic book movies we believe we already know.
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