On the heels of big Guardians of the Galaxy news, it appears that there is no rest for the good folks at Marvel Studio: they’re vetting directors for Phase 3’s Doctor Strange, Sorcerer Supreme flick. It is such a lovely time to be a nerd.
Even more than Captain America or Iron Man, I am psyched to see Doctor Strange’s origin story come to life on the big screen (though I do love the animated film that covers the same ground). It’s got tragedy, drama, kung fu… what’s not to love? I’ve long been a fan of the mystic side of comics, both in the DCU and Marvel U. While I think that DC’s occult titles are qualitatively better (c’mon, Hellblazer? Books of Magic? Freakin’ Lucifer? They’re better), I think that Marvel has always been better at integrating their mystical characters into the mainstream universe without… cosmological train wrecks. Even if Morbius the Living Vampire is kinda dumb.
So who are the directors in question? According to The Hollywood Reporter, they include Mark Andrews (Brave), Nicolaj Arcel (A Royal Affair), Dean Israelite (some shorts and a the forthcoming Welcome to Yesterday), and Johnathan Levine (Warm Bodies and 50/50). Of all of these guys, the only who turns my crank is Levine. Warm Bodies was surprisingly good, and 50/50 is a manly sniffle fest. He is great at pulling emotion out of his cast, and I think that is going to be paramount in a story where the character has to transition from haughty to devastated to humbled to godlike in the span of 120 minutes. It also adds curious validity to rumors that Joseph Gordon-Levitt will be playing the Sorcerer Supreme (since JGL starred in the aforementioned 50/50).
My approval of Levine lodged, I would add that my dream director for a Doctor Strange movie would be Guillermo Del Toro directing Benedict Cumberbatch as the Doctor (as in Doctor Strange, not that other Doctor, though that would be a movie to see…).
What these rumors underscore is that Marvel really has its shit together. According studio head Kevin Feige, Marvel has a road map of interrelated films extending as far as 2021 (further now, perhaps). At present, we know that we’re getting Winter Soldier, Guardians of the Galaxy, and Age of Ultron, and that those films (as well as Iron Man 3 and Thor 2) comprise “Phase 2.” At present, we ‘know’ we’re getting an Edgar Wright directed Ant-Man film and (hopefully) a Dr. Strange flick–that’s at least two more stand alone, new hero introductions in Phase 3. Assume a Thor 3 and (dare I dream) a Guardians of the Galaxy 2, and there is still probably room for one or two more flicks before the third Avengers installment (in which I suspect we’ll get a full on cosmic beat down, Thanos style). And that takes us out to what? 2017? I don’t know if I’ll even make it to 2021 if Marvel keeps jacking me up with all this excitement. It’s gotta be bad for my heart, or something.
Doctor Strange (and Ant-Man… Lets not forget Ant-Man) also underscores that Marvel is willing to make risky movies, vis a vis what characters they want to feature in film versus, say, Netflix. Consider that Daredevil is already in the popular consciousness “thanks” to Ben Affleck, but rather than rebooting the film franchise, they’ve earmarked it for Netflix. Instead of a taking the path of least resistance, they’re going wide and outside to make flicks with far lesser known, far more challenging to market characters–and I, for one, admire their chutzpah. Now, if they’d just make the Black Panther movie that fans have been clamoring for… And, I dunno, persuade DC to make a non-Superman, non-Batman film, that’d be great… Wonder Woman or bust!