Tonight I was fortunate enough to attend a preview screening of Marvel’s upcoming Doctor Strange film in 3D, and wanted to share both my experiences at the screening and my thoughts on the footage with you all! Just a heads up that I will be talking about what I saw in the fifteen minute long preview, some (or all!) of which may end up making the final cut of the film, so please don’t read ahead if you don’t want potential spoilers for the movie.
The preview was shown at the Swiss Cottage Odeon in Central London, which is a nice, smaller Odeon which you can find right by the tube station. We were shown to our screen and were treated to both free popcorn and this free poster as we sat down:
Whilst we waited for the preview to begin, we joked about Cumberbatch turning up to say hello…but it turns out that we weren’t being facetious because…well…he actually showed up for a mini talk before the preview.
Unfortunately they were super strict about recording, so I couldn’t get any images/audio, but I can paraphrase what he talked about:
-Comics History/Research: Firstly he described Strange’s history, and apologised that he was probably “preaching to the choir”, i.e. talking to a room full of comics nerds! He detailed how Strange changes throughout the film, beginning as an arrogant sceptic and ending up as something very different, much like Strange’s character development in the comics.
-Costume: He said that he loves the costume, and that he’s living “his boyhood dream” by getting to play a superhero. He also joked that he was excited about wearing a cape, until he was reminded by the costume department that it’s not a cape, it’s a cloak. A Cloak of Levitation, in fact. He also described how he enjoyed seeing all the memes (which he pronounced as “mems”) that came out of the set photos of him running down Manhattan in the rain.
-Spirituality/Magic: He ended by talking about how spirituality is such an important part of the film, and how it was difficult to research a lot of things because he was playing a character who uses powers that are so unique, even to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. He said he enjoyed getting to play a “powerful” character, and that he thinks Strange’s powers and the film’s themes will really bring something new to the MCU.
Unfortunately, he didn’t stick around to watch the footage, but none of us really had too much time to pine after him, because it was time for the preview to begin!
I won’t detail every single thing that happened in the footage (if anyone’s really interested in knowing anything in particular, you’re welcome to leave a comment below!) but I’ll detail some of my favourite things:
-The stunning visuals: Honestly, the visuals I saw were beyond amazing. I know these things can tend to get overhyped, especially when it comes to excitable comics fan like myself, but I honestly cannot think of another film with such groundbreaking visual effects. You get glimpses of it in the trailer, but everything gets hella trippy in the Astral Plane, and Cumberbatch himself even warned people against taking mushrooms before seeing it, in case their brains melted. The preview was full of beautiful, Ditko-esque backgrounds of infinite, colourful space and time melting into each other, and these contrasted wonderfully with the warping and bending of Manhattan as Mikkelsen’s character twisted the very world beneath Strange and Mordo’s feet. Some scenes were actually quite horrifying too, in a creepy, body-horror kind of way, where Strange’s fingers start to grow hands which then proceed to grow their own hands, which each grow tiny hands, etc etc.
-Mads Mikkelsen’s everything: I‘m very excited for Mikkelsen’s role in the film, and not just because we’re totally bros:
It remains to be seen exactly what Mikkelsen’s role is in the plot, but suffice to say, he is shown to have powers that match both Strange’s and Mordo’s, and it looks as if he will pose a real threat to the Marvel world, with illusory knives that can cut through even the strongest of Strange’s spells. We see Strange and Mordo running from him, with the world literally falling away at their feet, and the stakes have never seemed so high in any other MCU film.
-Strange’s characterisation: Strange starts off as a narcissistic, arrogant neurosurgeon, and this is shown wonderfully in the first half of the preview. Cumberbatch seems to have taken inspiration from Hugh Laurie’s House to portray Strange as cold and seemingly unfeeling as he performs surgery, but with a very Strange twist of enjoying fast cars and high-priced living outside of work, with his apartment boasting luxuries like a grand piano. We also see Strange’s wardrobe, which holds a seemingly infinite number of high-priced watches. Not gonna lie, I’m pretty jealous of pre-accident Strange’s stuff.
Overall, I am really, really excited for the movie, despite being initially worried about it potentially falling short of my expectations as I’m a huge (and protective!) Strange fan…I even wrote my dissertation on Strange Tales and the Comics Code! I would really recommend it to both Strange fans and those who know nothing about the Sorcerer Supreme…I think it’s a great way to be introduced into the Astral Planes of Strange, and I hope it will encourage people to read Dr Strange comics, some of which I can recommend here!
Thanks for reading! Are you excited for the movie? Have a question about the screening? Let me know in the comments below!