Doctor Stephen Strange himself, Benedict Cumberbatch, comments on why his first foray into the MCU resonated with audiences so significantly.
Marvel’s Doctor Strange is the fourteenth film to emerge from the studio’s cinematic universe, and the second to feature in its Phase 3 line-up. It was preceded by Captain America: Civil War, which gave fans their first look at the other newest introductions to the franchise, Spider-Man and Black Panther. While the latter heroes joined the Avengers’ raucous infighting last year without preamble, Doctor Strange was inducted into the Marvel hall of fame with his own origin film first – and it was clearly the right move, judging by its raging success at the box office.
Doctor Strange was an unprecedented hit, even for a Marvel project; according to Box Office Mojo, it raked in 675 million USD worldwide, plus achieved a 90% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. There are any number of reasons the film struck a chord with fans when it would ostensibly be just another superhero endeavour, something that’s seen everywhere these days. One of the main strengths of the film was the twist in the final act, where Strange defeated the villain by essentially annoying him into submission. There was some magic involved too, but that was the main plot point that distinguished the film from the many origin stories that came before it.
Benedict Cumberbatch also had a response to the question of why the film was so well-received when he spoke to CinemaBlend:
“I think a number of reasons. I think it’s visually something that’s a new experience. He’s an interesting character and it’s a nice retelling of an origin. A nice look at certain inversions of conventions like the finale dust up being a kind of renovation job rather than a destruction job. The ultimate bad guy defeat in it being through an idea rather than some kind of gloves off showdown. And then the usual kind of key ingredients of Marvel’s success I think which is to take these things that they have a great reverence for but also use a sense of humor and not be too kind of holy about and dare to do different things with the format.”
Marvel always has a new trick up its sleeve when it comes to reinventing the superhero wheel. It will be interesting to see how Spider-Man: Homecoming, Black Panther and Thor: Ragnarok reflect this in the months to come.
Doctor Strange is available now for digital download, and will be released on DVD and Blu-ray on February 28th.