Love a good martial arts film? Get ready to have your world rocked, or at least a little shaken up. The Marvel Universe origin story, Dr. Strange, is being released as a film in just over a month from now. This time the film is in the hands of a new director, Scott Derrickson, who has a few twists and thematic alterations to add to the original story.
We’ve read about the decision to cast Tilda Swinton, a white female, as The Ancient One, traditionally an older Asian male. As a casting decision, we have yet to see how that will pan out, but the truly interesting test of the film will be the foundational direction Derrickson has chosen: martial arts. This will be a purely super-power action film; no guns or other physical weapons. And the training the nerve-damaged Dr. Strange receives appears to be essentially in the martial arts. We fully expect the conflict scenes to radiate the film’s new core, a super-hero with martial arts moves to challenge the best MA films, but with the MCU origin story as background. Hats off to Marvel for allowing a director to take an origin story in a non-traditional direction.
When a martial arts super-hero comes to mind, you probably don’t immediatlely leap to Benedict Cumberbatch. How about Scott Adkins? Now we’re talking. He’s joined the film, and if his reputation has anything to say about his role in the film, there’s going to be some hard core martial arts scenes. Hopefully, Cumberbatch will be able to keep up.
Adding the multi-dimensional aspect to the film is going to be interesting. We love alternate universes, especially when they enter our own in some way or another. As Dr. Strange is transported from one to another, the accumulation of his experiences will directly impact his home. And we as an audience love that stuff.
Finally, rather than studying and meditating with The Ancient One, as the comic had him do, Dr. Strange appears to be studying martial arts. There will certainly be elements of intellectual and emotional evolution, as this film will allow the character to change dynamically from who he was originally into a more self-aware character who recognizes the emptiness of his past and brings about change in his present and future.
Should be a strange but fantastic journey. Looking forward to the ride!