Just returned from seeing the magnificent film depiction of one of my longtime favorites, Doctor Strange! I and great many others have longed for a truly fine version of this guy’s story . I was entranced by this thing when it hit print about 1963 or 1964.That was a pivotal time for my comics reading; having found both Spiderman and the Fantastic Four, along with Sgt Fury and the Howling Commandos, my days as a DC comics guy were largely over . Oh, I kept an eye on Batman and Sgt. Rock , probably why I was so happy to be a three-striper with no ambition to be any more than that .
Marvel had a style that simply spoke to us. Their characters bicker ed, made wisecracks while fighting, didn’t feel so good sometimes, and had spiffier Duds, as well. Then, we saw Stephen Strange with that swirling red cloak and those finger contortions when he cast a spell! Hey , some of us practiced our versions of the spell-hands so we could at least look like the Doctor. Comics in general didn’t suit well with our Southern Baptist mothers and now here was a guy who was “messin’ with the devil”!
But the film takes a few liberties with the canon, most notably with the Ancient One being female instead of the wizened Oriental dude. I am speculating here that the change was made to introduce some diversity, as well as Mordo being black. Also, the character of Wong is elevated from servant to equal, even superior. No big deal. Sometimes it’s hard for us long -time fans of the various superheroes to accept any changes to our favorites . I have a friend who is adamant that Nick Fury has no business being portrayed as African American even though he is black . Kind of set me back to hear that from him . Others are upset over wardrobe choices, but the director of the X-Men said in an interview that purple and yellow spandex doesn’t translate to the screen as well as dark leather.
One thing that is spectacularly well done is the alternate dimensions where Strange confronts Dormammu (chief evil deity). Steve Ditko’s influence is on film view. The tangled, looping elements bring just the right note of psychedelia and weirdness. Altogether satisfying, this could be the best of the Marvel films, yet.