Us nerds like nothing more than to banter back and forth on nerdy topics in Slack. Here is one of those chats, very lightly edited.
Weekly Nerd Chat: Anticipating the Doctor Strange Movie
Jason After a surprisingly long wait since the last superhero movie (Suicide Squad), Marvel is making a strange choice and releasing a movie all about a Doctor who can’t operate. What do you guys feel about the Doctor Strange movie and its release into the Marvel Cinematic Universe?
Adkins I have almost no prior exposure to Strange, so my excitement isn’t character based so much as it is studio (Marvel) based.
Clave I’m looking forward to it. Marvel has done a nice job of keeping consistent quality in their movies, while placing them in different genres (Captain America: Winter Soldier = Spy Thriller; Ant-Man = Heist Movie; etc.). Doctor Strange gives us magic, which I’m excited about.
Jason Is magic a genre though? One of the things that has me slightly worried is that I can’t quite place the genre of this one. And, despite its November release, this movie seemed to be playing the wild card slot that Guardians of the Galaxy took 2 years ago and Ant-Man last year.
And you make a great point Adkins. For most people, this movie has one draw: Marvel. Doctor Strange isn’t a household name. Though, my mom did make sure that I knew she was going to join me for the Thursday showing of this movie because…Cumberbatch.
Clave Sure, kinda. When you are in our business, you simply have to be comfortable with genre mashing. Doctor Strange came out in the trippy 70s, but the magic was also a nod to a more classical fantasy understanding of magic from Lord of the Rings, D&D, et al. Comics have always mashed those distinct genres into a shared universe.
Adkins If magic isn’t a genre all of its own, it is definitely a very specific corner of the fantasy genre (See Harry Potter, Now You See Me, The Craft, etc)
Clave I bet you a nickel that the average fan will walk out of the theatre and say, “Cool! It was Marvel with magic.”
Jason This movie does prove a point that I have noticed about the MCU lately: they are spending some money on talent. This movie has a stacked cast and some of it is definitely in some unexpected ways. Tilda Swinton playing the Ancient One, Strange’s mentor is, well, I am not sure how I feel about it.
How do we think that they are going to take the epic-ness of magic and those battles and make it work on the big screen? I am a little worried. Some of the previews feel like “Look, Neo is played by Sherlock” and I think that would be mistake. Yet, they somehow have to have some action sequences that make sense. Unless this is secretly directed by Michael Bay. Then all bets are off on understanding action sequences.
Clave Jaws, I feel like we first need to talk about you. Tell me what has you so worried. You are worried about the genre, you are worried about the casting, you are worried about magic in the screen. Can I hug you? Everything will be OK, this movie will be worth $15, I promise.
Jason Honestly, when my mom put Doctor Strange over Captain America in the hunk category, I am having a hard time recovering. Everything feels discombobulated.
Clave That is understandably concerning. Is it the cheekbones?
Jason She is an Anglo-phile. She watches more British television than any British person in existence. Adkins, I think you have seen some of Doctor Strange in Bendis’ New Avengers run, correct?
Adkins No, man. I’ve got The Oath miniseries queued up on your recommendation, but that is about it.
Here’s how I hope they do things; how I think they could make the magic stuff sensible: Magic does all kinds of crazy stuff, but it isn’t without rules. Treat everything like LEGOs. Here’s how this thing works, here’s how that thing works. Then, once we understand all the pieces individually, build something amazing with them.
Given that this is very much an origin story angle, they could easily do this. We’ll be learning right alongside Strange himself.
Clave Yes, magic has rules! Basically, I just jumped in there because it gave me a chance to drop a link to my own stuff!
I was surprised that Marvel explained the Thor movies with a vaguely scientific approach, so I’m guessing the will tightly frame up magic with rules. Perhaps they’ll say Strange can manipulate the laws of nature? IDK.
Jason I do like the idea that Doctor Strange may be our first hero who relies on his brain first and foremost.
Things to note: Rachel McAdams is in this movie. But she clearly isn’t going to be the Night Nurse, who we are 100% sure is being held down on Netflix by the Rosario Dawson
Clave Does she become the mustache loving Clea?
Jason Magic is going to be a ramped up part of the MCU, in part because of Thanos I think.
And I keep desperately trying to connect the MCU and Netflix Marvel but Iron Fist would work amazingly well if they focused on his mystical attributes.
Clave Yes! ^This.
Clave What do you think? 425 million box office domestically, 700 million worldwide?
Jason Box office is hard to guess. It likely won’t be a film with long legs because the Oscar season starts rolling very soon.
Adkins I’ve seen guesses of $65-$70 million for the opening weekend.
Jason And, scary thought, that amount of money would be seen as a flop.
Clave Even as I typed that, I felt I bet be 50-75 too high with each number. No one is hoping a Doctor Strange movie will be a tentpole like Captain America, but maybe Marvel has enough cache to pull in a 600 million worldwide for a C list character.
Adkins Guardians was almost $95 million, though, and who saw that coming? Maybe it has an edge with a more obvious bent towards comedy, but I keep reading that Doctor Strange’s action sequences are incredible and action movies usually outgross comedies, so who knows?
Jason Captain America? The second worst grossing box office after The Incredible Hulk? Even Ant-man made more than him.
Clave If it can get an $80 million opening and at least a 70 Rotten Tomato score, then Marvel has done it again.
Anyway, they’ll get $15 from me.
Adkins Same. Either of you springing for 3D IMAX? I’m thinking this would warrant the extra money.
Jason I will have to wait for you to give me the high thumbs up for that.
Clave Yes on IMAX.
Jason For sure. Me and my Cumberbatch loving mom will be there. Guesses on what the clips at the end will be?
Clave Heard there were two clips and they’ve been spoiled online. I ran away from the article when I saw the spoiler warning!
Adkins I didn’t read them, either. I wonder if Doctor Strange’s magical awakening will lead to some unwanted attention from one of his iconic big bads. Like Dormammu.
Jason I just want Stephen to find a lowly waif surviving in an extra dimensional world on eggos and go “I think I’ve seen Stranger Things.”