By now everyone has already seen Marvel’s Doctor Strange first teaser trailer, which debuted on Jimmy Kimmel Live on Tuesday. What I’m wondering is if anybody has thought, for a moment, if the movie’s director could be a surprise-egg Christopher Nolan. Cos’ the first thing I’ve thought upon seeing the trailer? “Wait … is this a Dark Knight/Inception crossover?” that’s the first thing I thought.
The trailer shows us a disheveled Benedict Cumberbatch searching for a new life reason and begging for the teachings of warrior monk Tilda Swinton (a casting who raised some justified objections). The parallel with Nolan’s Batman Begins and the Chris Bale/Liam Neeson mountain training combo are quite blatant. And shall we talk about the mind games and reversed cities? That’s some 100% Inception scenery!
It’s not as silly as it sounds. Cinema is a visual art. The aesthetics and the imaginary of a movie are a fundamental part of its development and its identity, because the plastic and figurative aspects of a text are often the very first thing we pay attention to.
As superheroes movies goes, DC Comics productions and Marvel productions have always differentiated themselves via two different imaginary. We are accustomed to a brighter, bolder, more colorful look for Marvel movies, and a somber, darker look for DC movies. Considering the box office success of both the Dark Knight trilogy – which pretty much redefined Batman’s imaginary for the wider, non-comic reader audience – and the Avengers phenomenon, it’s quite strange (pun intended) to think of a Marvel movie sporting such a serious look.
Doctor Strange will hit the theaters on November 4. From the look of it, it will be another origin story, the first of Marvel Cinematic Universe Phase Three. Stephen Strange sure is a moral grey character, an egoistical and brilliant surgeon who stumbles into mystical powers while searching for a way to cure his damaged hands – and thus regain his personal abilities, the protection of the world far from his thoughts at the beginning of his super hero story.
Paired with the upcoming inner struggles in Civil War, it’ll be interesting to see if this somber, more adult imagery will spreed to the whole MCU, and with which consequences in terms of world building and revenues.