The theatrical release of Doctor Strange, the next big screen installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, is but a fews weeks away at the time of writing this. That means the film’s marketing is entering the homestretch and won’t be unveiling much more in the way of previously-unseen footage from director Scott Derrickson’s origin story for the one-and-future Sorcerer Supreme, Dr. Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch). Of course, that doesn’t mean the Marvel Studios marketing machine is done rolling out new TV spots (and more) for the film down the assembly line.
Case in point: above, we have the latest Doctor Strange TV spot, featuring the same clip from the film’s IMAX preview, wherein Strange’s magical master instructor Wong (Benedict Wong) name-drops the Avengers; explaining that while Earth’s Mightiest Heroes protect humanity from “physical dangers,” he and other practitioners of the magic arts battle more “mystical threats.” Most of the remainder of the TV spot features familiar, but still trippy, footage from Derrickson’s Marvel movie, including the now-famous shot of The Ancient One (Tilda Swinton) sending Strange on his first (literal) trip through the MCU multiverse.
The latest Doctor Strange TV spot also features a healthy dose of the MCU’s now trademark self-aware humor, with Strange appearing less-than-impressed by Baron Mordo’s (Chiwetel Ejiofor) vague, if intriguing, request that he “forget everything that he thinks he knows.” Levity along these lines is par for the course when it comes to the MCU “brand” at this point, and none more so than when it comes to the MCU films’ requisite Stan Lee cameo. As it were, the 15 minutes of footage previewed from Doctor Strange at a special IMAX event for the movie has already revealed when – and how – Lee pops up this time around, too.
It might go without saying, but – MILD SPOILERS for Doctor Strange ahead!
Here is the description of Lee’s cameo in the Doctor Strange footage shown during said special IMAX preview (h/t Comic Book):
In what looks like one of the most epic foot chases in cinematic history, Doctor Strange and Mordo are running down streets, up building sides, and across the sky as the world warps around them. After Kaecilius bends the building on which Mordo and Strange are running, they fall to the ground and into the side of a bus. As they fall, the camera angle switches to a point of view from inside the bus, revealing Stan Lee reading Aldous Huxley’s The Doors of Perception. As Strange and Mordo smash into the bus’ window, Lee bursts out saying, “Now, that’s hilarious!” until the camera swaps again and the chase continues.
By and large, it sounds as though Doctor Strange has all the ingredients one would expect to find in the recipe for a successful MCU movie (shiny action, intriguing world-building, lighthearted comedy) – which could be both a good and bad thing, depending on how you look at it. Some have argued that Marvel Studios’ film have a distinct “formula” that, when applied during the printed page to screen adaptation process, could make even a property as unique as Doctor Strange feel derivative, after being reshaped to fit the MCU mold. It’s for related reasons that an MCU movie such as Ant-Man is frequently praised for its unusual components (the miniaturization effects, heist genre elements), while at the same time being criticized for its over-used superhero origin story tropes.
On the other hand, that “formula” (as indicated before) is one that has rendered what many would agree are fun and entertaining superhero films in the past; and being armed with a great cast and a talented director calling the shots, in addition to being the first MCU film to really dip its feet into the magical side of the universe, certainly works in Doctor Strange‘s favor. If Captain America: Civil War set a precedent for Phase 3 MCU films to step up their games in every respect, then hopefully that will extend to Doctor Strange being a better variation on the archetypical superhero origin movie too.
Doctor Strange opens November 4, 2016; Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 – May 5, 2017; Spider-Man: Homecoming – July 7, 2017; Thor: Ragnarok – November 3, 2017; Black Panther – February 16, 2018; Avengers: Infinity – May 4, 2018; Ant-Man and the Wasp – July 6, 2018; Captain Marvel– March 8, 2019; Untitled Avengers – May 3, 2019; and as-yet-untitled Marvel movies on July 12, 2019, and on May 1, July 10, and November 6 in 2020.