Marvel is just not letting up. These past two weeks we’ve been receiving a seemingly endless push of content and news from the comic book-movie superpower: Luke Cage, the Iron Fist trailer, the Defenders announcement at New York Comic Con. Now, they’ve screened a full 15 minutes of mind-melting IMAX footage from their November 4th release Doctor Strange. I can tell you first-hand, it’s a wonderful time to be a nerd.
The IMAX preview was essentially a 15 minute trailer, speeding through the beats of the story until we get to the big five minute set piece they wanted to show. Considering Doctor Strange’s high concept plot, it was a smart move to show us highlights of his origin story before we start having fun with action scenes.
The footage begins with clips showcasing Benedict Cumberbatch’s Steven Strange, and his life as a cocky surgeon before becoming the Sorcerer Supreme. He flirts with Rachel McAdams’s doctor character, and we see instances of his push to take the most prestigious medical cases. Finally, we see him swipe through cases on his phone while driving. He crashes off a bridge, ending his career in the second-best IMAX car crash of the year after 10 Cloverfield Lane.
Then the fun starts.
We see quick shots of his travels through the mountains to the home of The Ancient One, played by Tilda Swinton. This new footage of her is a bit more promising than the initial trailers suggested. As far as the controversy surrounding the casting of Swinton (her character is an Asian man in the comics) I can only say that, for better or worse, she is simply playing another weird Tilda Swinton character. In the few clips of her we were shown, this works. She explains to Strange the idea of a multiverse, and how he can learn to master it if he tries. She then pushes his spirit out of his body and into a glorious five minutes of IMAX eye-candy. Truly the visuals we see in this segment are beyond description. My jaw honestly dropped at the kaleidoscope of surrealist visual insanity they were showing me. Clearly, this was the moment they wanted to showcase in the preview, and I’m glad they did. While I was once rather skeptical of the Doctor Strange movie, the effects and images they displayed in these 15 minutes not only sold me on the movie, but sold me on seeing it in full out IMAX. It is honestly incredible. Picture the ending of 2001: A Space Odyssey crossed with Inception and a lava lamp and shown in epic IMAX 3D. It’s intense. We then wrap up the trailer with action shots of Chiwetel Ejiofor’s character and Dr. Strange teaming up to battle Mads Mikkelsen’s villain in a mind-melting, M.C. Escher-style New York as it collapses in on itself.
Overall, I enjoyed the run through of the movie. I think the plot and performances look fine. It would seem like standard Marvel fare if it weren’t for that multiverse scene in the middle. The visual storytelling seems to really be this movie’s strongest suit, and I cannot wait to see more of it!
Marvel Studios released this short video earlier today highlighting some of the new footage from the IMAX preview.
Doctor Strange comes out on November 4th.