As mainstream audiences are still going gaga over superheroes and villains, Marvel ensures that they take advantage with live action Hollywood movies of comic book characters coming out several times a year. And one of the most awaited characters coming out this year is Doctor Strange. They couldn’t have chosen a better actor to portray this mystical sorcerer than Benedict Cumberbatch. Whether he is playing the villain Khan, the genius Alan Turing, or just being the voice of Smaug, Cumberbatch is an absolute powerhouse of an actor.
The trailer released last week teased fans with fabulous special effects that promised a movie as mind-boggling as Inception and action scenes no sorcerer in Harry Potter can match. All of a sudden, Tony Stark, Stever Rogers, and even Spiderman seemed stale. I was no longer interested in the upcoming civil war. I just wanted to see Cumberbatch and his magic.
Of course, no big movie comes out without some bit of controversy. This time it’s another outcry from fans on Hollywood’s alleged whitewashing of movie characters. Some movie executives prefer to call it colorblind casting. Tilda Swinton plays the role of the Ancient One, Strange’s mentor who is portrayed in the comic books as an old Tibetan monk. I believe audiences can forgive the gender change due to Swinton’s ability to easily play masculine roles. But it would appear that her Caucasian features is the problem. It’s like saying that Austrian Heinrich Harrer could’ve replaced the Dalai Lama in Seven Years in Tibet. Was it really that difficult to find a good Asian actor to play the Ancient One?
Let’s just hope that Swinton’s acting makes up for this gender and race issue. Regardless of complaints from comic book fans, it’s almost certain they would not miss Doctor Strange even if it rained fire and ice on November 4. Here’s the trailer . . .