The appearance of Dr. Stephen Strange in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is a long time coming for a lot of Marvel fans, so expectations and emotions are running high (You hear that, Marvel?!). There's been a lot of talk about how he'll be introduced, and even more about how his role will grow to occupy an independent place within the MCU. I love listening in on these idle wonderings, because at the heart of it is what the real fans truly want to see in a feature.
Here are 5 things we want for a Doctor Strange movie. And Marvel: Don't f*%k it up.
1. Don't futz with the origin story
Stephen Strange's [origin story](http://marvel.com/universe/DoctorStrange(StephenStrange) may not be as high-tension and explodey as other heroes under the Marvel banner, so the temptation to make it more straightforwardly accessible might rear its deceptive little head. But, really, don't mess with it. <img alt="" src="http://d1fgn7wex1bhjn.cloudfront.net/assets/tarantulaV2/embeddedimages/13638153701363815241250px-MS083120050010.jpg" class="left" >
It's actually one of the cooler origins out there and suitably angsty for today's high emo-quotient. Imagine a kid tormented by demons (oooh, it's almost like Paranormal Activity) who is destined to inherit the mantle of Sorcerer Supreme. He's a genius who becomes a wunderkind surgeon at an obscenely young age. He's tapped by fate to later suffer a crippling, career-ending injury that causes him to re-evaluate his life. He finds his calling in ancient mystical arts, taught to him by an Ancient One (natch) in Tibet (natch, squared) who he saves from death and from whom he takes on his predestined title, fulfilling his fate. That's pushing existential; radioactive insect bites this is not.
The appeal of Stephen Strange's story is that he goes from someone scientific to someone supernatural. He goes from a selfish, materialistic narcissist to someone who -- despite occasionally ambiguous morals -- does the right thing, even if it means saving one of his arch-enemies, Dormammu, from the Mindless Ones. He's the epitome of rational objectivity transmuted by the alchemy of purpose into someone who literally is an instrument of the supernatural. How cool is that?
2. Let him be his age
This is so important. Yes, we know it's Hollywood; that people want escapism and fear death, so they just want to see young people doing the impossible. But really, think about it. Doctor Strange is a genius doctor-cum-mystical hero who fights to save people from demons and other nasty characters. I think that pretty much covers all the requirements of escapism right there.
In the comic canon, Stephen Strange begins his mystical journey in his early 30s. By then, he's already been a virtuoso surgeon for quite some time. He doesn't need to be in his early 20s. In fact, he shouldn't. He needs that time to soar to Icarus-like heights of ego such that when he has his accident and suffers the nerve-damage that ends his career, he has a crisis of hubris that tears him down and leaves him a blank canvas for his true esoteric calling.
When he arrives at that calling, he goes through years of training by the Ancient One. Think of it as a very long residency. The kind that might leave you with some salt and pepper in the hair. Besides, isn't that part of his distinctive look?
3. Don't water down the magic
Don't try to make it "real" or explainable. It's magic. He's an otherworldly, supernaturally based hero who suffocates people with mists and can dreamwalk. Leave it that way. Don't even think of touching his magical objects (heh heh). That's one of the things that makes him so great, in my opinion. Just like Iron Man has his gadget-filled suit, Batman has his awesome tools of the crimefighting trade (and a belt to go with, even) and, dare I say it... James Bond has 007's little helpers, so does Dr. Stephen Strange.
A quick taste of what you could see: The Eye of Agamotto, The Cloak of Levitation, The Shackles of Sheol, The Cauldron of the Cosmos... you see where we're going here? No only ace in terms of SFX potential, but very rad practical effects value, too.
4. Give his villains some play
I don't care what anyone might say about some of the admittedly silly names that some of Doctor Strange's arch-enemies might have (Eel, The Spanker, I'm talking about you two), his villains are good value. The guest list reads like a Who's Who of Marvel Evil. [Doctor Doom](http://marvel.com/universe/DoctorDoom(VictorvonDoom). Oh, and Galactus. Hey there, Mephisto. Who's that you brought with you? Right, it's Baron Strucker, aka Charnel. Don't forget Thanos. Yes, THAT Thanos.
What intrigues me even more is that Strange goes up against some formidable female enemies. A Doctor Strange feature worth its Bolts of Balthakk would capitalize on this equal opportunity magcial smackdown policy and give us some ass-kicking villainesses like main lady-arch Clea, [Dreadlox](http://marvel.wikia.com/EstelleHawkins(Earth-616), [Casiolena](http://marvel.wikia.com/Casiolena_(Earth-616), [Dream Weaver](http://marvel.wikia.com/BarbaraRobb(Earth-616), [Salome](http://marvel.wikia.com/Salome_(Earth-616), Lilith and Madame Masque. Yeah, there are more. The point is, Marvel could use this rich line-up of lady bad-asses to add some more gender diversity to its currently female-sparse ranks.
5. Update his costume
This is a biggie. I'm not saying change it radically, giving him a S.H.I.E.L.D riot gear look. Keep the class, the tailoring. He is a man of taste, after all. Step away from the cape in its current form, let's re-imagine it a little . Update the suit, perhaps. Maybe give him a bit of a Mad Men-tinged makeover? Get Tom Ford or Jean Paul Gaultier on the case; they've both done phenomenal clothing for equally phenomenal films. Hell, I bet even Karl Lagerfeld, with his healthy appreciation for pop culture, would consider it.
Now that Dr. Orpheus is out there on the Venture Bros. and is pretty much a direct parody of Doctor Strange, anything that resembles the classic pinstripe suit/cape/vaguely Carpathian Count-like neckwear won't let us see the spiritually charged hero underneath. Let's let him evolve a little aesthetically, away from what can appear tantamount to a Vincent Price-esque playacting costume from the 60s (there, I said it) and bring him into a look that reflects a persona. A really slick, current, savvy and respect-worthy persona.
So that's what I've got for a good Doctor Strange movie. Got something to add? Tell me and join the conversation below.
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