Love It Or Hate It? Benedict Cumberbatch’s ‘Doctor Strange’ Threads
A bunch of photos of Benedict Cumberbatch and pals filming Doctor Strange on the streets of New York arrived online this past weekend, offering us our first glimpse of some of the characters, including Chiwetel Ejiofor as Baron Mordo and Mads Mikkelsen as an unnamed villain.
The photos also offered our clearest look at Cumberbatch in his full Strange regalia, and while it's not a perfect reproduction of his famous Steve Ditko costume or any of its established variations, it's perhaps more faithfully comic-booky than most of us expected. So what do we think of Cumberstrange? Do we love it, or do we hate it? We convened a roundtable of ComicsAlliance writers Elle Collins, Luke Brown, Kieran Shiach and Andrew Wheeler to break it down!
Kieran: I like it a lot. I'm not sure I'd go so far as to say that I "love" it, but it certainly looks like Doctor Strange.
Luke: I think they look nice. It’s about as close to a modern day interpretation you could do of these characters without making them look like Medieval Times wizards. They do look a little over-designed though. Who needs that many belts? It’s just a bit too much like role-playing game character design. Then again, they are standing still, which tends to make all movie costumes look a little bit silly.
Kieran: I've kinda hit a fatigue with costumes, and it might be because Marvel Studios generally does a pretty great job with making them accurate to what we know, but I can't remember the last character that I saw that made me go "Oh my god, they actually look like the comics"
Wheeler: My immediate first point of comparison was Hocus Pocus; this is a very movie idea about how magic-users should dress, with all the tassels and jewelry. But that's kind of fair enough, fiction has a pretty solid monopoly on magic, so you can go a little crazy. Also I admit that I'm tickled to imagine how the Sanderson sisters react to these doofs.
But despite mocking the costumes, I actually like how well they balance "goofy" and "plausible," where "plausible" is defined in a Marvel movies context.
Kieran: They could have always gone with the Matrix costume he had that one time. It works for the X-Men.
Luke: Yes, thank the Ancient One they didn’t go full Criss Angel.
Elle: I really am impressed with how much this looks like Doctor Strange and Baron Mordo. When they announced Cumberbatch in the role, I was 100% expecting movie Strange to just be him with a goatee in a black overcoat. So seeing all this blue and red (and Mordo's green) is encouraging.
Less encouraging is how much the Eye of Agamotto looks like a homemade DIY prop. It doesn't give off an "ancient" vibe to me at all. But maybe when I see it glowing with power I'll be more impressed. And I do like that cape a lot.
Kieran: I am 100% certain that the Eye has an Infinity Stone in it. Something about the way it hangs bugs me, but I can't put my finger on it.
Elle: Hadn't thought of that, but yeah, there's no way there's not an Infinity Stone in there.
I've heard people talking about the Asian influences in these costumes, and how that only makes it more frustrating that there are no Asian people in the main cast of the movie. And I have to agree that that's a problem. I'm sure Cumberbatch will act his heart out as Stephen Strange, but there's really no reason an Asian actor couldn't have gotten the role.
Wheeler: It's especially frustrating that Doctor Strange is coming out the same year as Daredevil season two, and the same year that Iron Fist goes into production. The treatment of Asian people as supporting cast and swarming minions in those productions looks like a pattern of disdain for Asian heroes and Asian audiences, and that demands a course correction
As for the Eye, I hope it'll look better on the screen, and I think we're all conscious of the fact that how these costumes appear in photos snapped on the set does not give us the final word on how they'll actually look!
Kieran: I always think with stuff like this, "Does he stand in front of the mirror putting like ten belts on?"
Wheeler: God, I hope that's not Wong's job.
Luke: Yeah, it’s like that old joke about Lenny Kravitz having to put on a bamboo shirt just to go to 7-11. Does Strange have to get all geared up when he needs some Eye of Newt from the local mystical mini-mart?
Elle: Maybe I'm cynical about comic book movies and their fear of ridiculousness, but I do find myself wondering if he's going to walk around NYC for the whole movie dressed like this, or if this is a "just got home from wizard training" thing, and he'll have a more normal outfit for most of the movie's New York scenes. Sort of like how movie Thor owns a winged helmet but rarely wears it.
Luke: We’ve seen other shots of him out of the costume but with the same color palette, so you’re probably on the right path.
Do you like the look of Benedict Cumberbatch's Doctor Strange? Let us know in the comments, and vote in the poll below!