(Welcome to Road to Endgame, where we revisit the first 22 movies of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and ask “How did we get here?” In this edition: Marvel Studios enters spiritual territory with Doctor Strange.)
Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) adheres to Hollywood’s orientalist “white saviour” tradition, and Doctor Strange even whitewashes an already complicated Tibetan character, The Ancient One — an issue that has since been discussed from all angles (including by the director). However, in other, less apparent ways, the film proved to be Marvel’s first step into a larger world, one outside the series’ American and western defaults.
Marvel Studios had seen the occasional non-American setting thus far; London in Thor: The Dark World, South Korea in Avengers: Age of Ultron, various vaguely Middle Eastern towns in Iron Man. Doctor Strange however, felt like the beginning of a more noteworthy trend, one wherein not just the locations, but the creative viewpoints felt fresh.
The series’ shift in artistic worldview continued noticeably through the likes of Thor: Ragnarok and Black Panther (and more subtly with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2), with Marvel slowly beginning to cater to a wider array of perspectives. The MCU began to introduce ideas that felt more eastern, more non-white and more postcolonial in approach, rather than the series continuing its bad habit of harping half-heartedly on American militarism.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe began as military propaganda eight years prior. Iron Man, the first film in the series, was subsidized by the U.S. Department of Defense, and thus, its script had to be military-approved (as was the case with Iron Man 2, Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Captain Marvel). By 2016, the MCU had evolved into a landscape-dominating phenomenon, for better and for worse. On the “better” side lies Doctor Strange which, despite the film’s white, western gaze towards some of its characters, is not only aesthetically alluring, but employs eastern philosophies like Buddhism and Taoism to build its narrative framework — a far cry from the way most Hollywood stories are told.
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With Avengers: Endgame right around the corner, we’re getting closer to learning exactly what Marvel Studios has planned for the future. But as Kevin Feige previously said, any solid plans for the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe won’t be officially announced until after Spider-Man: Far From Home hits theaters in July. However, we at least know where one of Marvel’s future movies will be shooting.
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You may not be able to fly or punch a planet, but you could prove to have the endurance of a superhero with a Marvel movie marathon that could earn you $1,000. In anticipation of the release of Avengers: Endgame, Cable.TV.com is offering people the chance to earn $1,000 and a ton of Marvel swag — if they can watch 20 movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe nonstop. Talk about a dream job.
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Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is chock-full of characters and cameos, but there was one planned cameo that never came to fruition. Doctor Strange was originally set to make an appearance in Sony’s acclaimed animated superhero movie, but never made it past the first draft.
Producers Phil Lord and Chris Miller, the former of which co-wrote the screenplay alongside Rodney Rothman, explained why the Doctor Strange Spider-Man Into the Spider-Verse cameo never came to be.
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Rest in peace Marvel Comics legend Stan Lee, who passed away this morning in Los Angeles. Without him, we would have significantly less bits about superheroes to write about. We’ll miss you, Stan.
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We haven’t even seen the first trailer for Avengers 4 yet, but here and there new details keep emerging that give us an idea of just how large in scope the conclusion of this era of the Marvel Cinematic Universe will be.
Last week, word that a certain Captain America character would make an appearance in Avengers 4 was brought to light thanks to the stars who plays them making the confirmation. Now one of the executive producers of Avengers 4 has revealed that a character from another franchise will also have some kind of role in the highly anticipated Marvel sequel. Keep reading below, but beware of spoilers. Read More »