‘Doctor Strange’ looks like the Marvel film Christopher Nolan never made

The trailer is like a play-by-play of his best films


Marvel Studios is one of the world’s most successful film studios, and Christopher Nolan one of the world’s best directors.

Nolan is credited with leading the charge for intelligent blockbusters, creating films of epic scope and intellectual depth – The Dark Knight is still widely regarded as the best comic book film of all time – and Marvel, on the other hand, has monopolised the superhero genre, intricately weaving a shared universe of plots and characters which have made their “Marvel Cinematic Universe” the most successful film franchise in US history.

Unfortunately for nerds all over the world, though, the titans seem unlikely to unite: Nolan’s most successful films were his Batman trilogy, for Marvel’s biggest rival DC Comics.

However Marvel may have just given us the next best thing. The Doctor Strange trailer came out today, and it could easily have come straight from the mind of Nolan himself.

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Let’s look at the evidence.

The exotic locations

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Nolan loves to send his heroes to far-flung places in search of intrigue – Inception took Leo DiCaprio and Tom Hardy to Mumbai, Hong Kong and Paris, while Interstellar sent Matthew McCounaghey careening through black holes in whole other galaxies.

If Doctor Strange’s life-altering journey to the far east looks familiar, it’s probably because it’s very close to Christian Bale’s pilgrimage in Batman Begins: although it was Liam Neeson, not Tilda Swinton, dishing out the words of wisdom in that case.

The human drama

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Critics suggest Marvel offers little dramatic appeal. Its films favour one-liners and visual flair over serious emotional drama. However Doctor Strange’s core story, about a narcissistic surgeon who spirals into depression after losing the use of his hands, has a little more gravitas than the likes of, say, Ant-Man.

Add to that a stellar cast featuring the likes of Benedict Cumberbatch, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Rachel McAdams, and you have an ensemble to rival the likes of The Dark Knight Rises’ first-rate troupe.

The whomp sounds

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The dramatic music in Nolan’s original trailer for Inception spawned a blaring-horns-in-teasers trend which is still yet to die down – the sound effect even has its own website, devoted to making your own life more dramatic.

The trailer for Doctor Strange is no different, borrowing a few well placed bwooooooaaaarghs to throw tension in the viewer’s face.

The mystery

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If there’s one thing Nolan has mastered better than other directors, it’s putting out trailers while keeping something back. Derrickson has clearly learnt a lesson from Batman v Superman’s pre-release saturation, as he’s not telling us a lot about the plot.

Like all the Nolan classics, the teaser makes you wonder what the hell you just watched, which is exactly what a trailer should do.

The trippy special effects

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Nolan’s films are praised for their mind-bending effects, so it’s no mean feat for Doctor Strange director Scott Derrickson to have taken them and made them even trippier.

Interstellar-style kaleidoscopic mind palaces? Check. Inception-style upside-down cities? Check. And this is just the first teaser trailer – anyone who’s read a Doctor Strange comic knows things are going to get a lot weirder.

The fact it looks really, genuinely good

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Because that’s what this is all about: insane Nolan visuals, Marvel characters, a great story and Benedict Cumberbatch in a cape.

What more could you ask for?