HitFix

Doctor Strange is Marvel’s most unlikable superhero to date

On the whole, I liked Doctor Strange, the movie. But I would have liked it a lot more if I had liked Dr. Strange, the person. He's pretty terrible, did you notice?

Let me preface this by saying I'm a comic book person, but I've never read a Doctor Strange comic so that factors into my opinions on the film and its main character. If that bothers you, maybe stop reading now instead of harping on me for not reading the comics. You shouldn't have to have read the comics to understand Marvel's films (or any adaptations for that matter).

[Some small spoilers to follow for Doctor Strange.]

OK, we good?

Disney and Marvel's Doctor Strange was number one this weekend with a $84.9 million box office take domestically, making it the tenth largest openings for an MCU film. As far as the solo outings are concerned, it did better than the first Captain America, Thor, and Ant-Man films but wasn't able to surpass the opening weekend for 2008's Iron Man. It's interesting because I've been seeing a lot of people comparing both characters, as I did at first.

It's an easy comparison to make. Dr. Stephen Strange, the narcissist surgeon who cares more about himself than his patients and Tony Stark, the self-proclaimed “Genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist.” On the surface it sure seems like they're similar characters, both are certainly full of themselves, but where Tony started and where his origin story took him is leagues away from Stephen.

While I liked the movie for its visual impact, I realized walking out of the theater I just really hated Benedict Cumberbatch's Dr. Strange. He is so over the top, unlikeable in every way. If I were ancient mystical energies, I would have kicked him to the curb of Kamar-Taj and never reopened the door. He has no redeeming qualities that I witnessed.

I know they were trying to fix what they felt were other serious issues by casting Tilda Swinton as the Ancient One, but Celtic-origins handwaving aside, her inclusion didn't help what was already a story utilizing the trope of a white man coming into a culture and teachings he knows nothing about (and in this case is entirely willing to make light of because of his ignorance) and becoming more adept than those who came before him. But before he even got to Nepal, Stephen was a grade-A jerk.

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