12:21pm PT by Aaron Couch
'Doctor Strange': Did It Fix Marvel's Villain Problem and Other Big Questions
Marvel Studios has opened up yet another realm, with Doctor Strange earning a stellar $85 million over the weekend.
It also leaves us with a number of questions about Marvel's future — so it's time for Marvel fans to exercise their vote and weigh in on the important issues Doctor Strange raises for the MCU. (And though it may be impolite, I'll share where my vote is going).
My vote: Yes. The most-oft repeated complaint MCU fans have is that Marvel movies are lacking in the villain department — with only Loki (Tom Hiddleston) gaining general acclaim. Doctor Strange features Kaecilius (Mads Mikkelsen) as a fallen student of The Ancient One (Tilda Swinton), as well as Dormammu (Benedict Cumberbatch provided facial motion capture for the role). More importantly, rather than having nothing but castaway bad guys (never to be seen again), it set up Mordo (Chiwetel Ejiofor) as a villain for possible future installments. Kaecilius and Mordo are analogs of Strange (just as Yellow Jacket was for Ant-Man or Iron Monger was for Iron Man) — but there is a real reason behind their actions, other than greed (Iron Monger) or, just going crazy (Yellow Jacket).
My vote: No. Dormammu gets dangerously close to floating cloud bad guy territory (see: Galactus in Fantastic Four 2), so once was enough. Studio head Kevin Feige has said Marvel films may go smaller after Infinity War — and audiences are tiring of world (or universe)-ending threats.
My vote: No. Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) is the glue keeping the MCU together as its most popular (and most bankable) character. Some day Downey will retire from the role, and on the surface Strange seems like a suitable replacement. Cumberbatch has considerable star power — and Strange even has the goatee and snarky attitude that could make him a natural face of the MCU. But in the comics, the Sorcerer Supreme has generally been off on his own adventures, only joining other heroes on a case-by-case basis. And the MCU is quickly becoming a big enough place that it no longer depends on one character or actor to hold it all together.
My vote: Yes. The good doctor is confirmed for Avengers: Infinity War, and the mid-credits scene heavily implies that he'll be in Thor: Ragnarok. With his huge opening, it makes sense that a Doctor Strange 2 will be a no-brainer. Screenwriter Jon Spaihts previously told Heat Vision he's interested in exploring the status quo of our realm now that The Ancient One is dead and it is without a Sorcerer Supreme. If he's not up and running as Sorcerer Supreme in Infinity War, his path to gaining the title could make good fodder for a sequel.
My vote: Iron Man. How will the two most arrogant members of the MCU react to one another?