HUGE Doctor Strange Villain Confirmation

As I’ve said before, and bears repeating; I really hate spoilers. There’s often something about the early reveal of crucial plot-points that reeks of someone out to steal everyone else’s joy.

That being said, what I stumbled upon an article from it confirmed what I long hoped about the latest entry to the Marvel Cinematic Universe (or MCU) long before it even hit theaters. 

Namely, the identity of Doctor Strange’s enemy (and I don’t mean Kaecilius, played by Mads Mikkelson, below)

What tipped me off were his eyes and how the prosthetic he’s wearing looks as if he were burned.  

When I saw that I KNEW almost immediately who was either pulling Kaecilius’s strings or manipulating him to do his dirty work.

And that puppet master is the lord of the Dark Dimension!

As a result I don’t think that it’s a spoiler more so than a confirmation because people who know Marvel’s Master of the Mystic Arts probably suspected it all along, and those who aren’t familiar with him it won’t matter all that much for that very reason.  

The Origin Of The (Cinematic) Universe, Part One

‘Early Milky Way’ image via

Success breeds imitation, and in the past ten years few movie companies have been successful as Marvel Studios.

And while many in the Hollywood community seem surprised, if they had any idea of the pent-up demand for seeing characters like Iron Man, Falcon and many others that millions of people have grown up with from Marvel Comics, on the silver screen, they probably wouldn’t have been.

Though what made Marvel Studios such a success wasn’t superheroes in and of themselves (despite the aforementioned demand) but the way they were presented.

What Kevin Feige, President of Marvel Studios, brought to the table was the creation of an integrated cinematic universe, the likes of much had never been seen in movies before (coupled with extremely faithful interpretations of the characters).

And as far as ‘imitation’ goes, other companies have tried to mimic the approach of Marvel  Studios, with varying degrees of success.

Sony Pictures attempted to create a cinematic universe based on Spider-Man with The Amazing Spider-Man movies. After an initially strong showing, the sequel–while profitable–indicated a definite downward trend, financially speaking, for the franchise.

So they, perhaps anticipating the franchise falling precipitously enough that the rights would eventually revert back to Marvel, instead entered into a deal where future Spider-Man movies would be under Marvel Studios’ creative control, while both studios produced (some have written that the upcoming movies would be produced exclusively by Sony, with Marvel providing only creative control.  This literally makes no sense at all because having only creative control gives Marvel Studios relatively little, while granting Sony access to the uber-successful Marvel Cinematic Universe (Iron Man, played by Robert Downey Jr., is one of the most successful Marvel Studios’ characters, who’ll next appear in Spider-Man: Homecoming). 

Universal Pictures plans to create a cinematic universe based upon Dracula, Frankenstein’s Monster, the Wolf Man and the Mummy (which is filming with Tom Cruise in the lead).  At this point it’s too early to tell how well it will do.

What’s perhaps most surprising is the current position of DC Films in the world of the cinematic universe.  ‘Surprising’ because before Marvel Studios was barely an idea they were producing movies based upon Superman and Batman.  The problem was that–for reasons that will probably never be entirely known–they never built and expanded their offerings, despite seemingly ample opportunities to do so.

Doctor Strange End Titles Score

I’d be the first person to admit that the scores for most Marvel Studios movies have been less than memorable (at this point only two tracks from Henry Jackman’s theme to Captain America: The Winter Soldier stick in my mind at, and those are ‘Winter Soldier’ and ‘Lemurian Star’) and that’s taking into account ALL their movies.

That being said, Michael Giacchino’s score–the End Titles at any rate–are particularly fascinating because it sounds to me evocative of The Moody Blues in songs like Knights In White Satin, with instruments that sound like guitars, sitars and drums taking center stage.

There’s a curious lack of menace to it though, which is fascinating because if the music that accompanies the trailer is any indicator, then Giacchino’s score holds a few surprises.

You Need Faith For That To Work, Mr. Vincent!

Screenshot 2016-07-24 00.45.09That’s paraphrasing vampire Jerry Dandridge (Chris Sarandon) to Peter Vincent (Roddy McDowall) from Tom Holland’s 1985 Fright Night, though it fits what I think I’m seeing from Marvel Studios’ upcoming Doctor Strange.

It feels almost as if Kevin Feige (or his bosses at Disney, maybe) has a bit less faith in it than in prior projects.

And keep in mind that this is the studio that created hits based on a guy who can shrink to the size of an ant and another which had at its heart (and as its heart) a talking tree and a raccoon.

And if that wasn’t enough there’s director Scott Derrickson’s proven record of success, though probably the biggest thing he tackled prior was 2008’s The Day The Earth Stood Still.

Which did well, though not remarkably so, at the box office.

There’s no other way that I can explain the 15-minute preview Marvel Studios has  released in theaters that showcases the (hopefully) unique visuals that the movie has to offer.

In a character like Doctor Strange the visuals are a HUGE part of what makes him who he is, so much so that you literally cannot divorce him from them; so revealing them too early potentially spoils–or at the least undermines–an important aspect of the movie.

And I could be wrong–after all, I haven’t seen it–but I’d think that the less the audience sees of the prior to seeing the movie, the better.

Power Rangers Are GO (Apologies To The Thunderbirds)

I wouldn’t call myself a fan of the Power Rangers–there are too many things that I can’t quite get my head around about them that get in the way, such as why is it that the lower section of their masks (which are actually helmets by the way) molded like the lower section of a human face?  Wouldn’t it be easier just to show that part of the actors’ actual faces?

And I get that the Power Rangers began as an import from Japan, so the people playing the Rangers during action scenes weren’t the same people who played them in other sequences, but (hopefully?) that issue is being dealt with in the upcoming movie, so it makes little sense to continue with the full-face helmet/mask.

And speaking of that, an actors’ face is one of the most important tools in the craft.

Seeing that you’re removing that from the equation with the Power Rangers (unless they’re going to do like Marvel Studios does with Iron Man) it seems you’re losing a lot of value.

That being said, the the new motion poster they just released is pretty bad-ass.

Valerian And The City Of A Thousand Planets – Poster


Lucy Besson, while a visually sumptuous director, is not a terribly original writer–which may have a little to do with him settling with John Carpenter over his 2012 movie Lockout, which was essentially Escape From New York aboard a space station.

Lucy, directed by Besson in 2014, fared particularly well financially, though many considered the story (about a woman, played by Scarlett Johansson, who though a mysterious drug gains the ability to unlock the unused potential of the human mind and gain god-like powers) as particularly dopey.

He’s back in 2017 with Valerian And The City Of A Thousand Planets–a title that on its face doesn’t make sense–that’s based on a French comic series by Jean-Claude Méziéres.

I hope it does well mainly because many European comics don’t get nearly the recognition here that they do there, and it would be good for people to expand their knowledge of such things beyond what we see presented by Marvel Studios and DC Films.