Hey, Marvel already did a Dr. Strange movie, right?
33 years ago during the heyday of perms and bell-bottoms, CBS made a TV movie starring Peter Hooten as Dr. Strange, a man so boring he makes medical examinations look exciting. Back in the 70s, CBS was king of the superhero TV world, using many Marvel properties on air, but The Incredible Hulk was the only successful one. Dr. Strange is nothing like The Incredible Hulk. I really wish Bill Bixby was in this.
It’s pretty obvious that the first movie length Dr. Strange episode is a pilot, but it just goes on and on. It starts out with some scrolling exposition, then we get a scene between a British demon and Morgan Le Fey. Does it get going at that point? Hell no, there’s more exposition. Then eerie music. Then Morgan goes to Earth and follows around a woman for a while for no reason. 30 to 35 minutes pass without anything happening. The woman with no name goes home. Yay.
Finally, something happens, but we don’t meet Dr. Strange. We meet this old guy, who we’re told, is hundreds of years old. He looks sorta like Stan Lee, or at least his brother. His Asian house-servant seems concerned about something, and Stan Lee’s brother explains that Morgan has taken a taxi to kill him. That’s not good. He does the only thing he can, ordering Wong to find Dr. Strange immediately!
Dr. Strange is quite possibly the most boring man alive. He is a real doctor. In a real hospital. There’s a scene or two with some patients, and he advises a woman about her ulcer. Stop drinking, you idiot, he tells her. She can’t stop! Or won’t. His response is to invite her over for a sleepover at the hospital, where she can spend the night under his watchful supervision, so to speak. This isn’t a busy hospital, because the guy goes to his office and dozes off for a while. He forgot to supervise the lady with the ulcer. Oh well.
Stan Lee finds Morgan on a stupid bridge and they have a stupid confrontation. Morgan possesses the Woman With No Name and she pushes Stan Lee’s brother off the bridge. He lands on the pavement, but he’s okay, because he gets up a few minutes later and just walks off. I guess Morgan walked off too. That confrontation was pointless. It wasn’t even a confrontation, and only served to waste more time to involve The Woman With No Name in a scene. They don’t develop anybody’s character at this point, and even Stan Lee’s brother has no backstory, even though he’s had the most dialogue so far.
The Woman With No Name goes home and has some bad dreams. Some eerie music makes my ears hurt and she runs in front of a wind machine for a few minutes, so the camera can get a good shot of her figure. Good thing they filmed this stupid movie in the dark, but maybe that was to hide the awful production value. After waking up, The Woman With No Name sees Morgan and runs out onto the street, until she trips over her own feet. A taxi driver stops and helps her out, giving her a free ride to the hospital. As we know, this is impossible.
At this point, I turned it off. I can attest to only one thing: nothing actually happens in this movie. Dr. Strange is not heroic and he acts as a sleazy doctor for the majority of the movie. He doesn’t train to be the Sorcerer Supreme. He doesn’t discover any old, magic tombs. There’s no magical mysteries to solve and there certainly isn’t any adventure.
The thing about Dr. Strange is that he is living in the middle of New York City and he’s a little eccentric, not a boring womanizer. He has a lot of magic items and mysterious rooms in his house, which can be excellent fodder for action, or at least camp scenes. A culture clash between New York residents and Dr. Strange himself might also be funny. There’s none of that in this movie. Hopefully, Marvel makes a Dr. Strange movie the opposite of everything in the 1978 version, and ignores my suggestions too. Bring on Dr. Cumberbatch!