Fans attending a special free preview of 15 minutes of Doctor Strange footage were greeted with a special treat. Marvel Studios impresario Kevin Feige and the film’s director Scott Derrickson introduced the screening hyping the film’s intentional use of IMAX technology to display the most immersive experience possible. Then, a short video intro of star Benedict Cumberbatch was played also hyping the test footage. In it, Cumberbatch joked at using his magical powers not only to save the world but also to make a more luminous movie viewing experience after waving his arms as the video footage expanded to full IMAX frame ratio.
Without delving too far into spoiler-y territory the short cut is an elongated take on the formal first trailer and much of the preview footage Marvel showed at San Diego Comic Con this year. The good news there was it allowed for more time for the dramatic elements to breathe. Jokes played better, world altering visuals were far more stunning and the lack of frantic trailer cuts allowed each line with the pacing and sincerity it truly required.
The footage started with an opening in a hospital where Cumberbatch’s Stephen Strange and Rachel McAdams‘ character having a conversation hunting at a prior relationship. Then, it shifted into a more-or-less complete sequence showing the accident that takes Strange’s hands (he’s driving and talking about possible surgical operations he could elect to do). After that it shifted to an elongated look at Strange’s first meeting with the Ancient One (Tilda Swinton) where she reveals to him the breadth of her powers throwing him through numerous alternate realities. This featured far more of the brain ride than the formal trailer, showing vibrant, colorful realities beyond compare. Some luminous and breathtaking, others like a surrealist nightmare (one featured hands endlessly growing out of fingers).
From there the footage included a brief sequence showing the comedic interplay between Cumberbatch and Benedict Wong’s character Wong. After that, it was all showing off the power of the IMAX 3D footage including twisted reality fighting between Strange and Mads Mikkelson‘s Keacilius and other dimensional conjuring. One sequence spoiled Stan Lee’s cameo (we won’t spill the beans on that here) and another hinted at some kind of extra dimensional adversary. Some kind of evil face in a storm of dark matter, but it was only on screen for a second.
Needless to say, the visual presentation was thrilling and that’s clearly what Marvel Studios were aiming for, to build hype for IMAX screenings of the movie. Based on this, it looks like Doctor Strange is going to be another jackpot success for Marvel.