Can Dr. Strange restore Marvel’s momentum?

Poster for Dr. Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

Until 2019, Walt Disney Co.’s Marvel Studios was a juggernaut. The Marvel brand seemingly could do no wrong beginning with 2008’s Iron Man and running through 2019’s Avengers: Endgame.

Since then? Marvel has had more than a few bumps in the road.

Some of that can be attributed to a pandemic. Marvel had to delay some movie releases.

At the same time, Marvel saw some of its best-known characters fall by the wayside. Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron was killed off in Avengers: Endgame. Chris Evans’ Captain America retired in the same movie.

Since then, Marvel has, mostly, relied on lesser-known characters in its catalog. Shang Chi. The Eternals. The one major hit was Spider-Man No Way Home, which Marvel made for Sony (which holds the film rights to the character). That 2021 film was a huge success, generating almost $1.9 billion at the global box office.

On May 6, Marvel gets another shot with Dr. Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.

Dr. Strange is an unlikely choice to hang the future of a big franchise. The character was created by artist Steve Ditko in the early 1960s. Even in those days, the sorcerer was never the most popular Marvel character.

Still, Dr. Strange was a significant character in Spider-Man No Way Home as well as two Avengers films plus his own 2016 movie.

The leaders of Marvel Studios may or may not have chosen Dr. Strange to spearhead a comeback for the studio. But it has worked out that way.

As ever, we’ll see how it plays out.

2 Responses

  1. They didn’t choose it, it was supposed to precede Spider-Man and they had to rejigger some things like removing a Dr. Strange character from the Spidey film and give those beats to the Ned character.

  2. “Dr. Strange is an unlikely choice to hang the future of a big franchise.”

    Marvel became the juggernaut it is by exactly this formula. In 2008 Iron Man was at least as unlikely a choice on which to build an empire. Marvel had sold off the film rights to their big hitters like Spider-Man, X-Men, Fantastic Four and others. They built a series of movies based on mostly secondary characters (Thor? Antman? Guardians of the Galaxy?!?) that regularly pummel the competition by hiring writers, directors, crews and inspired casts that understand the enduring appeal of the source material and try to live up to it. It’s the same formula that worked for the early Bond movies, just applied to another genre.

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