If there’s one thing we geeks love to do, it’s wax theoretical on all the things that could’ve or should’ve been in regards to our favorite characters or properties. From an unseen final season to a never-produced line of action figures, we want them. Now. Make it So!
For the past five years, Marvel Studios has successfully built a unified world within their superhero films that culminated beautifully in last year’s The Avengers. With all the clout they gained in Hollywood from that mega-successful film, they predictably will be going back to the well with Iron Man 3 and sequels to Captain America and Thor, but they are also taking a few risks by bringing more obscure characters such as Ant-Man and the Guardians of the Galaxy to the big screen in their own films. Marvel recently announced that plans are in motion to bring Doctor Strange to the screen in their next phase of movies following the Avengers sequel, which of course has inspired tons of discussion and speculation among comic and movie fans on not only who should play the Sorcerer Supreme but also who is best qualified to direct a live-action film starring him. Of the established directors working today, I can think of no one more qualified to bring Doctor Strange to life on the big screen than fantasy / horror auteur Guillermo Del Toro.
The Mexican-born Del Toro of course is no stranger to the comic-book movie adaptation, having previously helmed Blade II in addition to both Hellboy films, all of which were highly acclaimed by both movie fans and comic devotees. All three fit nicely into the kind of films he usually makes, which deal with macabre and / or supernatural themes and feature a mix of practical and computer-generated special effects. A Doctor Strange movie would be a perfect fit with Del Toro’s visual and storytelling style and would more than likely provide the same mix of occult weirdness and crowd-pleasing action that made his previous comic book adaptations so successful with critics and audiences.
Another welcome aspect of having Del Toro on board would be his tendency to use practical effects and makeup instead of always resorting to CGI like most directors do nowadays. His recent films do have some computer-generated effects, but his love of old-fashioned creature effects give them a tangibility that is rare in most of today’s genre fare. After being somewhat let down by the almost completely CGI creatures in Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, I couldn’t help but think how different that movie would have looked if Del Toro had stayed on as the director of that film. A Del Toro-directed Doctor Strange movie would more than likely feature several impressive-looking creatures, from random demons of varying size to the Sorcerer’s flame-headed nemesis Dormammu, whom frequent Del Toro collaborator Doug Jones was born to inhabit onscreen. Judging from his previous film work and the trailers for his newest film, Pacific Rim, Del Toro would provide some very interesting designs to the realms that Doctor Strange visits and to the creatures he would encounter in the movie.
Del Toro has publicly expressed great enthusiasm in directing a Doctor Strange film and was actually considered by Paramount to helm it when they acquired the film rights back in 2005, so now that Marvel has finally given the green light to the project, it would be foolish to give anyone else the job. Marvel Studios has made a lot of inspired and unexpected decisions so far in hiring directors, but with this film, the most obvious choice is definitely the best one. Guillermo Del Toro’s enthusiasm with the character and past experience with effects-heavy comic book adaptations make him the most qualified choice to direct Doctor Strange and is the surest way to make it a hit with both general audiences and Marvel fanatics.