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Oct 28th 2016

Try me, Beyonce

"Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)" was the last thing I expected from a Marvel Cinematic Universe soundtrack, but Peter Quill's mixtape was a mixture of rock and soul. And Star-Lord dared Ronan to do a dance-off (to the tune of "O-o-h Child"). The conversation between Stephen Strange, egotistical neurosurgeon, and Wong, one of the Masters of Mystic Arts, could have ranged from serious to testy. Beyonce made sure that there would be fun on the top of the Himalayas.

Many didn't like Tilda Swinton's casting as the Ancient One, which would continue Hollywood's casting of a Caucasian actor for an Asian character. Some would be reminded of Robert Donat's slanted eyes, playing a local Mandarin in "The Inn of the Sixth Happiness" (1958). But Swinton wasn't the only Briton in "Doctor Strange." Benedict Cumberbatch would play the titular role while Chiwetel Ejiofor portrayed Karl Mordo, who became Doctor Strange's nemesis. Hollywood producers often cast British thespians in their films in able to give it some swagger. Kevin Feige, the Marvel producer, wasn't thinking about a different reason, even stuck to his guns despite the criticism. And it worked in this film.

"Doctor Strange" was a whole new chapter in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, as there was another dimension to the Big Apple. Malevolent forces from the mystic realms would threaten Earth, and the populace won't have a clue. It would be up to warlocks, all protectors of the most valuable relics and books, to detect it and defend the planet. Warner Bros. have the rights to DC Comics while 20th Century Fox produced the X-Men series. Marvel had the rest. Feige knew the wide range of possibilities, and he made sure that all the past films were linked together. Stephen Strange won't be an exception, as Marvel comic fans knew he would play an important part in the Infinity Wars. Moreover, the Eye of Agamotto, which would favor Strange, contained the fifth Infinity Stone. Expect the doctor to have a one-on-one with Thanos.

Don't forget everything that you think you know

Steve Ditko, who created Doctor Strange, had a fallout with Stan Lee. It would be highly likely that he wouldn't watch Scott Derrickson's feature, which didn't veer far from the comic material. There were references to "The Sorcerer's Apprentice," and the similarities with "Inception" were a bit too obvious. But Derrickson didn't make these scenes the highlights of the films. There couldn't be a better cast. It was a different ride, which would be less predictable than the past ones. And the humor wasn't confined to the sacred grounds. Watch out for Stan Lee reading Aldous Huxley's "The Doors of Perception", as there would be a reason behind a bus passenger reading a philosophical essay.

Sharp eyes would notice the Easter eggs (such as the glimpse of Tony Stark's office), but they would wait for the end credits scenes. There would be two. (If you haven't seen the film, then you might want to stop here.) The first one might be a preview of "Thor: Ragnarok," and the second one could be the sequel to "Doctor Strange." It would be part of the Fourth Phase of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and Feige might be thinking of an unlikely encounter between Stephen Strange and the Inhumans. What do you think?

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