A new Marvel hero is here – and this one may be a little unusual.
It's hard to stand out in a fictional universe populated by a talking raccoon and a walking tree, but the protagonist of "Doctor Strange" is bringing new elements to the Marvel world.
The movie, which will be released on Nov. 4, stars Benedict Cumberbatch as the title character, who in Marvel lore is a surgeon who becomes one of the greatest sorcerers in the world.
While the Marvel films contain many fantastical elements – this is a world of superheroes, after all – the "Doctor Strange" story embraces magic to an extent unusual in the Marvel world.
A new trailer for the film, which co-stars Rachel McAdams, Tilda Swinton, and Chiwetel Ejiofor, includes visuals of moving cities and multiple worlds.
"That reality is one of many," an unseen narrator tells Stephen Strange of his life.
Will viewers be won over by these new aspects of the Marvel universe?
One indication may be a 2014 film by Marvel: "Guardians of the Galaxy." Before its debut, viewers only knew "Guardians" had odd characters. Not only did the movie bring a new part of the Marvel world with it – people living in space – but it also included unusual characters like Rocket Raccoon, an animal who has been experimented on and can now talk, and Groot, a tree who can heal himself, among other abilities.
Guardian staff noted prior to the movie's release that the film was "Marvel's weirdest superhero proposition yet."
But "Guardians" became a big hit, becoming the third-highest-grossing film of the year and receiving mostly positive reviews. "An unusually prankish and playful Marvel Studios vehicle," Variety writer Scott Foundas wrote of the film. "…Director James Gunn's presumptive franchise-starter is overlong, overstuffed and sometimes too eager to please, but the cheeky comic tone keeps things buoyant — as does Chris Pratt's winning performance."
So can "Doctor Strange" win over casual fans who may have thought thought magic belongs more in "Harry Potter" films than in a Marvel movie?
Forbes writer Mark Hughes thinks that Marvel has proven itself enough to take a chance on a more unusual character.
"After the huge success of 'Guardians of the Galaxy,' it's impossible to say that anything is too far-out or weird or different in the Marvel movies to be a big hit," Mr. Hughes wrote. "…The Marvel brand plus the general global popularity of fantasy films and occult-horror, Cumberbatch’s built-in personal brand and popularity, plus [director Scott] Derrickson's deft hand at handling films of the occult and horror variety, adds up to lots of reason[s] to expect this to be another feather in the studio's cap."
Meanwhile, Deadline writer Ross A. Lincoln thinks the footage revealed so far is promising.
"It looks awesome," Mr. Lincoln writes of the trailer.