Top 5 on The Strip: Marvel stuff we’re anticipating edition

Loki series season 2

We’re huge fans of Loki around here, and the God of Mischief’s first season of his Disney Plus showcase was fantastic. Suspenseful and weird, Tom Hiddleston’s delightful Asgardian prince steals the Space Stone during the time heist as depicted in Avengers: Endgame and essentially learns there are variants of himself, and that the multiverse exists. The character development and growth are what did it for us, and we can’t wait to see where the flawed-but-redeemed god goes in the follow-up.

 

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

The upcoming film focusing on Marvel superhero Shang-Chi has the potential to be huge. Featuring wuxia and a comic book correct version of the Mandarin, Shang-Chi looks to be a great mix of action and story, with our beloved Michelle Yeoh in yet another MCU role. We’re interested to see how the Ten Rings plays into the larger MCU and their power and scope as compared to other artifacts we’ve seen. Also, lead actor Simu Liu is hot, as is the esteemed legend Tony Leung.

 

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

The sequel to our top-three Marvel movie contender is shaping up nicely. We were initially unsure how the film would move forward with the death of Chadwick Boseman, but it seems that it will be addressed in the opening scenes. Confirming that he will not be recast is a great start, because we wouldn’t watch it if Marvel did. There will be a new Black Panther mantle-holder, and we expect this follow-up will be glorious.

 

Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness

We like Dr. Strange around here, and he’s important enough to warrant another few movies. With the end of WandaVision, Dr. Strange’s sequel film will be important in the grand scheme of Marvel’s machine for Phase Four. The events of the first MCU show and Loki made it plain that Dr. Strange will be needed to traverse the madness unleashed by the introduction of the multiverse and Kang the Conqueror, so this is film has quickly become important to the future of the MCU.

 

New squads introduced

It did not escape notice that there were several characters introduced recently that could potentially form other groups outside of the Avengers. WandaVision introduced Wiccan and Speed, Wanda’s kids in Young Avengers; Monica Rambeau, who is a Captain Marvel titleholder; and, Agatha Harkness, who could join any number of villain groups. Captain America and the Winter Soldier introduced Eli Bradley, who is Patriot of the Young Avengers; Val, who is Madame Hydra at some point; and, U.S. Agent, a member of Dark Avengers and Thunderbolts. Loki gave us a hybrid Lady Loki/Enchantress in Sylvie and Kid Loki, who is part of Young Avengers. Black Widow provided Yelena Belova, who becomes Black Widow II, and Shang-Chi’s trailer confirmed Abomination is still around.

Top 5 on The Strip: Dr. Strange foes

Baron Mordo — Baron Mordo started as Strange’s competition to become an apprentice to the Ancient One. Because of jealousy, Mordo eventually betrayed the duo leading Strange to take the position and in time become the Sorcerer Supreme of Earth. Mordo led a life of crime as a regular foe of Strange but later turned over a new leaf and fought a cancer diagnosis.

Dormammu — The dread lord has been a longtime adversary of Strange. Dormammu rules over the Dark Dimension, which he conquered by force and by overthrowing the established leader. He has challenged Strange many times in an attempt to take over the Earth realm but has lost. He is a being of immense power and a master of chaotic magic.

 

Mephisto — Basically, Mephisto can pose as the Devil, but he is not Satan and does not rule over Hell. He is a ruler of a hell dimension and has established himself as a broker of souls. Mephisto, father of Marvel stalwart Blackheart, is responsible for the the creation of Ghost Rider.

 

Nightmare — Nightmare rules over the Nightmare World in the Dimension of Dreams. He is capable of manipulating the dreams of humans and gaining control over them. Nightmare is a demon attempting to take over the realm of the awake.

 

Shuma-Gorath — Shuma-Gorath is one of a race of creatures — known collectively as Shuma-Gorath — that take the shape of a cycloptic tentacled eye. In Strange’s time, Shuma-Gorath attempts to enter the mainstream dimension through the mind of the Ancient One. This results in Strange having to kill his master to prevent Shuma-Gorath’s manifestation. Shuma-Gorath again tries after Strange absorbs him and begins to turn into him. It is eventually killed but resurrects itself through Chaos Magic.

Marvel character highlight #10: Dr. Strange

NAME: Stephen Vincent Strange

AFFILIATION: Avengers, Squadron Supreme, Defenders

SPECIAL ABILITIES: Overall, the most Supreme mastery of magic and mystical energies than anyone else on Earth. Astral projection, telepathic communication and possession of mystical objects that enable flight as well as invisibility.

BACKGROUND: Stephen Strange was a master surgeon who was brilliant yet arrogant. Strange injured his hands, depriving him of his livelihood. Using all of his money and resources, Strange went broke and became an alcoholic. Seeking a cure to restore the use of his hands, Strange journeyed to Tibet and met with the Ancient One. Strange stayed for years, training alongside Baron Mordo in a competition to succeed the Ancient One as sorcerer supreme of Earth. When Mordo revealed himself as a traitor, Strange took the position as apprentice. After the Ancient One died, Strange took on the full title and position.

RELATIONSHIPS: Ancient One, mentor; Clea, lover

FIRST VERSUS GAME APPEARANCE: Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3

APPEARANCES IN OTHER MEDIA: Marvel Ultimate Alliance (multiplatform), The Amazing Spider-Man vs. The Kingpin (Sega Master System and Sega Game Gear), Marvel Super Heroes: War of the Gems (SNES), Marvel Super Hero Squad Online (PC), X-Men the Animated Series (television), Spider-Man the Animated Series (television), Dr. Strange (film), Dr. Strange: The Sorcerer Supreme (animated film)

Property review: Dr. Strange: The Sorcerer Supreme

Photo courtesy of the Marvel wikia

Dr. Strange: The Sorcerer Supreme

Lionsgate, 2007

Dr. Strange DVD conjures fine story

Dr. Strange is strange, indeed. He’s got the potential to be a top-tier character, yet he’s not out there for Marvel that much. However, he has received the animated movie treatment like most of the peripheral Avengers so he has some prominence. And his film isn’t that bad.

Dr. Strange takes some time getting into. Starting off slow, the film handles Strange’s backstory with care, mixing in different parts from the mainstream and Ultimates incarnations. We see how Strange is at the top of his game, loses everything and hits rock bottom and finally becomes Earth’s Sorcerer Supreme. In his journey, Strange learns to care about others and that money and position in life aren’t everything. Even though Strange has one of the most cliché tales, especially involving a friend-turned-foe, the story isn’t bad and it’s paced pretty well. The addition of the backstory involving his sister’s death is slightly weird, since it’s not in the actual comics. While it gives Strange some emotional depth and makes him more relatable than his comic counterpart, it’s not actually necessary.

What really makes the film worth watching is its voice acting cast. The voices chosen are perfect. With Kevin Michael Richardson among them, the cast is pitch perfect and almost could have been considered for the same roles in Marvel vs. Capcom 3 (ed’s note: Richardson does make an appearance in MvC3, not as Baron Mordo but as Galactus). Bryce Johnson, as the voice of Strange, is also excellent. There are a few more well-known names such as Phil LaMarr, Marvel stalwart Fred Tatasciore and Tara Strong that round out the strong cast.

Also standout is the quality of the animation. The characters animate beautifully and the lines and style are clean. It’s in the same vein as The Avengers movies, but look better than Hulk Versus.

Dr. Strange is an interesting character, and his animated feature provides a decent-if-not-cliché look at his memorable background and struggle to become something greater than himself. Give it a go if Strange’s tale of might and magic will intrigue you.

HOW WE GRADE

We score the prop­er­ties in three cat­e­gories: Cast­ing (or voice act­ing in cases of ani­mated), plot and sim­i­lar­i­ties to its source mate­r­ial. Each cat­e­gory receives points out of the max­i­mum of 10 per cat­e­gory and 30 over­all. The per­cent­age is the final score.

Like the comics?: 6

Casting: 9.5

Plot: 8

Overall: 23.5/30 or 7.8