Whenever directors like Martin “it’s not cinema” Scorsese, Ridley “I prefer to make intelligent films” Scott or David “they lack sex” Cronenberg deny the Marvel Cinematic Universe, one wonders what they think of the previous era. What will they be thinking when superhero adaptations were a lawless genre, a viva la vida. There was creative freedom, it’s true, but at what cost? To show off the tape we bring to you today, “Doctor Strange,” a 1978 TV movie that, you have been warned, you will never be able to forget. And that’s not a compliment.
The Avengers of the 70s
Although it is 93 minutes long and sold as a movie (in fact, they re-released their Bu-ray to take advantage of the Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness pull), the truth is that the movie was made as a pilot for a series for CBS. And the project wasn’t just going to revolve around Doctor Strange, it was meant to reunite him with other unforgettable ’70s creatures like Lou Ferrigno’s The Incredible Hulk and Nicholas Hammond’s The Amazing Spider-Man. A kind of cheap lycra Avengers that thankfully CBS wasn’t interested in.
Nothing neurosurgeon, psychiatrist
This 1978 version of Doctor Strange stars Peter Hooten, who ditches the sleek, sleek mustache of Cumberbatch and the comics to sport his own porn movie mustache. In his universe, Hooten’s character is not a neurosurgeon, nor does he have a dramatic personal story behind him. He’s just a psychiatrist who inherits his father’s power ring and who the evil Morgan LeFay tries to flirt with. Something similar happens with Wong, who has become little more than a stocky little servant in a suit. An arranged Sancho Panza of oriental origin.
Its 3.7 on FilmAffinity leaves little else to the imagination. The few brave reviews the web garners assure that “UCM fans won’t go past 3 minutes” (is that a challenge?) and promise that “it exceeds all expectations, in a bad way.” Without a doubt, Doctor Strange is a cafe for the very coffee lover, a test for any marvelita pro, and a weird goof by Stan Lee, who was convinced to act as an adviser, no one knows how. It only made sense for the poor guy to get scalded, leave what was then known as Marvel Productions, and not look back. A word of advice: do the same.