I won’t be seeing Doctor Strange at the movies despite the good reviews and I’m annoyed

Last night, Doctor Strange had its Australian Premiere, and seems to have (mostly) pleased audiences and critics alike.

Well, I won’t be seeing it.

Movieweb described it as being “an enormously entertaining film; a rousing cinematic adventure loaded with stunning visual effects”.

The Guardian raves, saying its “an eye-poppingly freaky extravaganza with city-folding moments of surreality comparable to Christopher Nolan’s Inception”.

It has a 96% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. An 8.3 rating on IMDB. Empire Magazine gave it 4 stars.

I still won’t be seeing it.

As one of my friends would say, it’s the principle, sir.

Last night I went to Event Cinemas on George St, saw the Doctor Strange posters, and felt a pang of heartache. Being a fan of the actors involved, being keen to see the visual effects and story, and wanting to see how Doctor Strange stacked up against the other Marvel superheroes, I was kind of devastated that I had made the decision to skip it at the cinemas.

I’m a fan of Benedict Cumberbatch, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Marvel and good filmmaking but I’m not a fan of whitewashing.

In line with my personal views, having been up in arms on social media about the whitewashing that is taking place in Doctor Strange, I can’t support the film.

I know that there have been attempts made to justify the whitewashing of the Great One, and in some small part I’m glad that they didn’t just go ahead and cast another white dude. However to me, it all falls a little flat. The director literally said that they didn’t want to alienate China, their second largest market, by portraying the Great One as Tibetan. That made it obvious that they value money over nonwhite representation. They couldn’t be bothered trying to write a fully formed asian character so they cast Tilda Swinton, an amazing actress, in the role and expected us to love it because she’s a woman.

“I think diversity is the responsibility of directors and producers,” Derrickson said at the World Premiere. Absolutely.

They should have hired asian writers to their team. This feels like a missed opportunity on their part. They wanted the easy way out. You can’t say you’re dispelling an asian stereotype by sidestepping and completely whitewashing the role.

And don’t get me started on the reviews! (I will get started though) They all completely sidestep the issue, which is not a huge surprise, considering most of them are written by white dudes.

This one in particular, from Peter Debruge at Variety, “…much has already been written about the casting of the white-skinned Swinton in a role originally conceived as an old Asian man (as if the world needs yet another Mister Miyagi/Pai Mei stereotype), when the only real disappointment there is that the practically extraterrestrial star wasn’t asked to play the title role…”


First of all, that’s like me saying “as if the world needs anymore white characters when we already have like a million others”. Second, why assume that the character couldn’t be more fleshed out in the screen adaptation?

I’m so mad. This whole thing stinks. Tell me what you think.


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