We may earn a commission when you buy through links in our articles. Learn more.

Benedict Cumberbatch says Marvel movies may be “the Shakespeare of now”

Benedict Cumberbatch has compared the Marvel Cinematic Universe to the work of Shakespeare

Doctor Strange and Hamlet

Benedict Cumberbatch knows a thing or two about Shakespeare. After all, the Academy Award-nominated actor’s star turn as Hamlet saw him nominated for his third Laurence Olivier Award. Of course, there’s another string to his bow; he’s also the miraculous magician Doctor Strange in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Interestingly Cumberbatch thinks there are parallels between the Bard’s work and the MCU. In an interview with BBC Radio 4, the Sherlock star explained that Marvel action movies may just be the Shakespeare plays of the now, delivering not just thrills and chills but also deft character work.


“Marvel [films] may be the Shakespeare [plays] of the now,” he explained. “While the big films manage to fit in pretty fantastic universal themes to do with things and make them popular before the flash and a bang of it. In fact, we’ve had test audiences who are getting bored of the big flash and the bang. They want story, they want character. Both are entertainment, but both have a heart and a purpose in pop culture.”

Audiences will next be able to see Cumberbatch’s strange Doctor in Spider-Man: No Way Home. The third outing for Tom Holland’s Wallcrawler, No Way Home, will see Peter Parker approach the Sorceror Supreme to try and make the world forget he’s Spider-Man.

Unfortunately, the spell goes awry, and the entire multiverse starts to collapse (oops?). This has the unintended consequence of bringing across a load of old Spider-Man villains into the MCU, who then seeks revenge on the Wallcrawler.

Stephen Strange will return in his own solo movie, Doctor Strange 2, on May 6, 2022.