Why Is It So Hard to Get Doctor Doom Right?

Doctor Doom

It’s kind of tough to wonder how some characters are so easy to bring to the big screen for a live-action movie, and how some are so difficult to get right. Fans are bound to disagree quite often about what works and what doesn’t, especially when it comes to comic book characters, who change quite often when it comes to their appearance and their function within their world. Someone like Doctor Doom comes across as an oddity though, since no one has managed to nail his character correctly at this time, and in a lot of ways it doesn’t feel as though it should be this tough, does it? He’s a despot from Latveria, he’s arrogant, rich, and steeped in the mystic arts. He’s a genius, he hates Reed Richards of the Fantastic Four and they were rivals from way back. How in the world is this so difficult? That remains a great question since the first time that the villain was brought forth in a way that fans at least tried to consider. We’re not going to mention the attempt made in 1994 since a lot of folks are willing to sweep that one under the rug. 

But how he was represented in 2005, then 2007, and then 2015 somehow missed the mark enough that a lot of fans were willing to speak out against it. The 2005 and 2007 versions felt as though they were a little closer to what Doom should have been like, as Julian McMahon had the type of arrogance and overbearing nature that Doom has been known for over the years. Yet, his arcane knowledge wasn’t there, and he felt more like a rich playboy that was more about dominating people than being someone who worked behind the scenes and always had a contingency for one situation or another. In other words, this version of Doom was more like a rich thug than anything. 

Sadly, the 2015 version wasn’t much better since despite being insanely powerful, Toby Kebbell’s version of the character made Doom come off more like a grad student with a massive chip on his shoulder. Plus, in both versions, Doom’s power and skill sets didn’t appear right, which is hard to figure out since he’s not that tough of a character to bring from the comics to live-action. Let’s amend that, he’d be a little difficult since there is a lot to include when Doom is involved. The fact that he runs his own country, that he’s a genius, a tyrant, and trained in the mystical arts means he’s a deep character that doesn’t need to be as limited as he’s already been portrayed. In a big way, it does feel as though introducing Doom into the MCU would go better if they eschewed the origin story for once and simply brought him out as the badass that he’s been for so long. Some folks are of the mind that maybe Doom shouldn’t be connected to the Fantastic Four, as this hasn’t worked that well in three movies so far. There’s some sense to that, but if Doom was given a better look and kept more to the comic book version it feels as though this should be an easy transition, or easier at least, since keeping him within the boundaries of his current character design would allow Doom to fit nicely into the MCU. 

Plus, adding into the MCU as an enemy of the FF shouldn’t be such a big issue, so long as the origin story isn’t given the majority of screen time that it has been in the past. It does feel as though the origin story, as important as it is, has taken over in past years and become more important than the story it’s meant to set up. There’s nothing wrong with a good origin story, but accuracy is still key, and the attempts that Fox made to do justice to Doctor Doom fell rather flat. He isn’t just a power-hungry despot after all, as he has a few layers to his character that need to be explored, a great deal of ambition that has taken him from one side of the galaxy to the other, which is impressive given that he is only human at his core. 

Imagining if Doom had been a part of the Infinity Saga is interesting since he did take part in the Infinity Gauntlet back in the day, but Thanos managed to knock him around like a rag doll since once again, for all the power he had, Doom wasn’t exactly treated like the powerful and crafty being he is. There’s a big hope that the MCU will make use of this character in a much better way, but a lot of people aren’t willing to hold their breath and hope for a miracle just yet.  Doom needs to be given a spot in the MCU, but he needs to be given his respect as a character as well. 

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