‘Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness’ Review – A Ruthless Roller Coaster That Blends Heroes And Horror

Synopsis:

In Marvel Studios’ “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness,” the MCU unlocks the Multiverse and pushes its boundaries further than ever before. Journey into the unknown with Doctor Strange, who, with the help of mystical allies both old and new, traverses the mind-bending and dangerous alternate realities of the Multiverse to confront a mysterious new adversary.

A mother’s love is unmatched. There’s nothing a good mother won’t do to protect her children. And If you get in her way, good luck. I come from a strong family of women and have never felt safer than when they are around. If something were to happen to me, you better hope you can assemble the Avengers, turn on a Bat-signal, or attain the Darkhold because the wrath of the gods shall be upon you.

“Are you happy, Stephen?”

Illuminati confirmed. You knew that already, but now we have a legitimate reason to say it. Dripping with the stylistic influences of director Sam Raimi, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is an exciting blend of heroes and horror. Let me begin by saying that if you didn’t at least watch WandaVision and What if… ?, you will not feel or completely comprehend the full scope of what is taking place and why emotions are so high. While it does explain what is taking place and why, it doesn’t go into great detail because it assumes we know what leads up to these events. This film establishes who our strongest hero is, thrills and scares you whenever possible, and also delights fans with full-on geekgasm moments. Not only that, but it introduces multiversal concepts that just made sleepwalking even more interesting. The film is a ruthless roller coaster that is at times even thought-provoking. While I don’t think the multiverse was used to its full potential, it’s a fun ride.

Now, the storyline isn’t as complicated as you might think being that it deals with the multiverse. However, it’s complex enough to keep it interesting but simplistic enough so as not to confuse anyone too much. And while it may not feel exactly like a direct sequel due to all that has happened between the first film and this one, what is directly connected and very strong are the emotions that Strange still has for Christine Palmer. Where I think the film succeeds the most is by not feeling like this film is simply a jumping-off point for another character or a posse movie. Yes, what happens will have some barring as what takes place later on, but it holds firm to being a Doctor Strange story. Even if it should be called the Multiverse of Maximoff due to an Omega-level performance by Elizabeth Olsen. The film grabs your attention from the moment it starts and only lets you go to catch you in another universe. Visually, the entire magic-riddled mayhem looks amazing. It is definitely meant to be experienced on the biggest screen possible.

The Danny Elfman score is its own entity and elevates every scene. There are cameos that will have you cheering as well as laughing, and some may be a nod as to what we can expect in the future. I do think this is a film that will be better appreciated after a second viewing. There is a lot to digest. Parts of the film are so mindbending, fever-dreamish, and move so quickly that it’s a task to catch everything on the first outing. Not to mention, that some aspects may be a bit underwhelming due to how much hype surrounds the film. Nevertheless, there is a ton to appreciate. Raimi, along with James Gunn and Taika Watiti has now solidified that having a specific stylized imprint on these films is the way to go. And after seeing how horror can play a part, it’s definitely my favorite addition. As almost always, there is a mid-credits scene that will lead into an intriguing future and an end-credit scene that is for giggles. I had a fun time with Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. Its rewatchability is high.

(L-R): Xochitl Gomez as America Chavez, Benedict Wong as Wong, and Benedict Cumberbatch as Dr. Stephen Strange in Marvel Studios’ DOCTOR STRANGE IN THE MULTIVERSE OF MADNESS. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. ©Marvel Studios 2022. All Rights Reserved.

Pacing & Pop

Starting hot right out the gate, the film keeps a steady high-intensity pace. It’s the type of pace that you want from a film that has madness in its title. What popped for me was not only the horror elements that were great and way more prevalent than I expected, but the visuals are mesmerizing. Whether it’s falling through the multiverse or spells being cast, the colors and textures of powers and magic jump off the screen.

Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda Maximoff in Marvel Studios’ DOCTOR STRANGE IN THE MULTIVERSE OF MADNESS. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. ©Marvel Studios 2022. All Rights Reserved.

Characters & Chemistry

Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch, Elizabeth Olsen, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Benedict Wong, Xochitl Gomez, Michael Stühlbarg, Rachel McAdams

While the entire cast did fantastic, as we saw in WandaVision, it’s Wanda’s world and everyone else is just living in it. I enjoyed Doctor Strange’s contemplative/ realization arc as he is continually humbled at every turn. And as he’s evolved as a person but we see a level of sorcery that we’ve never seen. However, Elizabeth Olsen completely steals the show as Wanda. She’s furious, intense, brutal, and terrifyingly calm for how unhinged she’s become. Xochitl Gomez as America Chavez is a great addition. Her chemistry with Strange is similar to that of Tony Stark and Peter Parker. I’m excited to see where her character goes and to learn more about her. And Benedict Wong as Wong is still sharp-witted as ever and showcases a commanding presence that we have yet to see.

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness releases in theaters on May 6, 2022. Stay safe and enjoy.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Runtime: 2h 6m

Rated: PG-13

Director: Sam Raimi

Writer: Michael Waldron

Producer: Kevin Feige

Composer: Danny Elfman

Executive Producers: Louis D’Esposito, Victoria Alonso, Eric Hauserman Carroll, Scott Derrickson, Jamie Christopher

8.5

Dripping with the stylistic influences of director Sam Raimi, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is an exciting blend of heroes and horror.

  • 8.5
  • User Ratings (2 Votes) 6.8