Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022)

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness
Director: Sam Raimi
Writer: Michael Waldron
Based on: the comic character created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko
Sequel to: Doctor Strange
Cast: Benedict Cumberbatch, Xochitl Gomez, Elizabeth OlsenChiwetel EjioforRachel McAdamsBenedict Wong, Michael Stuhlbarg, Hayley Atwell, Anson Mount, Lashana Lynch, John Krasinski, Patrick Stewart, Charlize Theron, Bruce Campbell
Part of: Marvel movies
Seen on: 15.5.2022

Plot:
Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) has been having strange dreams. During the wedding of his ex-girlfriend Christine (Rachel McAdams) those dreams come crashing into his world in the shape of a monster chasing after a teenage girl, America Chavez (Xochitl Gomez). America has the ability to jump between multiverses but she can’t really control it. She’s still hunted for it, though. Stephen seeks out Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) to help with America’s abilities. But things take a different turn that sends them through the multiverse.

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is a special effects celebration that is entertaining to watch, although it sometimes tries to be too many things at once.

The film poster showing Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) and Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) surrounded by flying shards of glass that show reflections of the characters in the film.

With America Chavez, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness introduces a new character into the MCU, and I’d say it’s about damn time that it is a WOC who gets some supernatural powers. I also really liked America herself, and Gomez does a great job in the role. She, Wanda and Wong (Benedict Wong) were the highlights of the film for me. I didn’t expect to love Stephen Strange (I usually don’t), but I found that he had gained a bit more humor and that is definitely an improvement. Unfortunately, there is also a throw-away moment in the film (that is only there so Raimi can include Bruce Campbell) that is so cruel, it pretty much destroys Strange as a character, and the film doesn’t even seem to notice.

This is not a character film, and most of the character development gets lost in the plot that kept sending us from one action scene to the next. While there was a lot of visual wonderfulness here, this collection of action scenes did get a bit boring for me, as they often do. The answer to this is not more action scenes (which seems to be the MCU way of doing things) but more breathing room to make us feel the stakes.

Wanda (Elizabeth Olsen) levitating in the lotus position over a circle of candles.

That is not to say that I didn’t enjoy the romp through the multiverse and its alternate takes on some well-known characters. I do shudder to think that somebody would go into the film without basically the entire MCU catalogue in the back of their heads, including the Marvel adaptations (and/or comics) that aren’t actually MCU. There is just a lot of nodding and referencing to pretty much everything (in a twist, Bruce Campbell’s cameo will confuse MCU fans who are not familiar with Raimi’s other kind of films). But I did watch it all, and I had fun with those things, although Raimi and Waldron definitely take things to some very, very dark places.

There’s a touch of horror to the film that wasn’t there before in the MCU, I think, and that I rather enjoyed (though it is far from being a horror film). But overall, I feel like the MCU is stagnating a bit and needs to start to deviate from the usual before growing stale (they already started doing this in the TV shows, but it is still lacking in the films).

America (Xochitl Gomez), Wong (Benedict Wong) and Stephen (Benedict Cumberbatch) looking worriedly at something.

Summarizing: entertaining enough, at least for MCU fans.

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