DOCTOR STRANGE IN THE MULTIVERSE OF MADNESS
Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch, Elizabeth Olsen, Benedict Wong, Xochitl Gomez, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Rachel McAdams
Director: Sam Raimi
Dear Mr. Raimi,
Thank you for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. I haven’t felt this giddy since 2004. The action, horror, and absurdity are so much fun. But now it’s time to relinquish the director’s chair as it is, in fact, no longer 2004. You built a fantastic world with great tone, but your character relationships and dialogue didn’t age as gracefully. If not for Ms. Olsen’s terrifyingly emotional performance proving that Scarlet Witch is, without question, the MCU’s most powerful character, I may have tuned out. Thanks again, had a blast, will definitely re-watch. I appreciate your visit.
Director Sam Raimi’s trademark zaniness lines Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness just enough to make up for some of its larger shortcomings. Though the film can’t always handle everything it sets out to accomplish, it’s as much fun as a superhero movie has been in a long time. Embracing horror and camp is a good look for this franchise; however, it is not without fault. The film’s mistreatment of Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) is the largest stain clouding what is otherwise a refreshingly different MCU adventure despite Olsen’s continued excellence in the role. That said, I’d still recommend the film.
Style over substance - that’s the best way to describe Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. Visually, there are some spectacular images and horror elements, but otherwise, this thing is a bit of a mess. The writing is rough, doing a disservice to a few of its characters, and director Sam Raimi's signature camp and cheese seem out of place in an MCU film. Even the cameos feel kind of cheap. When you consider where we started and ended, it feels like a standalone film rather than a Phase 4 entry. Aside from the introduction of America Chavez (Xochitl Gomez), I am disappointed.
I liked Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness more than I didn’t. Marvel allowed director Sam Raimi to go "Full Raimi,” which made for a glorious experience. I loved the departure from the MCU formula, especially the awesome horror elements, but Elizabeth Olsen stole the whole damn show as Wanda Maximoff. Although I loved what they did with Wanda in this movie, Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) is a bit underdeveloped and rushed. Overall, the film felt more like a filler episode than the massive-scale, multiversal blockbuster event that was advertised, which left me feeling underwhelmed.
The Doctor Strange sequel is a lot. It’s bursting at the seams with exposition, cameos, trippy visuals, and easter eggs, not to mention the overwhelming Sam Raimi-ness of it all that tries to incorporate horror elements, attempts at being heartfelt, and his special brand of cheesiness. And while it doesn’t quite gel all the time, there are more than enough interesting bursts to keep the viewer engaged. In the pantheon of MCU movies, it’s one that you’ll enjoy while watching it, especially as you consider the ramifications of what everything means going forward, but probably not one that you’ll make an effort to watch repeatedly.