Benedict Cumberbatch, Elizabeth Olsen, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Rachel McAdams
Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Superhero
Rated: PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, frightening images and some language.
All media used courtesy of Marvel Studios
The Multiverse has opened and only Doctor Strange can stop it from destroying the universe. With the help of Wong, Scarlett Witch, and others. Strange will have to traverse the multiverse and possibly come face to face with himself, in the first horror film the MCU has ever done but maybe it’s least impressionable multiverse story so far.
First the directing by Sam Raimi is 100% authentic to his craft. I loved the horror infusion we get, and the camerawork and style makes it one of the most unique MCU films to date. I found myself actually shocked by the levels they go and would say parents of younger kids should not see this film until they’ve had a chance to asses it for themselves. There’s also the MCU element in this Raimi film that sometimes blends seamlessly to his style but other times can be somewhat jarring. The takeaway here is if you love this directors work, you’ll love what he’s doing here.
Benedict Cumberbatch and Benedict Wong are back with different dynamics. I loved both Wong and Strange’s chemistry and think they have one of the stronger bonds like Tony Stark and Rhodes, or Bucky and Steve. Cumberbatch gives his all in this film and I have grown from liking Strange to really loving his character. Elizabeth Olsen as Scarlett Witch and Wanda Maximoff steals whatever scene she is in. Completely captivating, with understandable motives and you really feel the work that’s been put into this character from Wandavision pay off here. There are some character choices that are questionable and will require another viewing, but the performance is one of her best. Rachel McAdams has more to do in this film vs the first Doctor Strange, and though the relationship is still not really emotionally impactful for me, I feel it was done better her than it was in the original. Chiwetel Ejiofor is back as Mordo but does not have a ton, his moments are impactful but I believe a showdown between Strange and Mordo set up in the first film is on the way.
Surprisingly enough, this film could have done with a longer runtime. Some of the moments I feel could have more buildup and would have loved for them to spend more time expanding emotional beats. A new character introduced, America Chavez, is one that I feel needed more to her character and story that the film didn’t do justice. Looking into her backstory, I’m also very surprised with the the very subtle, almost non-existent nod to her character in the LGBTQ+ community. If we had more to her character from the source material brought into the story she would work much better. As far as how the multiverse was handled, I think it’s honestly a bit of a mixed bag. Some awesome concepts and visuals for sure, but some things just felt rushed and unearned in a way that I wasn’t expecting. It’s a bit of a mess, but a fun mess.
Overall, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is full of action, suspense, and even a little horror. Director Sam Raimi injects his iconic visual DNA into the MCU with confidence and uniqueness to the ever-expanding universe. Great performances by the entire cast, but a mixed bag as far as character arcs, pacing, emotion. This is still a fun ride, see it on the biggest screen you can!