Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness sees Doctor Strange journey further into the Multiverse in order to stop an adversary.
As is the custom for Marvel films, there is a mid-credit scene and a post-credit scene. The mid-credit scene is important so please do not leave the theater until after this scene if you need to go to the bathroom. I’m going to get into a spoiler-free review here in a moment but the other thing to know is that I would not recommend the film for young children.
In recent years, it didn’t feel like Marvel gave away too much of the film in their trailers. I’ve been avoiding the TV and social media spots as much as possible. However, recent spots have more than given away some of the appearances in the films. As a fan wanting to go into the film knowing as little as possible, the marketing aspect is rather disappointing. I was spoiled beyond spoiled after watching a recent spot. That being said, at least one appearance is hinted from looking at the first poster. I suppose you could say that they can do this all day.
Sam Raimi takes over directing duties from Scott Derrickson. He is not afraid to push boundaries and this film is no exception. The film comes 20 years after Spider-Man and 15 years after Spider-Man 3. It’s a welcome treat to see Raimi directing in the MCU even though Derrickson left due to creative differences. Regardless there is no shortage of horror elements in the film. If you have young children, the imagery might provoke nightmares. That being said, Raimi and screenwriter Michael Waldron do a solid job at catching us up on what’s happening with Doctor Strange. Because the majority of the film takes place in the multiverse, we don’t really get to hear how the Blip impacted his former work colleagues. That’s just how it is. Would I like to see more in 616? Sure but the multiverse introduces us to other versions of familiar characters.
Benedict Cumberbatch certainly has his work cut out. The actor portrays a few other versions of Doctor Strange that exist throughout the universe, including at home in 616. This film introduces us to something known as dream-walking but I won’t expand on this further. Meanwhile, it’s understandable why Elizabeth Olsen reprises her role as Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch. The character has been on quite the journey especially in the weeks that followed Avengers: Endgame. Because of spoilers, I won’t discuss her involvement further.
The Illuminati aspect of the film certainly falls under fan service. While I will not spoil their members right now, there were some cheers and applause on this end when I saw their faces on screen. If you’re a Marvel fan, you’re in for a treat. I will not be discussing what happens during these scenes right now. There will be time for think pieces after the film’s release.
Much has been made about America Chavez (Xochitl Gomez) having two moms. Even if the appearance is not long, I am happy to see LGBTQ representation in Marvel. There should be worthwhile LGBTQ representation in the MCU, not these blink-and-miss it appearances. It is troubling enough when such scenes are short. The downside is that there is still not enough to take away from the plot if excised in other countries. Aside from this, I love what America brings to the film in terms of the multiverse. Her powers enable her to travel the multiverse, which is why she’s being hunted by an adversary.
In order to take the best experience out of watching the film, you need to watch both WandaVision and What If…? prior to seeing the film. While Loki explores the multiverse, the series isn’t that necessary to understanding the film. There’s no shortage of Marvel Cinematic Universe content out there but being familiar with both Doctor Strange and the multiverse is a must.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness pushes the boundaries in a way that enables its audience to get a taste of the multiverse in action.
DIRECTOR: Sam Raimi
SCREENWRITERS: Michael Waldron
CAST: Benedict Cumberbatch, Elizabeth Olsen, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Benedict Wong, Xochitl Gomez, with Michael Stühlbarg, and Rachel McAdams
Marvel Studios will release Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness in theaters on May 6, 2022. Grade: 4/5
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