The newest entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is a messy film that is coated in the stylistic approach from Sam Raimi.
At this point in time, the Marvel Cinematic Universe is a well-established part of our lives as it has permeated the zeitgeist enough to stay for a decade and some change. Disney/Marvel has dominated the film industry with their expansive shared universe that now branches into their streaming service with shows like WandaVision and recently Moon Knight. To be honest, I am not the biggest fan of these films. Over the years, I have seen the films become more and more complacent with their formula. Even though I am not a big fan of these films, there is a good amount that I enjoy inside their 28 film catalog. Doctor Strange is one of those films, and I will go as far as to say it is in my top ten of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Obviously, when word about the sequel was on its way I highly anticipated its release.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is directed by Sam Raimi from a script by Michael Waldron. Originally the sequel was going to be directed and co-written by Scott Derrickson who worked on the first film. Scott Derrickson left the project at the beginning of 2020 citing creative differences as the reason for his departure. The film stars Benedict Cumberbatch, Elizabeth Olson, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Benedict Wong, Xochitl Gomez, and Rachel McAdams. This time around, Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) must deal with the events of Spider-Man: No Way Home which gave the first taste of the vast multiverse making its way to Earth. Doctor Strange must embark on a journey with a new friend, America Chavez (Xochitl Gomez), who is being chased by demons that are ordered by Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olson) or as known as Scarlett Witch. Doctor Strange must travel throughout the vast multiverse to find a way to save Chavez from the ruthlessness of Scarlett Witch as she searches for her lost children.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is a stylistic spectacle brought to life by horror legend, Sam Raimi. The film excels in the visual department as it keeps the momentum of its visual effects while employing the stylized camera movements from Raimi’s arsenal. Danny Elfman provides one of the best scores to grace the comic book movie genre. I especially loved the use of it during a fight scene where literal musical notes are used as weapons. The film does well in bringing a new feel to a shared universe that has long felt stale. Sam Raimi’s visual aesthetic is at the forefront and for better or worse it helps keep the audience enthralled.
On the contrary, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is far from perfect. The writing feels unbalanced as its first-half works better than the subpar second half of the film. Characters like America Chavez are one-dimensional and leave more to desire from their journey in the picture. The character of Scarlett Witch continues on with the various problems I found within her show, WandaVision. There is potential within the film that is pushed aside to settle with a clunky third act. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is a fun time at the cinema as we continue the journey of everyone’s favorite sorcerer. Even though it does not work most of the time, the Marvel machine does not stop as audiences patiently await the next installment in this vast universe.
Watch Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness in theaters worldwide.