Photo Courtesy of GeekyKool
In Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness, Benedict Cumberbatch reprises his role as Doctor Stephen Strange, a sorcerer in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It covers various genres such as action, adventure, and even horror, a first for Marvel Studios. The movie works as a stand-alone film with no prior knowledge of the MCU absolutely necessary. However, in terms of the MCU storyline, it doesn’t flow as consistently and gives the idea that characters are expendable due to the infinite universes.
The movie begins with Defender Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), who we come to realize is a Doctor Strange character from another universe. Joining him is America Chavez (Xochitl Gomez), a young girl who can create star-shaped portals that allows her to travel throughout the multiverse. When we meet them, they are running from a dragon-like creature with tentacles. Defender Strange tries to take Chavez’s power before he is struck by the monster. A terrified Chavez opens a portal and gets sucked through along with Defender Strange.
After Chavez and Defender Strange get sucked through the portal, “our” Doctor Stephen Strange (for a lack of a better way to differentiate from what turns out to be multiple Strange characters) wakes up from a nightmare about what we have just seen. Strange goes to attend a wedding for a former flame, but the calm doesn’t last long as Strange is thrown into different universes in order to save Chavez and the multiverse from–as usual– an evil being.
Considering the plot overall, my sense is that it could’ve been stronger.
The major issue I have is that the film doesn’t feel like Doctor Strange’s movie. That honor unfortunately seems to belong to the Scarlet Witch character of Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) who was last seen if you watched the Disney+ show WandaVision where her character straddles the line between good and evil. Multiverse seems to center its focus around Wanda and her choices, actions, and consequences (I can’t say why she appears as to not spoil the movie). However, if you haven’t seen WandaVision or Spider-Man: No Way Home, then you may be a little confused about the introduction of the movie. No matter how many Doctor Stranges they throw into the mix (and there are many from multiple universes), this is not his movie, which is a shame. While I was beyond excited to see Doctor Strange in his second movie, I felt robbed. It was like going to McDonald’s to get a milkshake only to find out the machine is broken.
Another issue I have was some of the movie’s cameos. One character’s cameo appearance was a “yawn,” but when the other two appeared, I was enraged. Yes, it is the multiverse and anything is possible, but I was disappointed. Some of the cameos aren’t even from direct MC characters. For example, the trailer features Professor Charles Xavier from the X-Men universe, which opens up the MCU for numerous potential crossovers. But yeah, they didn’t add much for me.
One thing I loved about the film was the cinematography. There were various universes and creatures throughout the film, each with their own look and design. I felt Marvel did a beautiful job of creating these vast and different universes while still making the movie flow consistently. Watching the movie was like watching the sunset after a perfect day out with friends; it was beautiful and amazing to see.
I was also a fan of the special effects for Wanda’s and Strange’s magic. Magic is a staple of the movie so the special effects really bring it to life and it is surprisingly realistic compared to previous movies. The effects used in some scenes ultimately gave the jumpscares the feeling of horror.
Overall, the movie received a 75% on Rotten Tomatoes, but I would give it an 85%. I think with a little more production time and a lot less Wanda, the movie could be even better. It’s definitely a movie worth seeing, so go and experience the multivere of madness for yourself.