The parcel: After altering reality with Spider-Man, Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) is brought in to further investigate the multiverse. Brave teenager America (Xochitl Gomez) falls into her universe from another. She has a path to follow to harness her powers and admires this Doctor Strange, when her own Doctor Strange failed in her universe. He approaches Wanda (Elizabeth Olsen) to learn about a mystical book that holds the key to unlocking the multiverse, but she has other plans. He and America are sent spinning in another universe and must find a way to return home and restore balance…
The verdict: Welcome to the big screen, Sam Raimi. The wildly inventive master of horror’s first film in nearly a decade is also his return to the Marvel stable. After fellow horror director Scott Derrickson left ‘Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness’, he was left in Raimi’s capable hands to weave whatever his imagination decided – within the confines of a movie. family studio of course. The key word here is horror and there’s a good chunk of it in Raimi’s sequel, which picks up shortly after “Spider-Man: No Way Home” opened up the possibilities of the multiverse. This, of course, isn’t Marvel’s first attempt at a horror movie. The half-decent “The New Mutants” has been the victim of numerous production issues and major delays, but it hinted that Marvel can “go dark” as much as DC can when their minds turn to mind-blowing possibilities.
Raimi and writer Michael Waldron have been paying attention to what’s happening elsewhere in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), allowing for this crossover potential that the multiverse can accommodate as Doctor Strange encounters other versions of himself – including a typical Raimi Zombie Strange. . Disney’s massive acquisition of the studio formerly known as 20th Century Fox has also opened up other possibilities for their existing properties. Already hinted at in the trailer, but which won’t be spoiled here, there are a number of cameos that should delight and perhaps confuse in equal measure. It’s an exciting prospect to see this crossover potential, but Raimi and Waldron aren’t quite sure what to do with their new toy. They mostly play the multiverse for laughs and screams or in the case of the cameos a few gasps from the audience. Narratively speaking, they don’t have a good grasp of what the multiverse entails and how to work with it in the same way that “Avengers: Endgame” took a dizzying yet deeply satisfying deep dive into the MCU.
Part of the problem here is that much of the movie consists of ominous conversations between characters, chases down hallways, and long spell-casting fights that move from environment to environment. In that sense, Raimi is just advancing the plot and moving through the predictable plot mechanics to the real meat of the story: Doctor Strange facing alternate versions of himself and his own. failures in these universes. The first two acts don’t have much to offer Raimi – its direction is somewhat anonymous, apart from an appearance by a beloved repertory actor from his troupe. It’s not really until the third act that Raimi, the director, takes center stage, as he embraces horror, horror… It’s a pleasure to watch him tap into his film roots. grungy indie horror while working within the confines of a mega-budget blockbuster. The movie really comes to life here and finally seals the deal – or should it be walking dead?
For all the odds and ends, it’s not crazy enough to qualify as a multiverse of madness. This multiverse is a little too sane and well-structured. One has to imagine what the movie would look like if Marvel left Raimi off-leash and delivered full-throttle horror like his first crazy-as-a-box-of-frogs movies.
There’s a lot to enjoy about this sequel, which continues to give Cumberbatch plenty of time to work on his character and make him an unexpected father figure. Think of it as a sometimes-smooth, sometimes-speedy ghost train ride with “boo!” moments. Nothing too restrictive, but fun all the same. There is much more to explore in this multiverse.
Rating: 3 / 5
Review by Gareth O’Connor
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness
In short: Not crazy enough
Directed by Sam Raimi.
With Benedict Cumberbatch, Elizabeth Olsen, Xochitl Gomez, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Benedict Wong, Rachel McAdams.