Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness


Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

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May 6, 2022 126 minutes PG-13



“Dreams are windows into the lives of our multiversal selves.” –Dr. Stephen Strange

2022 Marvel superhero sequel ‘Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness‘ continues the magical carpet cloak ride that began with 2018’s ‘Doctor Strange‘. Buffered with strong performances from a diverse cast this batsh*t sensory overload adds layers to its mercurial title character while delving headlong into horror fantasy.

Lots has happened to Sorceror Supreme Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) since his last stand-alone adventure. And, although, a few early scenes and character callbacks reference those prior events this story is freshly scented. Of course, a passing familiarity with all things MCU is helpful, but not strictly necessary.

Working off a script from Michael Waldron (‘Loki’) Sam Raimi takes over for Scott Derrickson who joins a long list of Disney directors lost to the void of “creative differences”. Surprisingly, Disney allowed Raimi’s off-kilter instincts run amok in crafting a film much less MCU and much more, well, Sam Raimi.

Sure, there’s still an overdependence on CGI spectacle and sequel baiting/plotting. Yet, it’s the characters’ ongoing struggles for identity and purpose that piques interest and adds weight and gravitas to the bombast. And in a nice change of pace, this film’s Macguffin is a person and not just another mystical object/heirloom.

Multiverse traveler America Chavez (Xochitl Gomez) is being hunted by mystical forces so she seeks Dr. “Master of the Mystical Arts” Strange for help. Along the way they encounter a host of returning MCU characters including Wong (Benedict Wong), Christine Palmer (Rachel McAdams), Baron Mordo (Chiwetel Ejiofor), and Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olson). With a few “surprises” as we go along.

It’s established quickly that Scarlet Witch is this film’s “big bad”; basically unleashing her ‘WandaVision’ familial “obsessions” into the multiverse. Eschewing the typical MCU wormhole of unworthy villains Wanda precariously tightropes being simultaneously terrifying and still somewhat sympathetic.
 
It’s noteworthy in that both Wanda and Strange are basically seeking the same thing, “happiness”. Through the multiverse they discover bizarro alt-worlds and “would-of/could-of” versions of themselves. Raimi’s trademark flair overflows with apocalyptic visuals, quirky humor, and macabre horror. This is scary-movie territory that pushes its PG-13 much farther than I thought the Disney would ever allow.

A continued standout of the “Dr. Strange” films is the caliber of their cast. Something that allows the more ridiculous plot devices, clunky dialog, and shoehorned fan-service to glide by with limited cringe. A shout-out to Cumberbatch, Olson, and McAdams for championing the humanity within the chaos.

As much as I lament another “superhero movie”, MCU’s 2022 sequel ‘Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness‘ is a rarity in not only offering grand adventure with distinctive style, but in also developing its characters in truly meaningful ways. Visually striking and boundlessly fun. Highly Recommended.

Trailer:

Bringing Sam Raimi in gives the film an added style and vision that guarantees a fun, rollercoaster ride. While notable character drama and an uncharacteristically worthy villain to battle guarantees greatness.


About the Author
Chad Schulz