Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022)
Director: Sam Raimi
Writer: Michael Waldron
Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch, Elizabeth Olsen, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Benedict Wong, Xochitl Gomez, Michael Stuhlbarg, and Rachel McAdams
Review: So, truthfully, I almost don’t want to write this review up. Because I could honestly go on for hours and hours about this movie. And, while I do want to do that, it’s best that the viewer goes in almost completely cold. Basically, I’m afraid that I’m going to spoil something, especially since the trailers have been so good at hiding what this movie is about and the spoilers start flowing about 10 minutes in. So, this is going to be very short, very vague, and very surface level. Ok? Ok. Maybe I’ll post a spoiler-filled version later this week. We’ll see. But, for now, fear not.
Speaking of fear, this is without a doubt a Sam Raimi movie through and through. I’m inclined to call it the ultimate Sam Raimi movie. Because, being a superhero movie, it obviously plays very close to his Spider-Man trilogy, but it throws in a huge amount of horror and dark comedy that feels right in line with the Evil Dead trilogy. This makes for a completely different viewing experience than anything else in this universe. If you’ve gotten bored of the MCU formula, don’t worry because I think this is exactly what you’re looking for. Not only is it the scariest movie in the franchise (by far) but it’s also the most stylistically interesting. There are quite a few scenes in this movie that visually stray quite far from the MCU (and honestly superhero) formula. Honestly, a lot of the framing feels like frames from a 1980s comic. Which, obviously, is perfect for this. And, like I said, it’s definitely got that element of horror to it as well. I wouldn’t be surprised if a lot of people complained that their kids will have to skip this one. Because it may tiptoe over the line of “too scary” more than once. Honestly though, I loved it. Anything to stop the MCU from feeling stale 28 movies deep. Not to mention, if any character is going to be adapted into horror, it’s Doctor Strange. I hope Raimi returns for any potential sequels.
Storywise, I can also say that this is incredibly strong. Without giving away spoilers, I’ll just say that it feels like culmination of a lot of events we’ve seen over the past couple of MCU entries. It deals with aftermath of the first Doctor Strange, Endgame, WandaVision. Loki, No Way Home, and What If and the fallout that follows such tragic, life-altering events. If you are a fan of the franchise, this definitely is a worthy payoff to some of the stories they’ve set up. It’s an incredibly emotional story with real heart and a ton of twists and turns I can guarantee you won’t see coming. Ok. I’ve got to stop here unfortunately. I can’t think of anything else plotwise to share without getting spoilery.
The rest you already know, because they’ve been true for dozens of movies now. It’s a lot of fun. There are very cool action scenes. Some of which, again, are unlike anything we’ve seen in this universe so far. There’s one especially that’s so cool and so original that it’ll stick with me forever. Lots of humor, both of the Raimi and typical MCU kind. And, of course, the performances are fantastic. Benedict Cumberbatch continues to be one of the absolute rockstars of the MCU. He’s brings such dignity to Strange, while also showing a vulnerable side. Xochitl Gomez is a delightful new addition as America Chavez. It’s insane how quickly the MCU can make you fall in love with new characters. I cannot wait to see more of her in the future. (Young Avengers! Please!) And, then, there’s Elizabeth Olsen. I love the character of Wanda so much. And, honestly, this might be the best performance of the entire franchise. Just. Perfect. In. Every. Way. (If you haven’t seen WandaVision, ABSOLUTELY DO THAT before seeing this.) Basically, even though its all very different, it still delivers you that sweet sweet Marvel Cinematic Universe fix.
If you can’t tell, I absolutely LOVED Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. I wish I could talk about it more. It’s such a beautiful, badass, emotional tale. It’s absolutely nothing like I thought it would be, yet every bit what I needed. Go see it. Preferably now, while you still know almost nothing. And then come talk to me about it. Because I cannot wait to converse about this movie.
TL;DR: Featuring Sam Raimi’s distinct style, amazing story, and some of the franchise’s best performances, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is truly one of Marvel’s strongest entries yet.
Score: 9/10 (Amazing)