The Marvel Cinematic Universe has come a long way since its humble beginnings 14 years ago.
The films are getting bigger and bolder and are beginning to branch out into genres we have not seen in the franchise before. The recent Spider-Man film, No Way Home, introduced us to the multiverse and the seemingly endless possibilities that are now available. The 28th film in the MCU takes the multiverse to the next level with Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.
Directed by Sam Raimi, in his return to the Marvel franchise after a thirteen-year hiatus, Multiverse of Madness sees Benedict Cumberbatch return as Doctor Strange. With the impending threat of an inter-dimensional attack, Strange seeks the council of Wanda Maximoff, Elizabeth Olsen, to learn more about the Multiverse. And with the help of old and new allies, Strange must enter the multiverse himself to defeat this new multiverse adversary.
In an effort to keep this review spoiler free, I cannot go into much detail about the film or the characters. What I will say is that this new Doctor Strange film is, well, a strange one.
Sam Raimi has taken the MCU into a different direction and I can safely say that I cannot imagine this film in better hands. Known for the Evil Dead franchise, Raimi takes Multiverse of Madness down the path of a horror flick. Now, I do not like horror. I do not like the idea of sitting in a cinema waiting to be scared. And whilst this is not a fully fledged horror film, there are definitely horror themes and they fit the storyline perfectly. It is great to see Raimi back on a Marvel film and I loved what he has done with this one. I hope we see him return to with another one soon. Another Spidey flick perhaps?
Aside from Wanda and Strange, we also see the return on Benedict Wong as Wong – the Sorcerer Supreme, Rachel McAdams as Christine Palmer, and Chiwetel Ejiofor as Karl Mordo. We are also introduced to a new character, America Chavez portrayed by a young and upcoming actor, Xochitl Gomez. It is hard to believe that Gomez is only 16 years old! And whilst she has had a few acting roles already, Multiverse of Madness is Gomez’s first major blockbuster film. She slides into the role of America Chavez with ease and is absolutely fantastic. I hope to see more of Xochitl Gomez in the MCU and I will be keeping an eye out for other films she may appear in.
Whilst the return of the aforementioned roles are great, it is Benedict Cumberbatch that really impressed me. It is easy to see that he has really made the character of Doctor Strange his own. I mean, it is no secret that Cumberbatch is a phenomenal actor, every role he touches is brilliant. Mostly we know Strange is a very meticulous individual, a perfectionist, always trying to fix and control everything, and is one that is quite selfish. However, in Multiverse of Madness there is another side to Strange that we got to see, and it is Cumberbatch’s brilliant acting that evolves this character throughout the feature.
There are plenty of psychedelic moments in this film that are reminiscent of the first Doctor Strange film. The traversing between universes is a sensory experience unlike anything I have seen in some time. These scenes are perfectly paired with the score and music by Danny Elfman. Having worked with Raimi before, it is no surprise that Elfman was chosen to compose for this film. And honestly, I could not imagine anyone else making the music behind these moments.
After the enormous success of No Way Home and how much I loved that film, I was excited to see where the multiverse would take me. I can say that I did enjoy Multiverse of Madness, but I did not love it as much as I expected to. This by no means makes it a bad film, it just does not have that kick that I was expecting. There are plot points of this film that might not make sense to you if you have not seen the Disney+ Series, WandaVision. If you have not seen this series, I implore you to watch it before you see this film.
Multiverse of Madness has a lot to unpack. I had moments of excitement, surprise, shock, and it did feel overwhelming at times. But overall, I left feeling indifferent. While I did really enjoy certain things in the film, there were also things that I did not. Maybe this is a film that will grow on me? Perhaps this is a good excuse to go back and see it again. Either way, this film is still a must-see for Marvel fans.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is in theatres this Thursday, 5th of May, with advanced screenings in select cinemas from the 4th of May. It is also showing at IMAX with expanded aspect ratio. Check your local guides for session details.