Review – Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness
Rating: 12A (Frightening Images|Action|Intense Sequences of Violence|Some Language)
Director: Sam Raimi
Writer: Michael Waldron
Release Date (Theaters): 5th May 2022
Runtime: 2h 6m
Benedict Cumberbatch: Doctor Stephen Strange
Elizabeth Olsen: Wanda Maximoff / The Scarlet Witch
Chiwetel Ejiofor: Baron Mordo
Benedict Wong: Wong
Xochitl Gomez: America Chavez
Rachel McAdams: Dr Christine Palmer
Dr Stephen Strange casts a forbidden spell that opens the doorway to the multiverse, including alternate versions of himself, whose threat to humanity is too great for the combined forces of Strange, Wong, and Wanda Maximoff.
As expected with Raimi at the helm this is a classic Marvel romp building on the last few movies as well as (finally) paying homage to the TV shows that kept us all going through 2021. It’s going to be very hard not to SPOIL any surprises but without giving too much away I will say the above plotline from Marvel is… a complete red herring.
Xochitl steals the movie from beginning to end, as a wide-eyed and confused America Chavez, a mysterious teenager whose powers allow her to punch through dimensions. She acts as our anchor throughout the movie pointing out ludicrous hero names “Does he shoot webs out his butt?” as well as creating a human link to Strange’s ambivalent hero. Cumberbatch goes full Rick Sanchez for the majority of the movie shooting sarcastic comments “He has a fork glued to his head” and generating camping it up when he can.
I was slightly disappointed by Olsen, but I am not going to write about that at the moment as it will spoil everything. It just feels like Marvel has decided to give her character the shitty stick (again.) What I will say is I am not critiquing the actor but the lines and situations she’s been given. She goes full 90s Goth and you should never go full 90s goth.
The wider cast is mainly there as eye candy for fanbois, but there is no bad thing in that.
Within about three seconds this movie demands that you suspend your disbelief and it is probably not one to drag your partner who watches the odd movie or show to. There are enough Easter Eggs in this that they should have been released on Easter Sunday. And that is probably the film’s weakest point, it’s almost too much of a tribute to all things Marvel and if you scratch at the surface you might come away wondering why some of the stories happened.
There is also woeful use of previous plot setups (LOKI, No Way Home to name two) which laid the foundations of the multiverse and also gave ample plot devices to wrap this movie around. Where is Kang? Where is Loki? How did these timelines exist before Loki, when they would have been pruned based on that series? This movie should have built on both the spell Strange cast twice in NWH as well as the change to the time streams with minimal altering of the plot but allowing the wider cohesion with the TV and Movies.
There are two main problems that you might find with this movie. Firstly the CGI in 2022 should not look like early 2000 CGI but unfortunately for large patches of the movie you could be watching The Mask or Avatar. When it works it’s great but when whole scenes have no real actors it looks terrible. Secondly, the plot keeps tripping over its own feet meaning that it needs Deus Ex Machina style solutions to dig itself out of the holes it’s trapped itself in.
This second part is really disappointing after looking at some of the previous films and TV shows (particularly Wandavision and LOKI) that took great pains to create a complex but working plot.
Post Credit Scenes
There are two post-credit scenes the first is (as usual.) This one is short but sets up a well known comic character that will add dimension (ahem) to the movies moving forward.
DO NOT STAY for the final post-credit scene if you expected either a setup for Thor, Guardians or Ms Marvel. It’s a Sam Raimi movie and he finishes off with a Sam Raimi joke. In my theatre where 99% of the audience stayed expecting a Marvel setup a loud “FUCK OFF!” wrang out from three hundred pissed off fans. It is not essential to future movies so for once beat the crowd to your car and look it up on Youtube in a few weeks!
Look, putting aside the plot holes and problems with CGI this is a rollercoaster of a movie that every Marvel fan will want to see for the various worlds and characters that are on display. I wouldn’t spring for an IMAX or 4D viewing of this unless your wall is full of Cumberbach posters but to start the summer of movies for 2022 this is worth the wait. Most cinemas have converted their screens to showing every 10 minutes so you shouldn’t find any problem getting a ticket to watch it. Plot – 6 , Acting – 8 Easter Eggs – 10.
If you enjoyed our review, look out for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness at your local Cinema
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