Friday 6 May 2022

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (Movie Review)

The Marvel Cinematic Universe continues its expansion into realms unknown in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. Billed as the MCU's first true stab at horror, they'd picked what many felt was the perfect director to bring this darker side of the universe to the big screen. But does Sam Raimi manage to do justice to the material, or is this perhaps another misstep in the highly-beloved franchise.

The film picks up after the former Sorcerer Supreme's shenanigans in Spider-Man: No Way Home. But in terms of overall continuity, the movie has closer ties with the first Doctor Strange film and his involvement in Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame, as well as WandaVision and certain story beats from Marvel's What If...? Because of this, the aforementioned stories seem like required viewing in order to fully grasp what is going on here.

In terms of the film's actual plot though, it is hard to discuss any of it without immediately falling into spoiler territory. I'm still shocked by how much of it was already revealed in the trailers. But believe me when I say that none of that is enough to prepare you for the true scope of the film, which goes beyond anything you could've imagined. There are plenty of twists along the way and the fact that they were able to condense all that storytelling into two hours is a feat in itself.

So I'll just jump right into my thoughts about the film, which I thought was amazing. Or to put it in another way, the film was every bit as wild and bonkers as its trailers promised, and then some. It delves into areas of Marvel lore that have seldom been explored outside of the comic books, showing once again that Kevin Feige and his writers still have a vast sea of material to craft stories from.

It also paints a bright picture for the future of the MCU, with crowd-pleasing cameos that hint at great things to come down the road ahead. And speaking of paint and pictures, Multiverse of Madness is easily the most visually-striking film in the MCU, managing to outdo the already mind-bending first Doctor Strange movie at every turn. 

Sam Raimi really goes all in with the otherworldly depictions of the various beings and creatures that call the darkest recesses of the multiverse home, lending the film his signature touch and never shying away from becoming too scary or graphic with its violence. It might not be a straight-up horror film but this is as close to horror as the MCU has ever managed to get, and I am here for it.

I do indeed need to also touch upon the stars of the whole thing. It is, after all, still a Doctor Strange movie. Both Elizabeth Olsen and Benedict Cumberbatch give what is perhaps their best performances as their respective characters since they'd set foot in the MCU, while Xochitl Gomez makes a memorable debut as America Chavez. It was also nice seeing both Rachel McAdams and Chiwetel Ejiofor reprise their roles from the first film, and Benedict Wong gets to shine like never before.

It is almost tempting for me to end the review here and declare that Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is a perfect film. But if I'm to point out any perceived flaws in its storytelling, then it's the fact that the film often felt too overstuffed for its two-hour runtime. It is also worth mentioning that the horror elements might not be to everyone's taste, especially families with younger children who'd grown to love these characters over the course of the previous films. But if you're a fan of Sam Raimi and his work on past films like Evil Dead and Drag Me to Hell, then there's plenty to love about this one.

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is a treat for the eyes and senses. But even more than that, it is one of those rare sequels that manages to upstage its original. I haven't been this thoroughly entertained by a Sam Raimi film since Spider-Man 2. The director once again proves why his unique sensibilities work so well in the context of a comic book movie, and it is that vision that carries his latest film through in the end.


  1. Good to know Raimi still has it in him, as I think Evil Dead II is a brilliant film. I thought he faltered a bit with the Spider-Man films, so glad he rocked this one. Seeing it this afternoon. Bring on the horror.

    1. Nice. And yeah, Raimi was at the top of his game here. Hopefully he does another proper horror film soon.

  2. I'm not really a Dr. Strange fan so I'll probably wait until it's on Disney+ to watch. I doubt it's too horror-y though as the first director got fired for wanting to make it a real horror movie.

    1. Yeah. It certainly doesn't go all the way there but I was still surprised by how far they were wiling to go.