Marvel Studios’ newest venture, “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness,” has finally hit the theaters globally, marking the return of MCU’s sorcerer with the red enchanted cloak in his standalone feature after nearly five and a half years. Despite the title being focused on Doctor Strange, the latest Marvel flick is focused on several other characters rather than making Master of the Mystic Arts member the center of the narrative.
“Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” is also much-talked because of the return of renowned filmmaker Sam Raimi as a director, by helming his first comic-book movie after Spider-Man 3 (2007) which is among the most polarizing super-hero films of all time. Doctor Strange 2 was also focusing on Wanda Maximoff. Thus, it already set higher expectations, with many fans expecting multiple cameos like in Spider-Man: No Way Home.
Being an MCU fan since the Phase One movies, I was pretty intrigued about how Raimi would handle “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” while balancing his visually extravagant style alongside horror with the tone of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Thus, I went in to watch the first show as soon as the film became available in the nearest theater. Readers can find out if the Doctor Strange sequel is worth their watch or not in the spoiler-free review in the following section:
Elizabeth Olsen shines with her spectacular performance as Wanda, while Raimi helms a Mind-boggling story
Avid followers of the Marvel Cinematic Universe must note that the Doctor Strange sequel is pretty anti-MCU considering its stylization. Marvel Studios brought Sam Raimi on board to execute the magic he created with his “Spider-Man trilogy (2002-2007),” and it seems like he has delivered what was promised.
Doctor Strange and Wanda Maximoff are not the characters like Iron Man and Captain America, which one can categorize as white considering their good deeds. They deserved a darker treatment, which “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” has provided by neglecting the precedent set by previous MCU movies.
Doctor Strange has been portrayed effortlessly by Academy Award-nominee Benedict Cumberbatch, who seems to have carried from where he left in Spider-Man: No Way Home. Benedict Wong as Wong, now the Sorcerer Supreme, has delivered as Strange’s ally; however, I feel that writers haven’t worked much on Wong’s character apart from giving him more action scenes.
Doctor Strange 2 also introduced a new teenage character America Chavez, played by Xochitl Gomez, who does exceptionally well at her MCU. In fact, Chavez can be deemed as an upcoming fan-favorite character with Gomez’s portrayal.
Karl Mordo and Christine Palmer are other characters crucial to the plot, reprised by Chiwetel Ejiofor and Rachel McAdams. Mordo was present on the screen for a short duration and managed to stand out in front of Strange. At the same time, this time for a change, Palmer’s character had a more vital individuality and more importance than the previous iteration.
Despite the exceptional showcase by the rest of the cast, “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” is an Elizabeth Olsen show. Wanda’s character has been under psychological turmoil throughout her journey in MCU with the loss of her family and Vision.
WandaVision provided a hint at the instability in mental condition, but the Doctor Strange sequel took the traumatic toll to a whole different level. Director has also taken some crucial decisions from the story’s point of view that establish Wanda as a standout performer.
The VFX and Cinematography in Doctor Strange 2 have also astonishingly improved compared to an impressive 2016 prequel. The special effects provide an aesthetic appeal to the film while including several horror-inducing elements, including some of the grotesque and dark treatment of combat scenes, unlike MCU.
The most underrated aspect of Doctor Strange 2 is the background score given by composer Danny Elfman, one of Raimi’s frequent collaborators. He provided the soundtrack for movies like Spider-Man and Spider-Man 2, and thus, he successfully delivers an engaging OST to the latest Marvel flick.
However, Raimi’s direction has some shortcomings, which work against the movie. These cons include a relatively short duration, MCU’s usual tropes, and cheesy one-liners.
Considering the screenplay of “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness,” the movie would have easily stretched by around 20-30 minutes, providing more depth to certain scenes, especially the one including cameos. As the story brought the cameo appearances on the screen, the director seemed in a hurry to jump to the next scene.
- Also Read: Why Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is ideal for the introduction of X-Men in MCU
Sam Raimi is known for the cheesy dialogues worthy of whistles from the fans. However, these one-liners seem a bit unnecessary and avoidable at moments. The Doctor Strange sequel also suffered from the old MCU syndrome of including humor at certain moments to release the tension. However, fortunately for most of the film, Raimi has avoided unnecessary laughter-inducing scenes to keep the drama and tension intact.
“Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” shines with its stellar performances, stronger screenplay, incredible VFX, anxiety-inducing horror, and Darker tone with a mind-bending multiversal saga. However, the film at points seems a bit too fast, while MCU jokes and cheesy one-liners killed the vibe in some scenes.
Despite the shortcomings, the positives from the filmmaking standpoint have made the Doctor Strange sequel one of its kind in MCU. Thus, in my opinion, Doctor Strange 2 deserves 4.1 stars, and you should head out and give it a watch if you are seeking something new from the MCU.
Although the film leaves more questions unanswered than answering the previous ones, as a fan of darker super-hero tales like Invincible and The Boys, Doctor Strange 2 seems like a foot in the right direction considering MCU’s future in mind.
Make sure to follow Desk Gamers for the latest news, guides, and more related to the Entertainment industry.
Screenplay and Script8
Supporting Cast And Characters9
Pacing And Duration6.5
Supporting Cast and Characters9
Pacing and Duration6.5