Remember when Marvel tried so hard to explain away magic by being ‘science we justified don’t understand?’ In a world with super advanced tin-man armor, Gods, and super soldier popsicle men, actual magic was just a step too far. Thankfully, Marvel began letting magic into their worlds. And now, we have Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness and let me tell you, it’s out there. Like, WAY out there. We’ve come a long way since the very first Iron Man and Doctor Strange continues to keep things fresh and exciting keeping us looking forward to future films.
They Got the Magic in Them
One aspect of Multiverse of Madness (MoM) that really stood out to me was the acting. Benedict Cumberbatch still brings the smarmy charm to Strange to the multiple Stranges he gets to play. There’s a lot more introspective for the character this time around, and Cumberbatch does put his all into it. But the real standout is Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda Maximoff/The Scarlet Witch. Wands has been broken since the end of Infinity War, and her journey was one I wasn’t quite expecting but was pleasantly surprised to see. To say anymore would spoil the movie, but her journey is really enjoyable to experience. It is important to watch her Disney+ show WandaVision to get the full experience.
Benedict Wong gets a little more to do this time as the Sorcerer Supreme, and Rachel McAdams is a bit underused as Christine but still brings it in every scene she’s in. I really want to spotlight Xochitl Gomez as newcomer America Chavez. Someone is after Chavez’s power, and she has been hopping universes trying to stay alive. It could have been real easy to have this character be the generic “spunky with attitude” trope but they wrote her well. Xochitl Gomez portrayal is full of heart, and I’m excited to see her not only in future Marvel flicks but grow as an actor and be more out there.
MoM has been pushed as Marvel’s “horror” movie and honestly, yes and no. This is by far the scariest Marvel movie out there, but no one is going to choose this movie for their scary movie night. You’re not going to be nervous in your seat or anything, but there is an overall dark and creepy vibe throughout the film that I think works for it. A lot of that has to do with the director Sam Raimi in the best way. It’s dripping in his signature style, and that adds on to the general vibe they wanted. I was surprised in how dark and violent it got at moments, but it’s never so bad that kids in the theater will be traumatized.
Sam Raimi really nails that Doctor Strange weirdness as well. The initial multiverse hop is trippy as you’d expect, but it is a little short lived. Don’t expect to visit a ton of different dimensions; however, this was a smart move. You get time to really take in the worlds we go to. Marvel packed a lot in each location, so you never feel like you’re missing out. In fact, there are some cameos that even with all the “leaks” and speculations still blew my mind. They get a lot of mileage out of time in each world, so you get a lot without feeling like it’s over stuffed. And there is a lot here.
Do Your Research
In fact, that might be an issue for some. With over 10 years of movies, fans know you gotta keep up, but it’s always been in the movies. Now, with the Disney+ shows, there’s so much more to keep up on. You NEED to watch WandaVision to get a full understanding of her choices in this movie. If you don’t, you simply won’t understand the choices she makes. And will that become a barrier for some? The Marvel movies are finally starting to feel like the comics where you have to read multiple titles to get the full story. At some point, that may end up collapsing in on itself when audiences don’t want to keep up with it all anymore. For now, it only adds to MoM.
The Magic Touch
Sam Raimi fully leaves his footprint in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. Maybe the darkest and most violent Marvel film to date, it’s just a whole lot of fun. It gets you really excited for what next in the 616 universe, and I, for one, can’t wait.