Movie Review: Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022)

Directed by legendary filmmaker Sam Raimi (Evil Dead, the Spider-Man Trilogy 2002-2007), Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is the second solo outing from the titular hero, and the 28th film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). Following the events of Spider-Man: No Way Home and WandaVision, Dr. Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) seeks to enlist the aid of “the Scarlet Witch” Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) and America Gomez (Xochitl Gomez) to combat threats from across multiple universes. Benedict Wong, Rachel McAdams and Chiwetel Ejiofor also return in their MCU roles of Wong, Christine Palmer and Karl Mordo, respectively.

+ the music was good. I believe this is only Danny Elfman’s second foray into the MCU, and despite the MCU (and superhero films a a whole) often falling back into ‘bad guy appears, music goes “DUN DUN DUUUNNN”‘, I liked this. The primary villain had a fun recurring them, and one character/scene had a sick electric guitar powerslide motif to accompany it
+ there are some big cameos or character returns which are of course surprising. See below for more, but the initial moment is of course very exciting

– the story was stupid and didn’t really make much sense. The sheer power that these characters – Strange, Wong, Chavez, Wanda – possess just does not mesh with the short-sighted nature of what their goals were in this film. Roadblocks, backstories and consequences to actions are just throw out as they become important, with no build or follow up after the fact
– action and effects were uninspired and not as good as either the first film or especially the Thanos/Strange wizard fight in Inifinity War. Battles play out like a turn based video game, even when there is a numbers advantage on one side. There was only one scene of back and forth magical offense (opposed to just ‘throwing coloured explodey balls at each other’ magic) which I thought was cool, but even that could have been bigger and better
– I really expected more of a horror feel from Sam Raimi, but a few predictable jump scares (and one unpredictable one) do not a horror movie make. I’ve heard conflicting things to my saying this, so take it with a grain of salt, but there is just as much comedy as other MCU movies, and nothing that makes this stand out as a genre piece
– I have reactions to specific spoilers that I absolutely hated beyond words, and which ruined the movie for me. Looking beyond the obvious surface level, they were just dumb as hell and have already dampened me on future events, movies, or story adaptions

> I said this for his debut film, and I have thought it every time since: I simply do not buy Benedict Cumberbatch as Dr Strange. I’m not listing this as a negative because it’s a me problem, but I just don’t see it
> Gargantos (aka the octopus with the eye) is clearly based on Shuma-Gorath, one of Doctor Strange/the Fantastic Four’s major villains. I’ve been waiting for Shuma-Gorath itself to appear in some film or TV series for a while, but it’s cosmic power means little would ever stand a chance. At least we can conclude that Gargantos ≠ Shuma-Gorath.

Should you see this film: This is obviously one of those movies that you have already made your mind up before I even wrote this review. But I did not enjoy this movie, and due to this movie I do not care for whatever could possibly come next for some of these characters.

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