“Dr Strange: Multiverse of Madness” is it good? Thoughts and review. *spoilers*


Non spoiler review.

“Madness” is the correct word for the second Dr Strange movie. The first half of my review will be spoiler free, then the second I’ll get into more details about what I liked and disliked about the movie. Marvel Studios definitely took a step in a new direction for the MCU using Dr Strange. The multiverse concept can be a difficult one to navigate but they do a pretty good job with this one.

Marvel had practice with different versions of their characters from different universes in the “What if” series and “Spider-Man: No way home”, so they had an idea of what works. The multiverse lore and rules weren’t too complicated to follow and understand, they didn’t go in to details about how it works and how they travel through them but it worked for the films pacing. What was useful for this movie is that the idea of the multiverse being endless, endless possibilities, endless outcomes, endless versions of characters, endless everything. So they can have whatever characters they wanted and have it fit the purpose of the story and their production without worrying too much about their story because with endless possibilities, everything is possible.

The overall tone of the movie feels menacing and like a horror film at times. Sam Raimis definitely left his iconic directing stamp on the movie. There are times where it felt like a true horror film, and not a Disney MCU project. That adds to the film as the severity of everything increases and we feel how high the stakes are. Some shots and scenes were truly horrifying. Marvel took a real risk with this movie and it paid off well for them.

Spoiler review.

Now that my non spoiler review is done, let’s have a detailed look at the elements I enjoyed, and didn’t, about Multiverse of Madness. If you were expecting a spectacle of cameos and a heap of fan-services, this movie will definitely let you down. However, the lack of cameos and fan-services didn’t take anything away from the movie for me. It was a Dr Strange movie, no need to have characters in it that wouldn’t serve a purpose like Ghost Rider or Tobey and Andrew’s Spider-Man. These characters would’ve felt forced in the story just to please the fans and doesn’t add anything to the overall plot of the movie. The only noticeable cameos we got were Patrick Stewart as Professor X, John Krasinski as Reed Richard and Hayley Atwell as Captain Carter, along with Black Bolt and Monica Rambeau as Captain Marvel. They served a real purpose of introducing us to the concept of an incursion, and proving us how strong Wanda was. At my first viewing, I felt a little disappointed these were the only cameos we were getting; but as the movie went on the dynamic of Wanda being the strongest she’s been; and Strange having to use more than magic to defeat her was intriguing in my opinion.

The MCU truly feel like an alive universe. There’s still repercussions from Endgame and “the snap”. I think it makes sense for the snap to be having an impact this far out from Endgame. Having people question Strange giving Thanos the Time stones was a subtle way to make the events of that movies impactful and meaningful, because it should’ve been a big deal, it was a battle for the ages. It truly bring the cinematic universe alive.

What they did with Wanda’s character was great. Her subtle and evil yet understandable decent to being the villain was done well. Through her mini series and her development in the Avengers movies and Civil war, we slowly see her lose hope in goodness and turn to the Darkhold. The Scarlet Witch character is truly terrifying. Visuals of her innocent looks calmly wreaking havoc covered in bloody felt like a horror film. As the sorcerers of Kamar-Taj awaited Wanda, we get a sense of her true power through the amazing visuals. We anticipate as Strange and Wong ready for a battle they knowingly would lose.

Another aspect I enjoyed about Dr Strange 2 was the action sequences and the fast pace of it. This includes all the horrifying shots of Wanda in the battle of Kamar-Taj and her bloody massacre of the Illuminati. You can feel Wanda’s desperate attempts to get America Chavez, you can feel Stephen and Wong in shambles as they do what they can just to survive Wanda’s attacks. There’s a great sense of urgency within the movie. This links with my take on the pacing of it and how I think it is fine. It may just be me and I may just enjoy a movie that gets to the point, but this movie starts with a fight scene in the beginning and doesn’t slow down throughout. It serves the movie well by adding to the sense of urgency, but doesn’t take away from character moments like Stephen pondering his relationship with Christine, or America Chavez trusting our version of Stephen.

One under utilised character I thought they could’ve done more with was Wong. Having him as Sorcerer Supreme I thought he would’ve been instrumental to the plot. He wasn’t bad as a character but I would’ve liked him to have done more other than exposition dialogue to explain relics and lores of the movie.

While I was watching in the theatre, I couldn’t get rid of the sense that this movie was meant to be something more. It had “madness” in the title and it might’ve been a consequence of my high expectations, but my first thoughts of the movie I didn’t enjoy. As I got to thinking about it more, I realised the intense thrilling tone of “The Batman” and epic nostalgic feel of “Spider-Man: No way home” skewed my expectation of my viewing of Multiverse of Madness. In no sense I’m saying this is a perfect movie, its cgi was not perfect (but still stunning however), America Chavez felt underdeveloped as a character, and Dr Strange not defeating Wanda in the end felt like a cop out, are all some critique I had for the movie; but it introduced what Marvel wanted to and served its purpose. I am excited to see what they have planned for its next “Endgame” like event. It might be a Secret War like event, a battle with Galactic since we got introduced to Reed Richards from Fantastic 4. The possibilities are plenty for the MCU to adapt, and Dr Strange: Multiverse of Madness for one got me excited for it all.

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