By Cristian Reyes, May 17, 2022
On May 6, “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” dropped in theaters, becoming the latest installation to phase four of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, exploring the vast multiverse.
After the immense hype of “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” follows up on the multiverse storyline and the vast troubles it contains.
The film follows Doctor Strange and the repercussions of him meddling with the multiverse in “Spider-Man: No Way Home.” A grieving Wanda Maximoff, known as the Scarlet Witch, also stars in this film. She was last seen on the Disney+ show “Wandavision,” where she accidentally held a town captive. She did this to give herself a reality she wanted with Vision as her husband and being parents to two sons. At the end of that show, Maximoff realizes what she did was wrong but also begins to use an evil book known as the “Darkhold” for her own gain.
The film starts off fast, with fight scenes throwing the audience right into the story. The film does a phenomenal job of creating intense, yet creative, fight scenes throughout the movie.
Director Sam Raimi deserves loads of praise for his innovative visuals throughout the film. There are hints of cheesy scenes, whether it be through dialogue or editing, but overall the movie has plenty of enjoyable content the MCU has not seen before.
The film is beautifully shot, creating dazzling scenes that really fit the vibe of the film. Raimi brings in his well-known horror spin to the film, adding jump scares every now and then. The horror element elevates the film as it is only used when needed and not forced into any scene.
America Chavez is a new character added to the growing MCU and ends up playing a big role in the film. Though she has potential of being a fan favorite character, in this film she is used more as a plot device. The film does not really go much into her character or her personality. Instead, we get one scene visualizing her origin and limited interactions with other characters as she usually stays by Strange’s side.
The story itself is a bit simple despite it revolving around the MCU’s multiverse. Doctor Strange is put in a scenario where he must undergo different universes along with Chavez in order to save the multiverse. Having this grand storyline, the movie lacks the use of the multiverse as the main characters hang around in only three universes.
There was so much potential with the use of the multiverse that even a couple scenes where the main characters point out unusual things in the different universes would have sufficed. Instead, there is a short montage of the multiverse that is seen in trailers; they joke about the multiverse at times and talk about how complex it is instead of showing it to the audience.
Despite only visiting a couple universes throughout the film, it does establish a solid understanding of how the multiverse works and produces fascinating universes that other films can revisit in the future.
The villain of this film is brutal. Without revealing who it is, the villain has malicious intent for their own selfish wants, and they are a force that Strange cannot take lightly. The film heavily illustrates this with some jaw-dropping scenes that fans have not experienced in any other MCU films.
The characters are a highlight of this film, which is common in the MCU as audiences have seen some of these characters in over three films. In this film specifically, the actors’ performances are highlighted even as they are given some questionable dialogue. Some lines in the film simply feel out of place and cause some scenes to feel bizarre.
The film had a ton of potential to be something very special with its plot revolving around the multiverse. It felt like the movie was holding itself back and did not want to dive deeper into other universes.
Despite the criticisms, the film does provide a compelling story that is entertaining to watch, with impressive editing and cinematography. Doctor Strange looks to establish himself as a fan favorite and this film will only add to that. The film sets up an elaborate future for the MCU as the multiverse adds many stipulations to an already jam-packed movie saga.
Feature image by Justin Oo.
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