Movie Review - Marvel's Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (Spoiler-Free)

Enter a new dimension of strange.

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is a 2022 fantasy superhero film directed by Sam Raimi, written by Michael Waldron, produced by Marvel Studios, and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. It is based off of various Doctor Strange comics by Marvel Comics. The film stars Benedict Cumberbatch and Elizabeth Olsen. This is the thirty-fourth project and twenty-eighth film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It was preceded by Doctor Strange, WandaVision, Loki, Spider-Man: No Way Home, and Moon Knight and will be followed by Ms. Marvel and Thor: Love and Thunder.


"What do you know about the multiverse?" - Stephen Strange

Plot


When a young girl named America Chavez comes to Kamar-Taj for help, Doctor Stephen Strange opens the doorway to the multiverse and finds a threat bigger than he could possibly imagine.


Elements of Horror / Scarlet Witch / Doctor Strange / Action / Sam Raimi / Cameos (Part One) / Cameos (Part Two) / Not Doing Enough with the Multiverse / Messy / Resolution / Mordo / Where is the MCU Going?


Thoughts on the After-Credits (Spoiler-Free)


Should you go see Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness?


Final Thoughts and Score


The Sweet


Early reviews have called Multiverse of Madness a horror movie. While I do not think that this is necessarily a horror movie, it definitely is horror adjacent. There are moments in the film that are legitimately unsettling. Characters die gruesome deaths. I really, really loved that aspect of the movie. The gore in the movie isn't the level of a true horror movie, but there is a lot of violence and a solid amount of blood. It's easily the most frightening and mature movie that the MCU has ever made. It's the closest we ever will get to an MCU horror movie, and I really liked that.


I also do like the direction they take Scarlet Witch here. I don't really think her character arc is one that most audience members will see coming. They hide a lot of her true nature in this film in the trailer. And I think that was for the best. They really tie this into WandaVision, which I appreciated. It feels like the logical continuation of her character. Elizabeth Olsen is as great as ever. She can be charming and likable while also being just ridiculously menacing at times. I'm not sure what they will do with her after this movie. I don't know what the end of her character arc exactly means. But I think Wanda is a great and important addition to this film.


We also get a lot more Doctor Strange here. I think Scarlet Witch does outshine him a little bit, but he still gets plenty of time to develop and grow. His interactions with America Chavez, Christine Palmer, and his other variants are very interesting. We see how his flaws still shine through and affect others. Benedict Cumberbatch brings it all. I think that Doctor Strange should be the next Iron Man. He should be the main protagonist of the MCU going forward.


I also adored the action in this movie. When I saw the trailers, I was a little bit worried that the action would be Shang-Chi style: big, CGI battles that look atrocious. That is not the case. We get some awesome Doctor Strange action here. Sam Raimi translated the comic book panels directly to the big screen with an amazing visual style and some super cool Doctor Strange magic tricks. It isn't just balls of light being tossed around. There are cool weapons and new abilities shown here that I really, really loved.


And, on that same note, Sam Raimi just gives it his all here. A lot of MCU movies don't haves style. They don't have flair. The directors don't leave their fingerprints on the project. Sam Raimi's name is written all over Multiverse of Madness. There are some strange, trippy visuals and some awesome shots here. It feels like he combined Evil Dead with the MCU, and I absolutely loved that.


Without spoiling anything at all: the cameos were fun. There's not a lot of them. It's really only the Illuminati. But they are fun. There's a big one that I will not spoil at all. Be careful, because those cameos have leaked on to the internet. You do not want them spoiled for you. I can't really say anything else here, but I really did have a great time with the cameos.


The Sour


Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is not a great movie.


Let me start with this: I think the trailers showed too much. There are five members of the Illuminati. That means there are five major cameos. The trailers show you three of those characters. Just in case you haven't watched the trailers, I won't say who those characters are. But I don't understand why they would do that. There could be some major surprises here, and it feels like the trailers spoiled that.


The biggest disappointment of the film, however, was the usage of the multiverse. Loki introduced the multiverse. No Way Home scratched the surface. The multiverse is this awesome storytelling device that can be used to do so many jaw-dropping things...and it feels like Multiverse of Madness didn't really do those jaw-dropping things. It isn't really the multiverse of madness. We don't really travel through the multiverse. We go to a few different universes. There is fun with the multiverse. But it still feels like we've only scratched the surface. I thought Multiverse of Madness was going to go full, mind-bending multiverse mode and make my eyes pop out of my head. And it didn't do that.


The film is also a pretty big mess. The story itself is very straight forward. There isn't much complexity to it at all. But in balancing all of the different characters and plot lines, it tends to lose its footing from time to time. The film jumps from Wanda to Doctor Strange to America, and it feels like it's all jumbled and disorganized. It could've used ten to fifteen more minutes to breathe. They could've added some more multiverse. Some more cameos. It would've felt like a more complete film.


I also feel like the end of the film leaves something to be desired. There's a pretty short final battle, then there's like a minute and a half long epilogue scene...and credits roll. The ending felt kind of abrupt, and I feel like we needed to do a little bit more to wrap everything up. Also, the final shot of the movie and the after-credits really don't make sense together.


Another disappointment was the usage of Mordo. They set up Mordo to be a primary villain in the after-credits of the first Doctor Strange film, but it feels like they didn't really pay that off at all here. I can't say exactly what I mean, but if you've seen the movie, you most likely know what I'm talking about.


To be completely honest, I'm a little bit worried about the MCU right now. I have no clue where they are headed. They've set up all of these various things, and I have not the slightest idea as to where they are going. It's exciting, but it's also worrisome. I just don't know how Valentina Allegra de Fontaine, Shang-Chi, the Eternals, and the multiverse all have to do with each other. With the Infinity Saga, it was clear where they were headed. They spent twenty-two movies building towards Endgame, and there was a clear path carved out from Iron Man to Endgame. I just don't know what that path is for Phases Four, Five, and Six.


Post-Credits Scenes


There are two post-credits scenes in Multiverse of Madness.


The first teases where Doctor Strange is going, and, like I said before, I don't understand how it fits in with the final shot of the movie. It's strange (no pun intended). It feels rushed. It feels weird. I was not a fan.


The second after-credits scene is a fun joke that appeals to Sam Raimi fans. If you need to go to the bathroom really badly, you don't need to stay for the second post-credits scene.


Should you go see Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness?


Of course. It's a fun movie. Keep your expectations on the lower side, but if you are an MCU fan, you will enjoy it.


Final Thoughts and Score


Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness isn't exactly the film I'd hoped it'd be. It's a fun fantasy superhero horror film with great characters, fun action, and a few awesome cameos. I do wish it explored the multiverse more and I felt a little underwhelmed by the story and ending of the movie.


I will go Savory here. Age range is 12+.


SWEET N' SOUR SCALE

Sweet (Great)

Savory (Good) Sour (Bad)

Moldy (Terrible)


"Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness"


Fun Factor: 8/10

Acting: 8.5/10

Story: 5.5/10

Characters: 8/10

Quality: 6.5/10


Directed by Sam Raimi


Rated PG-13 for moderate violence and action, frightening images, disturbing themes, thematic elements


Released on May 6, 2022


2 hours and 6 minutes


Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Stephen Strange

Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda Maximoff / Scarlet Witch

Xochitl Gomez as America Chavez

Benedict Wong as Wong

Rachel McAdams as Dr. Christine Palmer

Chiwetel Ejiofor as Baron Karl Mordo