To say that Doctor Strange In The Multiverse of Madness has been highly anticipated would be an understatement. Since its announcement at the San Diego Comic-Con way back in 2019 Marvel fans have been foaming at the mouth with speculation. And with a title like Multiverse of Madness, why wouldn’t they be? Well, rest assured… the Multiverse is in good hands. Director Sam Raimi (The Evil Dead, Spider-Man) brings his trademark blend of silly humor and darker elements to the world of wizardry and multi-dimensional transportation. And the end result is an absolute blast.
Following the events of Spider-Man: No Way Home, Loki and WandaVision the multiverse has arrived and is on full display in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Multiverse of Madness takes the ideas from those three MCU entries and expands them in epic scale. Stephen Strange is forced to travel through the multiverse in order to save his own universe from imminent destruction. It won’t be easy. But when is saving the universe ever easy?
Scott Derrickson is a talented filmmaker in his own right. But I’d be lying if I said the announcement that Sam Raimi had replaced Derrickson as director didn’t make me squeal with joy. As a life long Raimi fanboy, the news was music to my ears. Not only because of his skills as a director; but because his signature style is a perfect fit for the magical world of Doctor Strange. Raimi’s fingerprints are all over this movie. The whacky humor. The trademark camera zooms and scene transitions. He has a way of taking the most outlandish ideas, and translating them to the screen in a way that works; usually, far better than it should.
If WandaVision made one thing abundantly clear, it’s that the MCU has yet to explore the full powers of The Scarlet Witch. Rest assured, the extent of that power is on full display in Multiverse of Madness. Elizabeth Olsen (Wind River) embodies Wanda with a broken hearted sorrow. She’s emotionally lost and desperate. That’s a dangerous combination for the universes most powerful witch. And while Olsen delivers her best MCU performance to date, it’s new comer Xochitl Gomez as America Chavez that steals the show. America is a young teen with the ability to open portals and travel the multiverse in an instant. It’s an amazing power to be bestowed upon such a young girl. And its that power that sets the stage for Multiverse of Madness.
The film isn’t perfect. Few are, if any. But my complaints are few and far between. Some of them I can’t speak of without spoiling one of the many secrets of the multiverse. But one complaint that I can speak openly about is the film’s over reliance on exposition. Nearly every moment of dialogue is one character or another explaining aspects of the multiverse, how it works and the dangers of interfering with it’s stability. Similar to the exposition dump delivered by “He Who Remains” in the final moments of Loki, but occurring far more often. It’s sort of a necessary evil. For fans to understand the events of the multiverse within one film, would be nearly impossible without exposition. Unless that movie were to be ten hours long.
At just over two hours, the pacing is on point. The story movies from action piece to action piece and showcases some of the most epic battles we’ve seen. As a whole, the film is far lighter in tone than the trailer would suggest; however, it does boast some of the most gruesome and violent moments we’ve seen in the MCU. Sam Raimi’s visionary style lends itself perfectly to the wizarding world of Doctor Strange and I can’t wait to return to it. 8.5/10