Doctor Strange in The Multiverse of Madness Review (2022) (spoilers after main review)

I finally saw the movie on Saturday, I say finally as it’s been pretty difficult over the past week to avoid spoilers. The movie is a blast, a real thrill ride. I will start the review soon, but there will be spoilers after the end of this review. There’s a lot that happens in it that I don’t want to spoil, but still want to talk about. I will try my best to give a lot of space between the main review and the spoilers as I feel like this is a movie you need to go into as blind as you can. 

Doctor Strange in The Multiverse of Madness stars Benedict Cumberbatch as the titular Doctor Stephen Strange, Elizabeth Olsen as The Scarlet Witch/Wanda Maximoff, Xochitl Gomez as America Chavez, Benedict Wong as Wong, Rachel McAdams as Dr. Christine Palmer, and Chiwetel Ejiofor as Baron Mordo. The movie sees Doctor Strange diving head first into the increasingly crazy multiverse of possibilities (as seen recently in Loki, What If?, and Spider-Man No Way Home) when a seemingly regular day is interrupted by the arrival of America Chavez, a girl with myterious magical abilities to traverse the multiverse, as she is being hunted by magical monsters trying to take her powers. 

I really enjoyed the way this story was told and the way it developed. It was kind of surprising the places it went and how early it did. One thing to say about this movie is that Doctor Strange is in it more like a Mad Max style character, he’s a protagonist, but the movie isn’t really about him. It’s more about the establishment of a new hero in America Chavez and a kind of finale for the current character Arc that Wanda has been on since Wandavision.

Doctor Strange does work in this movie, even if he’s more of a vessel for the stories of the other characters. He still goes on a bit of an arc as it’s kind of about him learning and realizing that he can’t have everything, and that he has to accept that as it could result in a lot of bad things happening. We saw something a little similar with a variant of Strange in What If? with Strange Supreme. He continues to learn that there are consequences to actions. He learns from the situations of the other variants that appear in the movie. Benedict Cumberbatch does another great job as Stephen Strange. He gets a lot more to work with in this movie, with having to play multiple versions of the role, and is great in them all. 

The Scarlet Witch is great in this movie. She has changed a bit from the last time we saw her. I don’t want to say too much but it does fit in with what we saw at the end of Wandavision during the Post-Credits scene. I mean I could say some stuff as it’s clear from the marketing that she is the antagonist of the movie. Her reasonings are kind of understandable, especially with the way the Darkhold works in this multiverse. We also get to see just how powerful she is as the Scarlet Witch, even more so than we did in Wandavision. She can also be legitimately terrifying in this movie, there’s some sequences where she is actually scary. I can see people being upset with the way she goes in this movie, just judging from the way people saw her in Wandavision. Especially as for some people it could feel like a left turn, or something that is happening a little too early in this version of the character. Elizabeth Olsen is a stand-out in this movie with what she does and the versions she plays. I feel like she had some fun her with what she gets to do in it. She’s able to play every emotion the character has in this movie very well and effective. 

America Chavez is another stand-out character in this movie. They did a great job establishing her as a character and how she might work in the movies going forward. This movie kind of serves as her coming of age story, as its her learning to trust again and becoming more confident and in control of her abilities. Gomez does an incredible job with the character, bringing the right amount of pathos to it with what she’s been through at such a young age. 

Everyone else in the movie did a great job. Wong was fun as always and even had some badass moments, Mordo was good. I won’t say anything else about performances as the cameos all did great and I don’t want to spoil them. 

The music was pretty good in this movie, Danny Elfman did a great job and brings the right amount of tense scariness alongside the heroic bombastic moments. The effects are all great in this movie, they had a lot to work with and everything looks great. America’s portals all look amazing and keep that glassy look that What If? had established for people with the ability to traverse the multiverse. The multiversal travel scenes were all great, showcasing some really crazy alternate universes out there. The magic showcased in the movie is all great, a lot of creativity here with the sorcerers and their spells. Wanda’s magic looked great as well. Theres a specific battle scene that was really fun and creative with the way it used magic with music. It’s a real stand-out fight in the movie. The action in general in the movie works very well and is pretty good throughout. There’s a specific scene I will not talk about until the spoiler section as it’s another standout scene. The cinematography and direction in this movie is all great, has Sam’s hands all over it. I think it really helps the movie to have a director like Sam Raimi helm it. He brings the right amount of horror elements, as well as bonkers stuff in it. He also brings a lot of evil dead stuff to the movie, which is all great. 

Over-all Doctor Strange in The Multiverse of Madness is a fun romp through the multiverse. See it in the theatres, if not for how good it is, do it for the cameos. 2 Thumbs Up ! Coming next, my Moon Knight review !

SPOILERS

Wow a lot happened in this movie, if you don’t want to be spoiled this is the last chance to avoid seeing anything else that happens in this movie. Also this part is gonna be full on train of thought word vomit being typed out. Which admittedly isn’t to different than my regular reviews

My goodness Sam Raimi was the best choice to direct this with how it went. Scarlet Witch is full Evil Dead, terrifying villain in this. Like the scene where she attacks Kamar-Taj and slaughters a majority of the sorcerers there, to the scene where they show why the Mirror Dimension should not be relied on even more after Spider-Man. How the Witch is able to use it against them and the scene where she emerges out of the, I think it was a gong, is insane with how she comes out. I think its interesting that Marvel let Raimi and Waldron turn Wanda into a full villain after the success of Wandavision, but I don’t think it’s the end of the character, even though it kind of feels like one. She’s fully a villain in this one, I mean she basically possess another version of herself and slaughters a lot of people and robots. I do like how its that that shows her how far she’s gone and how they end up defeating her. Showing to her that she can never truly be the mother she wants to be with what she’s done and what she was willing to do. 

Although I do wonder what the Derrickson version of the movie would have been, maybe it would have featured a character we hear about in this movie for the first time. It was cool to see Mount Wundagore for the first time in the MCM. With that we also get the first mention of the creator of the Darkhold and the Scarlet Witch, Chthon. I think one of my issues with the movie would have been solved if Chthon was more apart of the movie, a true corrupting influence over anyone who touches the darkhold. It would have helped explain why Wanda seems to have changed so much since Wandavision, other than just the influence of the Darkhold itself. Especially since it’s so corrupting in every universe, every universe version that has touched it has become worse. We get to see in live action something we only saw in What If? as well, with showing what happens when a universe has an incursion and is destroyed.

Speaking of Incursions, we get introduced to the people that discovered it, one universes version of the illuminati. This one made up of the cameos spoke of earlier. We get to see Maria Rambeau as Captain Marvel, the live-action debut of Haley Atwell as Captain Carter (also from what if), Mordo as Sorcerer Supreme, The MCM Debut of Reed Richards (here played by John Krasisnki), The return of Ansen Mount as a comic accurate Black Bolt, and the MCM debut of Charles Xavier played by the legendary return of Patrick Stewart. He’s even in a cartoon accurate yellow hovercaair too ! It was cool to see these characters here, even if they’re here to up The Witchs body count. This was an incredible scene, with Reed getting turned into Spaghetti, Carter getting cut in half (impressive considering what she survived in What If?), Rambeau being crushed by a statue, and Black Bolt going out like a chump. That was kind of sad to see such a powerful character go out the way he did, but then again the inhuman don’t matter much to the current MCM stuff. Especially after the response to the Inhumans show. Though to do multiverse stuff we can always see them come back. 

I do enjoy how a through line of the movie is that you can’t always get what you want, it’s a major part of both Stephen and Wanda’s development in this movie. We get to see 4 versions of Strange in this movie, 5 over-all in the MCM if you count Strange Supreme from What If ? and every single one has had bad luck in their relationship with Christine, every single one does not end up working out. We also see the Darkhold’s influence in how it’s corrupted at least 2 other Stranges. 

It was cool to see how Evil Dead it got, we got at least a couple scenes of this. There’s new designation of the main universe matching the comic’s 616 Witch dream walking into the illuminati universe version. Then there’s the one with the dead body of the Strange seen at the beginning of the movie, being possessed by the 616 Strange and resurrected due to having his soul in him. That was cool to see a full on Deadite looking strange doing magic with the damned guardians I guess you can say.

Now coming back to issues, dream walking introduces some (god I hate to say this) plot holes into the movie. With the Darkhold’s ability to dream walk into other versions of ourselves, why wouldn’t Wanda just do that to be with her children again. She’s doing this all for them, even though for 616 Wanda they don’t really exist at least not yet. Also another issue is that the first time we see her she is still doing a hex, which can go against her development from Wandavision. Which is why I wished that we had more of Chthon in it as than we could have a reason why she’s doing what she’s doing. Maybe Chthon is possessing her in some way and that’s why she is so dark in this movie, and why she decides to destroy all versions of the Darkhold. Maybe Chthon is trying to get the Witch to get America’s powers to be freed from the dimension it’s in. It would help with how hearing and seeing the children can kind of break her out of her spell. 

I can see where people have issues as it does feel like the character skipped some portion of their story with Wanda. But I think it’s important to remember that it can’t be too different than what Marvel wanted to do originally with this movie as they still signed off and allowed it to happen and to go the way it did. Again I don’t think that this is the last we’ll se with her, we’ve seen her survive worse and even then, multiverse baby!

Thats it for spoilers, again it’s a great movie and I can’t wait to see what happens in the future with these characters. And I hope Sam Raimi stays around for the eventual sequel. I can say that this does give us a glimpse into something that is likely coming in the future with Secret Wars, and how America could be a major part in that in some way.

Ok this is really it for spoilers, again great movie, go see it.

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