Marvel has finally released the long-anticipated sequel to the 2016 film Doctor Strange. It’s been six years since the former Sorcerer Supreme has had his own title film. Unfortunately, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has suffered from poorly executed stories and mishandled character development in that gap. Is Doctor Strange: Multiverse of Madness, another victim of this recent writing? Or has Sam Rami injected some of his own magic? Join us as we discuss the question, “Is Doctor Strange: Multiverse of Madness worth watching?”
Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) finds himself in a new adventure that takes him deeper into the multiverse than he’s ever been before, thanks to the appearance of a mysterious young girl named America Chavez (Xochitl Gomez), who has the yet controlled ability to travel through dimensions. This film somewhat relies on its viewers to have at least some knowledge of the happenings of the Disney + series, Wanda-Vision. I say some knowledge because the ending of that series plays heavily into Wanda Maximoff’s (Elizabeth Olsen) motive to take America’s power for herself. Though I would suggest that you have some knowledge of Wanda-Vision, the writers did a decent job of putting in enough context clues for the viewers who are paying attention.
With this being a battle between Doctor Strange and the Scarlet Witch, this film does take on a much darker tone than your traditional MCU film. So many MCU films have exciting moments filled with action and some tension, but this film legitimately had me at the edge of my seat at moments as tension and suspense rose. Many coming into this film may remember Director Sam Rami from the original Spider-Man films of the early 2000s; however, this film is not that Sam Rami. Before he directed the friendly neighborhood webhead, Sam directed films such as “The Gift,” “Darkman,” and the “Evil Dead” series. Sam has a unique way of combining action, horror, and comedy into a film. Therefore, Sam was uniquely qualified to do a suspenseful, comedic superhero film.
Many times before, I’ve spoken to the need for the general audience to abandon the idea of “Comic Book” being a genre and realize that all of these characters come from their own unique genre of storytelling. This film does a great job of bridging the gap between “MCU” superhero film and then a suspense horror film.
With a landscape of an infinite multiverse to play with, the film did a great job of keeping the audience grounded in the events of the known MCU while also peering into various possibilities. Long-time Marvel fans have a buffet of cameos and easter eggs to get excited throughout this film. Some of these easter eggs are enhanced by series such as Disney+’s “What If….” But as with Wanda-Vision, the storytelling does a great job of giving newcomers clues as to what is happening.
The story progressed naturally while leaning on conversations about grief, regret, and personal ownership of a situation. Though a few aspects of the final fight could have been better set up, I didn’t feel that story was forced.
Visually this film was quite lovely. Each new alternate universe seemed to have a different color grade, which helped the audience distinguish between worlds outside of the general aesthetics. In addition, there were certain scenes that I found lovely in their simplicity. While very few scenes gave me the “larger than life” feelings that the first film gave, each scene felt appropriate for what was happening. With Sam at the helm of the film, certain scenes were a fingerprint of his filmmaking. Many moments took me back to the Army of Darkness franchise. Not in a cheesy way but in almost a nod to his roots.
You expect zombies, blood, and other such things in the horror genre. Yes, this film did contain those, but they weren’t over the top. They fit the world created by the MCU but didn’t come as a cheap knockoff. There were moments where Wanda legitimately was terrifying, many of which she wasn’t even in her full “Scarlet Witch” attire.
Adding to the thrill of the story is the musical bed. Danny Elfman brought an amazing score to the film. When things need to be tense, the music brought you there; when there needed to be hope, again, the music brought you there. A keen ear can pick out certain melodies that highlight cameos and easter eggs throughout the film.
Doctor Strange: Multiverse of Madness is a PG-13 film that has earned its rating. There is what many call a mild amount of cursing, much of which you hear on television no-a-days. However, the majority of this PG-13 rating rests on the horror aspect of the story. Though you don’t explicitly see it, you get pretty close to seeing several characters dismembered, crushed, and impaled. This is modern Marvel’s bloodiest film to date.
So is Doctor Strange: Multiverse of Madness worth watching? Honestly, it’s a pretty solid movie. I highly advise parents to rethink taking their younger children to see this film, but if you feel your child is mature enough for the themes presented, then I think it will be enjoyable. Here at Geek Devotions, we are giving it an 8 out of 10.