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Review: Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness

In the latest MCU entry, Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness takes on the events following Loki, Wandavision and Spider-Man: No Way Home split open the Multiverse and all that entails.  Benedict Cumberbatch returns as the Master Of The Mystic Arts to combat not only his own failings, but the onset of Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) decent into her own personal hell.

Dr Stephen Strange casts a forbidden spell that opens a portal to the multiverse. However, a threat emerges that may be too big for his team to handle.

Doctor Strange ITMOM introduces the multiverse on the universal scale finally  and with Sam Raimi back in the Marvel fold, also a typical Raimi horror comedy style.  Kevin Fiege was obviously looking for something different, when they approached this story but it doesn’t always work.

(L-R): Rachel McAdams as Dr. Christine Palmer, Benedict Cumberbatch as Dr. Stephen Strange, and Xochitl Gomez as America Chavez in Marvel Studios’ DOCTOR STRANGE IN THE MULTIVERSE OF MADNESS. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. ©Marvel Studios 2022. All Rights Reserved.

Raimi when unleashed to his thing can not only bring sheer terror to the screen, but he can make it palatable while shredding your nerves.  Unfortunately this isn’t it, well not for the most part.  There are glimmers of Raimi especially during the tunnel chase scene with Wanda pursing our heroes.  But eventually, it is reduced back to CGi amalgam of nonsense and a messy bout of  storytelling that really leads nowhere.

Doctor Strange brings with it the introduction of America Chavez (Xochiti Gomez) a mysterious girl with seeming powers over the multiverse and the Illuminati (a court of key Marvel characters from across the MCU), which has no doubts been spoiled over the internet by the time you are reading this and in itself ends up being a disappointment.  Because if all the Marvel films are going to do now is build to a scene where various characters are cameo’d with the excuse of the Multiverse (Thanks No Way Home), it’s all going to get dull very, very quickly.  As it does here, the Illuminati just end up as a punchline for Wanda’s tirade.  Sure it’s building to bringing in characters from across other franchises such as the X-Men and the forthcoming Fantastic Four, but this is just a lazy device with no real bearing on proceedings.  Which for the most part sums up In The Multiverse of Madness quite nicely.

Doctor Strange isn’t one of the strongest characters to lead the film with, in fact Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda/Scarlet Witch is the real MVP here. But Disney aren’t brave enough to headline the Scarlet Witch? Olsen is on absolute top form here, bringing far more gravitas than the film really deserves. THe sheer pain etched into her face when the realisation with her sons dawn in the films climax is simply heartbreaking. The film clearly at it’s best when it comes down to Olsen and Cumberbatch, but it always becomes bite-size pieces in the grander setting. It probably would have been better served as Wandavision Season 2 or some form of crossover series on Disney+. But alas here we are.

Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness is slightly better than the original, but it just feels like a slog to get to the end.  The story thus far of most of the films that are in Phase 4 and you have to question if the MCU peaked at Endgame?  Overall it’s a device to introduce the further adventures of… well just about everyone else and Doctor Strange is just the Macguffin that allows it to happen.  A weak entry that will no doubts be lapped up by the Marvel ultras, but not so much for everyone else.  

Rating: 2 out of 5.

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