'Doctor Strange: in the Multiverse of Madness' Review: Raimi Still Has It
Courtesy of Marvel Studios
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness was directed by Sam Raimi and stars Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Stephen Strange and Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda Maximoff in this multiverse adventure film where Doctor Strange meets American Chavez, played by Xochitl Gomez, and needs to protect her when she arrives in this universe. Not only is this a sequel to Spider-Man: No Way Home, but also a sequel to Doctor Strange and WandaVision. Scott Derrickson was originally going to direct this film, but left due to creative differences and Sam Raimi was brought on as director. Raimi is not only known for directing the original Spider-Man trilogy, but also the Evil Dead franchise.
Sam Raimi was given a lot of creative freedom in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. His style of directing stands out in this film compared to most MCU films with other directors. He does a great job of combining the two genres that put him on the map in horror and superhero films. The horror side of the film surprised me. It’s great to see Raimi go back to his original roots and I think Evil Dead fans will enjoy what they see. This is a film that won’t be for everyone. It’s not as scary as The Evil Dead, but it still might not be for some kids.
The performances were great in this film. The best performance was Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda Maximoff, who has fully embraced being the Scarlet Witch. We see this character unleash her full power in this film. Olsen delivers her best performance as Wanda. Benedict Cumberbatch is great as Doctor Strange and we see how he is dealing with the sacrifices he has had to make going back to his first film. Cumberbatch plays other versions of Strange as well and does great playing them as well. Xochitl Gomez as American Chavez is the newcomer in this film. Gomez does very well and hopefully, this leads to her having more roles down the road.
Visually, the visual effects are some of the best work in the MCU. The special effects work has gotten better since Doctor Strange. The film does have surprise cameos that audiences will enjoy. These are with the group, the Illuminati. Unlike Spider-Man: No Way Home, the cameos aren’t as crucial to Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness and are brief. Danny Elfman’s score is very good, but Michael Giacchino’s score from Doctor Strange was better and stood out more.
The runtime for the film isn’t perfect. Right from the beginning, they waste no time in getting the plot started. Raimi is known for using runtimes around two hours or less so it’s no surprise. While they covered a lot in this film and avoid exposition that could easily drag on, it felt like it could have been at least ten minutes longer to explain certain stuff better. For example, the Illuminati stuff felt rushed and could have been at least five minutes longer. Despite that, the film does a good job establishing where Wanda’s mindset is since the events of WandaVision and how she misses her kids.
Some people are expecting this to be as big as Avengers: Infinity War or Spider-Man: No Way Home. While it’s understandable that the expectations would be big, especially after Spider-Man: No Way Home and seeing previous Spider-Man characters, remember this is a Doctor Strange film where the main focus is on Doctor Strange, Scarlet Witch, and American Chavez. Don’t go into this film expecting so many variants of MCU characters or all Marvel characters from Marvel movies before the MCU. This isn’t a traditional MCU film either, which will make some fans happy, but also disappoint some who prefer the traditional MCU formula. For me, it’s better because as much as I like Doctor Strange from 2016, it was formulaic, and felt held back because of it.
All in all, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is Sam Raimi’s best film since Spider-Man 2. It’s great to see Raimi can not only still direct comic book movies, but also direct horror films. If you are a Sam Raimi fan, you’re likely going to enjoy this. Doctor Strange is important for the future of the MCU. It’s great to see the MCU break away from the formula and take on the horror genre. Cumberbatch and Olsen shine in this film. The visuals are some of the best in the MCU.
What did you think of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness? Let us know in the comments down below.