Review: ‘Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness’ mixes horror, magic, action

This poster shows the main characters, Stephen Strange and Wanda Maximoff, from the film Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness, which was released in theaters May 6. In its first weekend in theaters, the movie grossed $185 million domestically and $265 million internationally, according to Collider.

Photo credit: Mavel Promotional Poster

This poster shows the main characters, Stephen Strange and Wanda Maximoff, from the film “Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness,” which was released in theaters May 6. In its first weekend in theaters, the movie grossed $185 million domestically and $265 million internationally, according to Collider.

By Alexis David, Staff Reporter

The Marvel Cinematic Universe is home to some of the most popular movies in history with four of their films taking spots in the top 10 highest-grossing movies of all time. The movies also frequently boast Rotten Tomatoes scores in the 80 and 90 percentiles. The franchise has made a total of 34 films and, most recently, a series of TV shows on Disney’s streaming service, Disney+.

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” is the MCU’s most recent film and was released in theaters May 6. The film features three main characters: Stephen Strange, also known as Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), a slightly arrogant and extremely intelligent former doctor turned sorcerer who is an expert in his craft, America Chavez (Xochitl Gomez), a young girl born with the unique power of traveling through different multiverses and Wanda Maximoff, (Elizabeth Olsen), a powerful witch longing to be reunited with her children through whatever means necessary.

Over the course of the movie, Chavez and Strange lead viewers through different multiverses, such as a world comprised entirely of paint, and viewers see different versions of each character. The film also features various cameos, some in the form of popular fan castings (actors the fans wanted to play certain roles) who finally got the chance to shine on screen, or different variations of already introduced characters. For example, Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell), shows up as her superhero persona, Captain Carter, an alternate version of Chris Evans‘ Captain America.

While watching, I enjoyed witnessing Maximoff’s true potential for the first time. Maximoff has long been hailed as one of the most powerful characters in the universe, and this movie definitely reinforced her place at the top. Her powers have grown exponentially since the last time viewers saw her in “Wandavision,” likely due to her possession of the Darkhold, a magical book of evil spells.

This 2-hour and 6-minute-long film features numerous action-packed battle scenes, heart-wrenching scenes of family and, surprisingly, many elements of horror, a first for Marvel. Director Sam Raimi introduced his unique blend of horror and comedy into the MCU in this film, which made for a uniquely exciting experience.

The film also featured beautiful computer-generated imagery, which highlighted the mystical talents of some of the most magical characters in the MCU: an all-powerful, reality-warping witch, the most powerful sorcerer to ever exist and a multiverse jumping teenager.

However, this film did have some missteps. Compared to the typically three-hour-long movies produced by the MCU, this two-hour movie felt extremely rushed. Stuffing too much information in a comparatively shorter movie felt very ambitious, especially considering some plotlines didn’t seem to be as fleshed out as much as they could have been. For example, with only one short scene providing background on newcomer Chavez, I didn’t seem to fully understand or resonate with her character and motives. I would have liked to see more of her and who she is.

Additionally, the “multiverse” is a huge topic to try and tackle in one film. At the end of the film, I was left wondering what the multiverse really is. There also seemed to be less imaginative dialogue than in previous movies with characters simply stating their motives, goals and desires instead of letting the audience wonder or use their own imaginations. This is likely why the Rotten Tomatoes score of this film, a 74% critics score, was slightly lower than the typical scores of other Marvel movies.

Despite this, Gomez and Olsen shine in this film, and I believe that the power in their performances outweighed the problems with writing. Olsen really delivered in the emotional scenes and was able to make the audience feel both sympathy for her and scared of her, whereas Gomes brought a new, youthful energy that was really needed for a film like this.

All-in-all, this movie was really amusing and a bit more carefree than other Marvel movies. It was fun, action-packed and quick-paced. Featuring one of the best trios in MCU history, the characters really made this film. 

  • Story
  • Acting
  • Technical Quality
  • Enjoyment
  • Impact
3.8

Summary

Marvel’s, “Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness,” combines action, horror and a bit of magic to form a lively, fun and quick-paced movie full of exciting characters, both new and old.  Despite the flaws of this movie, namely the over-ambitiousness of the timeframe, the character’s performances really stood out and made this movie a solid watch.