Following the events of Spider-Man: No Way Home, Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) embarks on mind-bending and crazy journey through the alternate realities of the multiverse to confront a mysterious foe.
Years ago when this project was announced at Comic Con, I was excited for all of the possibilities this chaotic multiverse could give us. Give me weird! Give me crazy! Seriously — BRING ON THE MADNESS!
And as we started this phase of the MCU with Loki and WandaVision, all of these multiverse moments were happening, and I admit, the hype was building for me. In my mind, all of these events were leading us here, to TODAY — to Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.
And then the let down.
Without going into BIG spoilers, I admit that there are elements I truly enjoyed but as I sit here in the midsts of the credits rolling in between Marvel’s anticipated end credit scenes, I cannot help but feel disappointment.
Instead of madness and excitement, I was just completely underwhelmed. I wanted chaos. I wanted weird worlds colliding. I wanted SO MANY Doctor Stranges, my head would spin. I wanted to be challenged as a viewer and learned more about what Marvel’s multiverse had to offer us.
However, nothing was surprising. In fact any moment that would be a SURPRISE Marvel moment, was already shared via trailers and teasers. (Sorry I guess that’s kind of a spoiler?) The plot is rather bland, messy, uneven, and held together by rather weak writing.
Many are commenting on the horror aspects of the film. Honestly? It’s not THAT scary. Violent? Yes. But if you’ve seen Amazon’s The Boys, this is nothing.
The brutal kills and demonic elements were welcomed style additions to the comic book genre, however Sam Raimi’s dizzying direction was so cheesy and outdated, I found myself getting annoyed. There’s literally a sequence where different characters are fading in and out of the frame, like a damn 80’s music video. It’s cringeworthy, and I’m sorry, it made the entire experience worse. And I will die on this hill.
Thankfully, Elizabeth Olsen’s powerful performance as Wanda Maximoff is what kept this film together for me. Her intensity, heart and brutal violence was just plain awesome. She is one of the best assets to the MCU right now and hands down, the biggest success story of this film.
Listen, if you are a Marvel fan, you’re going to end up seeing this at some point. And trust me, there are worse Marvel films out there.
But please know that if you’re interesting in themes of the multiverse, there is a way better multiverse film out there in theatres — and that’s Everything Everywhere All At Once. Go see that.
Final Thoughts: Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is not as mad or chaotically fun as it should be. More like the “multiverse of mediocrity”.