[Marvel Studios]

Movie Review: Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

10:00 May 09, 2022
By: David Vicari

The Marvel Comics character Dr. Stephen Strange, neurosurgeon turned Master of the Mystic Arts, returns in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, a badass sequel to 2016's Doctor Strange. The Multiverse of Madness is also the 28th film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

I will freely admit that I had problems deciphering some of the details of the screwy plot in Multiverse, but I got the general idea and could follow the story. So...in general...Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) saves the life of America Chavez (Xochitl Gomez), a teenager who popped out of an inter-dimensional portal with an octopus demon in hot pursuit. The reason that Chavez is being chased by demons is that she has the power to travel through the multiverse (i.e. alternate universes), and it turns out that it is Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) who has dispatched those demons because Maximoff wants that power for herself. So, Strange and Chavez end up being chased through alternate universes as they search for the Book of the Vishanti, which has a spell to vanquish the darkness. Helping Strange is his fellow sorcerer Wong (Benedict Wong) and ex-fiancé Christine (Rachel McAdams).

Photo credit: Marvel Studios

The Multiverse of Madness is a wild film and is distinctive from the usual comic book movie thanks to the director, Sam Raimi. If you remember, Raimi directed the Spider-Man movies that star Tobey Maguire, with Spider-Man 2 (2004) being one of the best superhero movies ever made. Raimi also made the comic book inspired Darkman (1990), long before superhero action movies were truly in vogue. Of course, many of us know Raimi as the precocious director of original horror classic The Evil Dead (1981) and its sequels - the absolutely brilliant Evil Dead 2 (1987), and the ridiculous Army of Darkness (1992).

The Multiverse of Madness is very Sam Raimi, and very Evil Dead-like. This is the closest thing to a straight up Marvel horror movie. Yeah, there is a muddy exposition dump in the middle that does slow the movie down, but the final act of this film is truly bonkers. We get monsters, demons, possession/re-animation of dead bodies, an excellent sarcastic performance from Cumberbatch, snappy and funny dialog, trippy digital effects, and a hilarious Bruce Campbell cameo. What's not to love? It's great!

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is in theaters now. See it in 3D if you can.

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