Doctor Strange 2 is finally upon us after 6 years! And it’s the second-best multiverse movie in theatres… Read on for my Multiverse of Madness thoughts!
Doctor Steven Strange, former Sorcerer Supreme, faces an internal crisis. His hubris cost him a relationship he valued dearly. Yet Strange knows he’s made the most appropriate decisions at critical junctures of his life. Maybe some version of him somewhere in the universe found the happiness which eluded him…
Enter a girl named America Chavez. She possesses the unique ability to traverse the multiverse! But America cannot control her powers, and a dark force hunts her from world to world to steal her abilities. So Strange enlists the help of Wong and Wanda Maximoff to protect America, and they embark on a quest through the Multiverse of Madness!
Doctor Strange 2 had a terribly misleading marketing campaign. I might say that was a good thing, because surprises in films are often good. But I was left more disappointed than pleased by the twists.
The adventure weird and fun, which I wanted, but felt like a filler installment of the MCU. Nothing of value happened here for the greater universe or for the characters involved. It was entertaining enough but not what I’d call a “good” movie.
There are plenty of positives though: Sam Raimi’s direction is fantastic, for one thing. It makes a big difference when Marvel hires directors with backgrounds in action. Doctor Strange 2 is confident, bold, and visually stunning!
Raimi imbues the film with flashes of horror elements, most of which worked effectively. There were a few jump scares which startled me (though I tend to think that’s a cheap tactic). But multiple moments were genuinely unsettling– which is something I wish more Marvel films could accomplish.
Doctor Strange 2 is also full of inventive and wild combat sequences. My favourite might be one in which two characters fight with visualized music. That was epic!
Yet the fights were often predictable and lacked stakes. Once again, they were entertaining, but few had me on the edge of my seat.
And that’s my biggest problem with this film: I was never emotionally invested. From scene 1, it never captured more than my interest. I was never bored, but I also didn’t really care about anything happening. That’s because this story is aggressively mediocre– even, dare I say, badly written…
It notably fails Steven Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) himself. Doctor Strange hardly mattered in Multiverse of Madness. Maybe you don’t expect the title character to be important, but I sure do. Multiverse of Madness was less of a Doctor Strange story, and more of a story featuring him. And I think that’s why I couldn’t get invested: because I didn’t feel like the main character cared about the plot either.
America Chavez (Xochitl Gomez) randomly finds Strange in the first act. And he helps her because that’s his job. Strange is involved more out of obligation than for any meaningful reason to him. This is just business-as-usual for the former Sorcerer Supreme (to reiterate: yes, Wong is still in charge).
Worst of all: Strange learns a terrible lesson in the end, if you pause to examine it. This is a non-spoiler article, so I can’t say what exactly happened. But his character arc is arguably more regressive than progressive.
And how is America? Meh. She was boring. Xochitl Gomez did a fine job with her material, but the character was more of a macguffin than a three-dimensional person.
Much respect goes to the movie’s real MVP: Elizabeth Olsen! She carried this film on her back. Frankly, Multiverse of Madness is a better sequel to Wandavision than Doctor Strange. So watching her show on Disney+ before this film is a must! Otherwise a plot which falls flat will fall even flatter.
SIDE NOTE: My brother noticed they played the theme from Wandavision when was first introduced (I don’t tend to notice score or music cues, so I rely on him for that). I did, however, notice one fun musical cue about half-way through the movie during a character introduction!
What I cannot forgive is how this film concludes. The third act is atrocious (with a few good moments in there)! I was bothered by certain plot points as I left the theatre. But, as they sunk in, I grew infuriated that someone OK’d that ending. It goes back to a long-time problem I’ve had with Marvel. Except this instance was one of the worst examples of my gripe in the MCU’s history!
Also, the post credits scene is barely worth your time. The final scene of this movie makes no sense (yet), and it bleeds into the post-credits scene, which is even more nonsensical. It felt rushed, as if there was a lot more to show which ended up on the cutting room floor. And there very well might have been.
Sam Raimi’s gone on record to say that the initial cut of Doctor Strange 2 was near three hours long. They paired down this film by a lot! This would explain both the movie’s rushed ending and its general poor pacing. It may have clocked in just over 2 hours, but it felt far longer as I watched.
Just one more positive before I wrap up: there’s multiple moments which will make Marvel fans giddy. I’ve been generally down on the film, but those things made me happy.
Movies like this make me worried for Marvel’s future. I’ve been unexcited for most of their Phase 4 projects. And I’ve liked about half their output these past few years. The MCU is settling into a state of mediocrity, where the truly great stories are growing fewer and further between. I’m still here for the long haul but I have to call it like I see it…
Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness is Worth a Watch if you’ve seen Wandavision.
But, if you’re behind on the MCU, it’s still a fun enough time If you’re Bored.
Are you excited to see more of the MCU’s multiverse? What did you think of Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness? Please share your thoughts in the comments (no spoilers please). If you have any ideas for future articles, or any questions, let me know. Also be sure to Like this article on Facebook and share if you enjoyed!
Till next time,
FOR MY SPOILER THOUGHTS ON DOCTOR STRANGE IN THE MULTIVERSE OF MADNESS, CHECK OUT THIS EPISODE OF CLOSE UP WITH RYAN AND JOE! (43 minute mark)