Movie Review: DR. STRANGE in the MULTIVERSE OF MADNESS
Review by: Isabelle Paley
Directed by: Sam Raimi
With 28 Marvel movies and a variety of TV shows to date, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness may be the most mind-boggling movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). A runtime of 2 hours and 6 minutes, Doctor Strange provides fans with intense action sequences, new characters and a lot of questions.
The movie follows Doctor Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) as he protects his new prodigy, America Chavez (Xochitl Gomez) from those wanting to steal her powers of multiverse travel. Strange and Chavez travel through the multiverse searching for the book of Vishanti, a powerful spell book that can be used to protect America from the darkhold, the book of Vishanti’s evil counterpart.
Due to the last minute director and writer switch from the original Doctor Strange film, it feels like the change to Sam Raimi (director) and writer Michael Waldron did not have the time necessary to come up with a more original plotline. The movie closely mirrors Marvel’s previous release of SpiderMan: No Way Home where Doctor Strange has to save the multiverse again, except this time with Chavez instead of Peter Parker. However, Raimi does a good job of creating relatable characters on screen. Chavez’s fear of her powers stems from her childhood in which she sent her parents into a different universe. But as she travels the multiverse with Strange, she begins to forgive herself and grow into her powers. This development brings a fresh face to the MCU with a heartwarming character you just can’t help but root for.
Using the multiverse, Marvel opens up a new realm of possibilities for the MCU that can be hard to keep up with. The laws of the multiverse and multiversal travel are vaguely outlined, relying on the viewer’s previous assumptions of time travel. One main conflict that Strange has to face is himself, though in different versions. Marvel uses the assumption of multiversal travel that anything you do in one universe has the possibility to impact the other. But Strange and Chavez are constantly seen causing havoc in one universe and then jumping to the other with little consequences. It seems as if the rules are created on the spot, leaving viewers confused as to how hopping from one universe to the other actually pans out.
One of the highlights of the movie was the soundtrack itself, created by Danny Elfman. The dark and horror-like score enhances Strange’s journey into the multiverse. Intense percussion and high-pitched strings, the music leaves fans on the edge of their seats during the drama filled moments. At one point in the movie, the music is even the main weapon in a fight sequence between Doctor Strange and a multiversal monster. The dramatic and action packed score transports the viewers into the suspenseful quest, something the special effects failed to do.
Marvel utilizes a lot of special effects and CGI to bring the multiverse to life, but the sheer amount of effects used in the film leave some poorly edited scenes that take away the focus on the main plot. The demons Strange and Chavez have to fight are semi-realistic at best. In the beginning of the film, America Chavez is introduced when a cyclops looking creature is seen hunting her through the city. Strange saves Chavez by removing the creature’s eye, but the lack of focus on the special effects makes it look like it was created with technology from the 1980’s, not the quality we have gotten in other Marvel films.
An exciting action packed film for the average moviegoer, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness seems like a filler movie to the superfans. With the laid out plans and cultivating storylines of Marvel’s previous phases, phase 4’s dependency on the multiverse has not been clearly outlined. The cliffhanger at the end of the film and plot holes throughout has fans leaving the theater with more questions than actual answers.With 28 Marvel movies and a variety of TV shows to date, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness may be the most mind-boggling movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). A runtime of 2 hours and 6 minutes, Doctor Strange provides fans with epic fight scenes, new characters, and a lot of questions.