Bureau 42 Review – Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

This review will attempt to be spoiler free and vague when mentioning plot details.  We can make no promises about the comments.  I also want to warn everyone to heed the Parental Guidance rating, as I have yet to hear of a kid under ten that hasn’t left the theater crying in terror1.

Cast and Crew

Directed by Sam Raimi

Written by Michael Waldron

Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Stephen Strange
Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda Maximoff / The Scarlet Witch
Chiwetel Ejiofor as Baron Mordo
Benedict Wong as Wong
Xochitl Gomez as America Chavez
Rachel McAdams as Dr. Christine Palmer

….and every other major name would be a spoiler. [Again: the comments will include spoilers.]


Dr Stephen Strange casts a forbidden spell that opens a portal to the multiverse. However, a threat emerges that may be too big for his team to handle. (Vaguely inaccurate synopsis from Google.)

High Point

The story and its pacing is a fun superhero story and checks all the boxes you expect from a big blockbuster film.  Thew new and returning cameos are all excellent, especially the character’s subtle musical cues.

Low Point

Wanda/the Scarlet Witch feels like she is shown to be less than the heroic character as she has been depicted in her previous appearances.

The Scores:

Originality: 2/6 Even taking into account that these are all things that were done originally in the comics, the basic story is that a refugee finds out hero, who runs through fantastic lands while being pursued by the antagonist.  This is over simplified, but it doesn’t really do anything unique or new in the process.

Effects: 6/6 The movie is beautiful.  The effects that we expect are done, and then done above and beyond in this film.  The ‘fantasy gore’ has induced crying and walk outs from children.

Acting: 4/6 Multiverse means seeing multiple versions of the same character.  This is done often in many other series, but the alternate versions of the characters don’t seem to be any different than the prime version despite being different characters in different situations.

Emotional Response: 4/6 The emotions are there, and the characters are sympathetic, but much of the impact is muted because these aren’t happening to the mainstream universe.

Story: 5/6 As an additional chapter in Doctor Strange’s story, it is a great one.

Production: 6/6 For the money that is dumped into an MCU blockbuster, it better be as well produced as this.  That said, the cameos weren’t spoiled in any way that ruined their impact,2 and spoilers could be avoided without significant effort.

Overall: 5/6 This isn’t the strongest entry in the MCU, but it easily lives up to the quality we expect from the series and far exceeds the standards of most other comic-inspired movies.

In total, “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” receive 32/42


1It was only two kids so far, and one was mine, but the reactions were strong enough that I wanted to make sure it was passed on.

2Such as putting your surprise reveal character in the trailer.

8 replies on “Bureau 42 Review – Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness”

  1. I haven’t seen this one yet, but couldn’t Wanda’s less-than-heroic aspects be linked to the experiences in WandaVision?

    • Yeah, Wandavision tried very hard to make some truly awful things done by Wanda, not relegate her to villain status. If a character does villainous things, we can explore that, that would be good character development. We shouldn’t try and pretend what Wanda was doing is ok.

      • My kids were watching WandaVision before we went to see this, and I think the place they leave Wanda in that show doesn’t correspond to where she is and the direction she goes in this movie. To me, at least, it’s a disconnect on the scale of Last Jedi compared to Force Awakens and Rise of Skywalker.

  2. Majel, my nine year old, said in the car ride home: “I’m disappointed in Marvel. Marvel’s always been so sweet to children. What have they done!”

    I am spoiler guarding my commends to be safe:
    Lots of great subtle cameos, like the theme from the X-Men ’92 show and the Living Tribunal.
    Bruce Campbell wasn’t subtle, at all.
    I was doing my best to be subtle and not a spoiler, but I didn’t think Wanda should be such an all out villain in this. I kept expecting a reveal that Chthon had slowly possessed her as she had read the Darkhold and for her to be exonerated, but they didn’t do that. It was all just a greiving, mad Wanda. I thought she’d already settled that arc in her show? We can’t ignore the show, that’s where the kids came from, but we can ignore Vision? He gets casually mentioned, but otherwise gets completely ignored despite being the more obvious motivation.
    I am familiar with America from the comics, and she wasn’t as confident as I would expect her to be, but as a younger version of her I still thought it worked pretty well.
    The Illuminati had an empty chair. In the comics, Black Panther is a member. We all cried a moment when we realized that empty chair was for Chadwick Boseman.
    This wasn’t the Reed Richards I wanted, but I want to see more with him before I give a real opinion, but I remain skeptical.
    Ansom is awesome, but Black Bolt is supposed to be immune to his own powers because otherwise the echo as soon as it passed his vocal cords would have destroyed him when he got his powers. That said, I was completely willing to believe that Wanda just popped his head herself or removed his immunity as part of her attack.
    I really like how Captain Carter is such as thing that all of the unpowered Peggy stuff feels like an anachronistic reference to Captain Carter.
    I previous guessed that the next Avengers over-arc was going to be Secret Wars (the recent one with incursions, not the Beyonder) and this seems to add more credit to my guess.
    The After-Credits have been fun, and I am glad that they are completely pointless now. They reward you for sticking around, but don’t punish you for leaving during the credits.

  3. Where they went with Wanda doesn’t seem as unrealistic to me as it might to others. Regardless how things ended there, she was still broken at the end of WandaVision which would be an easy in for something to worm its way into her mind.

    I’m not sure the apparent end result is quite what it seems, though, given a certain flash of light during the final fight sequence.

    • I took that to be her being crushed like a grape and that was her magical energy being squished out like her guts would be squished out of her body.

      “What happens when you crush a grape? It lets out a little wine.”

      • Yes, that is the obvious explanation. And it will certainly do until something else comes along to weird everything. I’m pretty sure the evil macguffin isn’t as gone as the dialogue would have us believe, at least.

  4. This movie left me with a ‘Meh’ feeling. They set up new heroes and dispatched them, and it didn’t feel terrible or consequential at all. We got one new hero of import, and potentially lost one, but who knows, it’s comics. It gave us more experience with the craziness of the multiverse, but Loki actually did better with that. In the end, it was fun, and yes, gory in places, but more in a Jack Sparrow kind of way. I think in the long view, i think it will be basically skippable content and you won’t feel lost at all.

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