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.)
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.
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.
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.