Strangely, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of madness is a film that though entertaining, leaves you feeling a little disappointed deep down. Despite a stellar star cast, a great screenplay, and a fresh yet dark approach to the movie, after the film you realize that you didn’t learn anything new about the marvel universe (or Multiverse). You feel dismayed that the creators held back their important cards for future movies and didn’t explore the better concepts of Multiverse that they could potentially have.
The plot of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of madness (Spoilers ahead)
America Chavez, a teenage girl from a different universe, arrives in our universe while being chased by a one-eyed squid monster. She is saved by Doctor Strange and Wong, who learn that Miss Chavez can create portals and travel between different universes in the Multiverse. They also realize that it’s Wanda who wants the girl’s power for herself so that she can be with her sons in a different universe. It’s upto Doctor Strange to stop Wanda, who now has the control of dark hold and has turned into the Scarlet Witch, destined to either rule the cosmos, or destroy it. On their journey to stop the Scarlet Witch, Doctor Strange and Miss Chavez embark on a voyage across the Multiverse. The Doctor must make some difficult choices and face their consequences to save Miss Chavez and the Multiverse, but is he ready for them?
What worked for the movie?
The movie is undoubtedly a cinematic spectacle. Visually it leaves no stone unturned to impress you. With Sam Raimi’s direction, the film has some great horror moments and jump scares, but it mostly stays under an exciting and fun adventure genre.
There are several moments in its 2 hours and 6 minutes run where the movie’s screenplay shines. One particular sequence, where Doctor Strange from different universes fight each other by conjuring musical notes as spells, is spellbinding.
Benedict, as usual, is great, but it’s Elizabeth who steals the show as the Scarlet Witch. She brilliantly portrays the frantic mother who sees her sons from other universes every time she sleeps and forgets the distinction between love and obsession.
Another thing that made the movie great was its immersive Background score. The score is a bit dark, orchestral, and dramatic at times, but it goes well with Raimi’s dark theme of the movie. If you like Danny Elfman, this is one of his greatest works yet.
What pulled the movie down?
The biggest letdown for me was that the ending was somewhat predictable after the first 20 minutes. It was clear that, like in WandaVision, Wanda is not a villain in the truest sense, and eventually, she will come to her senses and stop the mayhem that she created.
Only a new character, Miss America Chavez, was the new introduction. Apart from that, as far as the Multiverse is concerned, we learned nothing new from what we gathered from previous movies like Spiderman No way home, or series like What if? And Loki. There was certainly potential to bring in new concepts and build on the existing ideas of the Multiverse. Still, the potential was wasted as we learned nothing new except that our dreams are our counterparts’ lives from other universes.
Multiverse brings the opportunity for impossible crossovers and nostalgia, which usually gets the audience hooting and cheering. The Multiverse of madness, however, failed terribly in this aspect. The movie got a much-anticipated crossover from the X-men movies, Dr. Charles Xavier, and a few other films and series. Still, their character arcs in the film were disappointing and felt unnecessary to the story. The crossover in this movie majorly became a source for meme fest on social media.
Lastly, action sequences in some parts got boring, especially the face-off between Wanda and Students of Kamar-Taj. It was mainly reminiscent of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows standoff between Death eaters and Hogwarts school. The sequence primarily was people fighting with CGI magic rays, with a bit of mind control thrown in, and it got boring as soon as it started.
Verdict for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of madness
The movie is for Marvel Fans who follow and consume all movies or series from the MCU. A new audience will struggle with many characters and won’t understand all the aspects of the film. The movie doesn’t offer much new to MCU fans to ponder over in terms of story, but it is entertaining nonetheless and a visual treat. The verdict is that the movie could have worked better as another web/tv series.
Also, read about Movie Review: North By Northwest.