My hopes were high for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, Marvel knocked it out the park with Spider-Man: No Way Home, and for me had success dabbling in the Multiverse on Disney+ in Loki and Wandavision. With my only worry being that the film has a short run time (yes 2hrs 6mins is short), given that the Multiverse has unlimited possibilities to where we could go and what we could do.
The multiverse is open! When America Chavez turns up in New York being hunted by a creature from the multiverse, Doctor Strange enlists the help of Wanda, The Scarlet Witch to help keep Chavez safe, until Strange realises that Wanda has other plans for the multiverse!
I have to unfortunately start with my biggest problem of the film, the writing. Michael Waldron was lone writer of this film and he isn’t a man with a lot of experience in this field. His previous credits include The Old Man and the Seat episode of Rick and Morty, as well as every episode so far of Heels and Loki, this being his first feature length film. I don’t know if he particularly knows the character of The Scarlet Witch well, but it certainly doesn’t seem to come across like he does. It’s hard to know if it was his decision to have a lot of sit down and talk exposition scenes instead of the old “show don’t tell”. It really drags down the film slowing it down, holding it back from the potential of what could be.
Some of the better moments come in the horror elements that they promised. I remember Kevin Feige saying when they announced this film was happening, that it was going to be the first horror film in the MCU, and I wouldn’t say it is. Certainly has horror elements to it at times, which is why you get Sam Raimi but doesn’t feel like he was allowed to have full reigns after the director of the first Doctor Strange, Scott Derrickson, left because of creative differences with the studio. I’m a big fan of Kevin Feige and what they’ve done on the most part but seems to be that they had a specific way they wanted this film to go rather than just letting the actual creatives involved do what they want.
Wanda has been one of my favourite characters in the MCU so far, her arc since Avengers: Age of Ultron through to her heartbreaking story in Avengers: Endgame and Wandavision, I was excited to see how they culminate her story. Without going into spoilers, it’s difficult as when we last saw her she had the Darkhold at the end of Wandavision but clearly had some sense of remorse for what she did. In this she is much more in villain mode, without any sign of the good side of Wanda. The conflict and craziness is what I enjoyed about her character, where as this Wanda is mostly without that conflict.
Despite their being a lot of Wanda, the film is still Doctor Strange’s. Cumberbatch does another good job, but still seems to be struggling when it comes to the solo films. He clearly loves playing this character and is happy to do it as often as he can at the moment, and has done a lot of research on him, I just wish he got the film he really deserves and explore the weirder side of the MCU that noone else can.
I also enjoyed the introduction of America Chavez, a character I don’t know a whole lot about more than what we see in this film, but I’m interested to see where they go with her in the future.
Overall, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness just leaves you wanting more, especially when you can see a better film in there. It had a lot of potential to be truly epic but goes down as generic, and not standing out from the pack. I would be fascinated to know what Raimi would’ve done with it if he was on the film from the beginning of the process or what Scott Derrickson wanted for the film.
What did you think of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness?
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