The Multiverse of Madness delivers the horror, goofy, and MCU-ness but not quite on an impactful journey level.
Score: 3 / 5
After nearly 6 years Doctor Strange finally has a sequel to what I thought was an entertaining and interesting first movie. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness feels like the culmination of all the MCU projects that have come after Spider-Man: Far From Home uttered the words multiverse. It goes farther than even the Disney+ show Loki did in giving you a taste of what Marvel’s multiverse is. There are so many realities and trippy moments, and it notches up the horror and violence to a level that I don’t think we have seen so far from Marvel. The movie has so many “wow!” moments and fun cameos you’d expect from a multiverse story. Yet with all of that, I felt a bit underwhelmed.
It’s taken me a good bit of time to unravel the feelings I have had about this move and where I stand. Which is to say I feel like the big thing missing from this movie that makes the overall package feel lackluster is the journey of the two leads of the film. Benedict Cumberbatch’s Doctor Strange and Elizabeth Olsen’s Wanda/Scarlet Witch. While the story of events happening was not difficult for me to follow or didn’t make sense, it just felt hollow. I know, I know, Marvel movies having depth? I’d argue many of them do. I’d even say the first Doctor Strange had more going on for the growth of Stephen Strange than anything that happens in this movie. It’s even more difficult for me to follow because of how nearly one-note Wanda becomes throughout this movie. I get the motivations but it sure would have helped to have more scenes to explore maybe some level of conflict inside her.
Moving aside from this aspect of the movie, it delivers some really interesting new things to the MCU. Director Sam Raimi injects some dark moments along with some of his signature goofiness. There is one sequence towards the middle of the film that really drew me in as it was genuinely horrifying to watch. I honestly am shocked they went that far at points. There are also some fun and mind-bending multiverse moments that fit right at home with the trippy scenes from the first Doctor Strange. The finale also gives us something that is uniquely Strange, and I loved it. There are some other things I’d love to dig into but I’m keeping this review spoiler-free.
Overall, I had a great time with Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, it has a great mix of horror, goofy, and the typical MCU-ness moments you want out of these movies, but some hollow depth for the lead character’s journeys of the movie left me feeling just alright instead of ready to go right back for another showing.