New ‘Doctor’ Strange’ is madness


Marvel Studios

Dylan Budd, Staff Reporter

Fan-favorite Dr. Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) returns to the big screen in a dizzying treat in “Doctor Strange In The Multiverse of Madness” on May 6 after a delayed release, a teaser in “Spider Man: No Way Home” and the flop “Morbius.” 

First referenced by the Ancient One in the previous Doctor Strange film, the multiverse has slowly become more and more prominent throughout the MCU. To put it simply, the Marvel universe we have grown accustomed to is just one universe; through Marvel and reality alike, there is an infinite number of different universes. Marvel Studios, Sony and 20th Century Fox exist as different universes. Every universe has one timeline, but when someone or something travels in time, the timeline will split and the multiverse opens. 

Although different universes first collided in the animated series “What If?”, the first live action instance happens in “Spider-Man: No Way Home.” “Multiverse of Madness” continues the new trend. 

Directed by Sam Raimi of the Tobey Maguire-led Spider-Man movies, the cast combines familiar faces with a few newcomers. Cumberbatch returns as protagonist Doctor Strange, and Elizabeth Olsen once again dons the tiara of Wanda Maximoff / the Scarlet Witch, shortly after the Disney+ series “WandaVision.”

MCU newcomer Xochitl Gomez (“The Baby-Sitters Club”) stars as teen superhero America Chavez, who can fly, has superhuman strength and resilience and can open star-shaped portals through reality to enter the multiverse. At 16 Gomez does an admirable job holding the screen with her seasoned co-stars as well as allowing fans to relate while being inspired by the latina, LGBTQ heroine.

Although Strange is the title character, the spotlight really hovers on super-sorceress  Maximoff, a conflicted, haunted woman who’s lost everything. The lovable character we saw in “Avengers: Age of Ultron” is now a monstrous, unremorseful witch consumed with power after learning the secrets of the Darkhold, a book containing every evil spell imaginable. Maximoff’s outfit and spells have lost their striking red color, now a maroon and black combination, representing her dark turn. 

The pandemic slowed the production of the film, only letting Marvel focus on one project at a time. Originally, “Multiverse of Madness” would have been released in early May of last year directly after “WandaVision” and “Spider-Man: No Way Home.” The delays gave fans “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier”, “Shang-Chi”, “Eternals” and “Hawkeye” between the two which lessens the emotional driving force of the narrative. 

“Multiverse of Madness” is scored by the incomparable Danny Elfman, who’s music helped to set the scenes in classics such as “Beetlejuice”,  “The Nightmare Before Christmas” as well as “Avengers: Age of Ultron” and “Spider-Man: No Way Home.”  Elfman has a knack for providing haunting melodies that underscore the poignant drama.

The film itself is less of an action movie and more of a horror flick, something Raimi specializes in, with more gory violence as well as the occasional startling moment to keep fans on the edge of their seats. For example, one shot has Maximoff covered head-to-toe in blood, yet the blood only covers a portion of her face, showing there is still good in her.

Without a doubt, this is a Raimi film.  His signature camera angles and visual effects are stellar as usual,  but “Multiverse of Madness” is something we’ve never seen before. Every close up, fading transition, and panning shot was straight from the filmmaker’s bizarrely weird and slightly twisted dream. By doing so, it allows viewers to see different perspectives all at the same time, which helped to wrap everything together in a little over two hours.

The only issue of “Multiverse of Madness” would be in the dialogue; the script is inconsistent between meaningful and cliche. Lots of lines were callbacks to previous scenes or previous Marvel movies.  Some were spot on, but others seemed forced. Even phenomenal actors like Cumberbatch, Olsen and McAdams repeatedly scuffled with the platitudes in the script.

Though imperfect,“Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” is everything filmgoers want to see in the continuation of the MCU series and a perfect start to the beginning of the Marvel multiverse.


Rating: 9.5/10

Release date: May 6, 2022