Dr Strange and the Multiverse of Madness is finally here. Going into this film, I had a lot of expectations and ideas about what would happen and how it would feel. I could not have been more wrong. It is undoubtedly the weirdest Marvel movie I have ever seen, and that’s exactly why it is so important. Let me explain:
Dr Strange is a Sam Raimi film (director of Evil Dead, Spidermans). It is not an MCU or Kevin Fiege production, it is a Raimi film at its heart. That all comes down to the film’s horror. There is some incredible sequences in this film that are actually scary (a very big challenge for a PG-13 movie). How he uses the sound design is mmmmwah, a chef’s kiss. It will go so quiet in the cinema you can hear people shuffling uncomfortably, building up for that perfect jump scare. He even manages to sneak in demons and ghouls that feel eerily similar to the Evil Dead.
This is the weirdest Sam Raimi film. There are sequences in this film that I cannot believe Kevin Fiege allowed to happen. In my head this is what happened:
I want to have them fighting a giant intergalactic octopus to start the film.
No fuckhead, this is the MCU not Evil Dead.
10 Months Later…
I want reshoots or I will do an Edgar and dip.
Fuck it, do whatever you want
I have so much respect for the MCU and Mr Fiege for letting Sam’s vision come to life. This film completely contrasts all other MCU projects. The concepts and fight sequences in Dr Strange are unlike any movie I have ever seen. Even the colour grading is bright and colourful compared to the grey bullshit of other Marvel Movies. I pray that this what his vision from the beginning and was not fucked over by producers.
Elizabeth Olsen steals the show. While I admit, she is given the most to work with, every scene she is in Wanda takes over. She may also be Marvel’s best villain. In all of the MCU, Wanda is the first one to finally be scary. The way Elizabeth moves her eyes and changes her voice and breathing shows her anger so clearly. How Sam makes her enter rooms shows Wanda not as a person but almost this possessed demon. Through this, her character reminds me so much of Regan in the exorcist and Carrie – two iconic villains. One slight problem with her performance (that has bugged me for years) is the accent. As with all her other films, it kind of dips in and out. But maybe that’s on purpose because she is switching between personalities.
Benedict Cumberbatch is solid. Whenever he goes evil it shows how good of an actor he truly is. Apart from that, I don’t think the script gives him much to work with. Even in dramatic scenes, his performance feels cut down and rushed. Benedict Wong is amazing as ever. He has so much charisma on screen. Wong is just funny in such a natural way that never feels forced unlike some other actors.
Xochtil Gomez performance is interesting. For the majority of this film, she is simply screaming and running around scared. When she isn’t, she is able to shine in dramatic moments. But there is very little of this. The script does her no favours. For some reason, everyone in the MCU has to be funny. This actress is not funny at all and yet they are trying to make her witty like Spiderman. I do think she is a good actress, just not good for this role.
This brings me onto my next point. The writing of this film is its biggest let down. Firstly, the plot is simple yet feels so unnecessarily convoluted. There are so many new rules and elements introduced that are clearly created just so the writers could get from point A to B. Also, the one liners in this film are fucking horrible. Now here is where I believe Sam Raimi may have had some influence. He clearly loves corny comic book tropes. Thereby, I think he told them to say this on the day and then in the edit snuck them in. They are just so cringey and forced, even the audience was laughing at them.
Dr Strange 2 is an exposition dump fest. Every line in this film feels like it’s just telling the audience exactly what is happening. The writers do not respect the audience in anyway whatsoever. There is one scene where someone is very clearly being killed and the writers have them say ‘You’re killing me.” So many lines in this film are just unnecessary. Let the audience figure it out themselves and not treat them like idiots.
Two things the writers did well in this film is the pacing and the lack of cameos. This film has a breakneck speed. It is constantly moving and never slows down. While some may hate this, I think it serves the idea of madness and chaotic energy better. Also, the film does not go over the top with cameos. It has a few surprising ones, but they don’t take away from the main characters.
So why is Dr Strange 2 so important? Well, I think this is what Marvel has to become to survive. Less bland shit like Eternals, Shang Chi and Black Widow, and more weirder films where directors have complete control over their vision. And Kevin Fiege knows this. The next few Marvel films look like the director has complete power. Moon Knight and Dr Strange is the direction Marvel needs to move. Audiences will definitely get sick of the same old origin stories and a big laser battle at the end.
Should you see it in cinemas?