The number one post-pandemic movie, released in December of 2021, was Spiderman: No Way Home. The sixth highest grossing movie ever made, it brought in $1.89 billion. Less than six months later we have Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. It will be interesting to see just how much this next installment in the franchise can yield, but from a reviewer’s standpoint, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is a good, but not amazing film.
With Benedict Cumberbatch reprising his role as Dr. Stephen Strange, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness continues the catastrophic events surrounding the Marvel cinematic universe, basically picking up where Spiderman: No Way Home left off. But this time the multiverse has hit uncharted territory, with superheroes coming to earth from many universes to serve a purpose—that is, to serve the Multiverse of Madness.
As the film begins, Dr. Stephen Strange is back with his magic and powers. His buddy Wang, played by Benedict Wong, is also back and he still has his sorcery skills and funny moments. But for Strange, the world around him is about to crumble because the errors of the multiverse cannot be reversed. A forbidden spell has been cast by him, and the door to the multiverse takes him to a place of many evils, where there is an alternative version of himself. Also on the dark side with her powers is Wanda Maximoff, played by Elizabeth Olsen. But with the help of a stranger from the multiverse, America Chavez, played by Xochitl Gomez, there may yet be hope for the multiverse. Having Karl Mordo, played by Chiwetel Ejiofor, in the mix complicates things, though.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madnessis a lighthearted continuation of the Marvel franchise with many surprises and hidden gems. Where the film starts to fall apart is in the setup between the protagonist, Strange, and the antagonist, Wanda. The setup is fragmented, scattered throughout the film. I found myself thinking, “Okay, we know this, move on.” But Olsen does deliver a killer evil witch character.
I will end this review with a positive aspect of the film. The illusions of powers through the minds of Strange and Wanda are deep and cinematically enthralling. As the teleporting of many universes occurs, fans will know there are more disasters waiting to happen—more disasters and more fun along the way. Though it didn’t quite meet my expectations, the film is a good setup looking forward to future Marvel projects. Three stars for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.