In Marvel Studios’ “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness,” the MCU unlocks the Multiverse and pushes its boundaries further than ever before. Journey into the unknown with Doctor Strange, who, with the help of mystical allies both old and new, traverses the mind-bending and dangerous alternate realities of the Multiverse to confront a mysterious new adversary.
“Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” stars Benedict Cumberbatch, Elizabeth Olsen, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Benedict Wong, Xochitl Gomez, with Michael Stühlbarg, and Rachel McAdams.
The film is directed by Sam Raimi, and Kevin Feige is the producer. Louis D’Esposito, Victoria Alonso, Eric Hauserman Carroll, Scott Derrickson, and Jamie Christopher serve as executive producers. The screenplay was written by Michael Waldron.
How Did We Get Here?
The Marvel Cinematic Universe is a busy place. With its intertwining sequels and superheroes who appear in and out of each other’s movies, it’s become a universal playground, the kind of place that I like most ardent comic-book fans have to dedicate themselves to keeping up with.
We are knee-deep in Marvel’s Phase Four and we have another film to add to the confusion, spectacle and madness.
The last time we saw Dr. Stephen Strange, he was casually rearranging the fabric of reality so Peter Parker could again enjoy a quiet life in Spider-Man: No Way Home. But his spell accidentally ushered in a new chapter of Marvel blockbusters driven by parallel universes spilling into each other.
This was complicated for me as it is for the characters, as films and TV shows dizzyingly cross over. As well as following on from No Way Home, Multiverse of Madness takes the familiar MCU whirl of multimedia continuity to new levels: there’s the inevitable post-credits scene setting up the next film. It also references the events of two Disney Plus TV shows: Loki set up the multiverse, while in WandaVision, Elizabeth Olsen’s Wanda trapped a town in a sitcom and had kids.
The moral of the story is you need to go back and watch some movies and series, and maybe some comics as well.
Who Can We Thank For The Crazy
Marshaling the madness is director Sam Raimi. He began his career with the zingy Evil Dead horror series, but also oversaw the trilogy of pre-MCU Spider-Man movies with Tobey Maguire. In fact, for Multiverse of Madness, he taps both his horror and superhero experience: The early stretches of the film could be drawn from a 1960s comic as a monster threatens a woman pushing a pram on a colorful New York street. But as the film progresses, it ramps up the horror. The villain’s monstrous power is signaled by jump scares and sinister horror movie flourishes.
Wanda reminds you of Raimi’s long-standing affinity for witches, Happily, he has a terrific performer here in Elizabeth Olsen; with fiery magenta eyes and a devil-horned tiara, she’s chillingly persuasive as a woman so devastated by her grief that she’s willing to inflict her own brutal casualties in order to overcome it.
Tons Of Action
“Action” is the keyword, here. The movie opens in the midst of a climactic battle-from-another-universe, in which Another Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) and his dimension-hopping companion America Chavez (Xochitl Gomez) tussle with a demon made of lava and bandages. Within minutes, there’s a second monster fight, this time on the streets of New York, and very soon after we get an epic showdown at sorcerer stronghold Kamar-Taj, which again has all the spectacle of any other film’s finale. After that, it barely lets up for the next 80 minutes or so.
It’s almost exhausting, but trust me you are on the edge of your seat for the whole ride. In one magical duel, for example, Strange weaponizes the notes from sheets of piano music, tossing them like glowing shuriken, which adds a fascinatingly whimsical touch to the conflict. There are surprises a-plenty, too, with a bunch of fan-pleasing guest appearances you’ll just have to see to believe. And there is also a heck of a body count.
Is This Film For The Whole Family?
The movie is rated PG-13 due to scenes of horror including demonic beings attacking people; a decomposing corpse being reanimated; people being burned by magical powers, leaving charred remains; and multiple ‘jump scares’… Sequences include superhuman beings battling with fantastical powers, as well as the use of weapons and fistfights. Stronger moments include a person being impaled, magical powers devastating a man’s head, and the implication someone is cut in half.
Where the recent Spider-Man: No Way Home also had its violent moments, Doctor Strange 2 differs in stylistic ways. Its macabre horror elements and kill count are far greater than the former, including a couple of death scenes that verge on being visceral and nasty.
Ultimately, it depends on your kid and what they’re used to. The action in Multiverse of Madness is definitely more intense than in other Marvel films. If you’re unsure how your kid will cope in the environment of a noisy and darkened theater, bear in mind you can always watch it at home on Disney Plus with full control of the pause and volume buttons.