Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness Review
One year ago, Phase Four of the MCU kicked off with the premiere of the Disney+ limited series, WandaVision. That show ended up being the talk of the entertainment world for weeks, and for good reason. It wasn’t just a homage to sitcoms throughout the decades; it was a psychological horror born from the tragedy of one woman. On a much grander scale, the MCU officially let the Multiverse Genie out of the bottle. Now they have to face the consequences with our first live-action incursion into the Multiverse. While Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness doesn’t reach new heights for Marvel, it does live up to its name.
That, and it gives Sam Raimi a chance to combine his background with horror with his history with superhero flicks.
Warning: Spoilers Ahead.
Not What I Was Expecting
I will be the first to say this: some of my predictions for Multiverse of Madness missed the mark. In a previous post to prime us for the film, I predicted that a certain alternate version of Doctor Strange would play a big role in the film. While some versions did end up playing a role, they were not the ones I predicted. No Strange Supreme is to be found in this film.
There is one thing that this film has in abundance, though: Wanda Maximoff, both the main MCU one and alternate versions of her. In my predictions for this film, I said that I still had faith that Wanda was a good person. That she could make up for her actions in Westview in this film. However, I also brought up what I said about Wanda’s history in the comics. Guess which one won out?
Yes, it turns out that Wanda is the big bad of the Multiverse of Madness. She’s so desperate to see her children again, that she’s willing to violate the laws of the Multiverse to find them. Or, in her case, find a universe where they do exist and make them her own. As for any alternate versions of her that get in her way…
Full On Superhero Slasher
The Multiverse of Madness was touted as the first horror movie in the MCU. While it doesn’t reach the same level of fright as traditional slasher films, it plays its strengths to its advantage. Chief among them, the realization that Wanda is a force of nature that no one can stop.
There are multiple moments in the film where Wanda makes Jason Voorhes and Freddy Krueger look like playground bullies. She eviscerates, decapitates, and sadistically kills alternate versions of heroes. The fact that she was once a hero only makes her actions all the more jarring. She’s done letting the universe take from her, and she’s dishing out a lifetime of payback to get what she wants. In other words, Wanda Maximoff largely stole the show in this film.
Another Young Avenger, America Chavez
I keep harping about this like a broken record, but only because it’s true. Phase Four of the MCU is setting us up for the rise of the Young Avengers. It keeps introducing young characters who, in the comics, would join this younger iteration of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. In the case of The Multiverse of Madness, we have America Chavez.
Going into this film, I knew little about who Chavez was. Having seen the film, though, I love her. Born with the power to travel the Multiverse, Chavez acts as a blank check for Marvel. Her powers can serve as a means to let Marvel visit countless alternate worlds and create countless other stories. In addition, her personal character arc regarding her self-worth is enjoyable to see. She has the potential to become one of the greatest heroes in the Multiverse. However, it’s only thanks to our Doctor Strange that she realizes her potential.
Doctor Strange Overcomes Inner Demons
Speaking of the titular hero, much of Strange’s personal arc throughout this movie has to do with his own inner demons. Now able to see alternate versions of his life, Stephen questions whether he made the right choices in his life. Like, were the actions he took against Thanos the right ones? He still doesn’t know by the end of the movie. However, I think he decided that it doesn’t matter. What matters is that he’s living his best life with the cards he got dealt with.
Also, it seems like it’s the norm for a Doctor Strange to risk the safety of all reality.
A Two-Hour Long Head Trip
Was this movie everything fans hoped for? Yes and no. Yes, it was a good way to mark Sam Raimi’s return to superhero movies. No, as in it didn’t go full-on horror like it could have.
While this movie was a bit all over the place, that was to be expected given the plot. It was, in a nutshell, crazy, just like the Multiverse can be. No take-backs, Marvel. Now you have to work with the Multiverse of Madness that you’ve unleashed.