Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness movie review

Sam Raimi and Doctor Strange bring a new twist to the MCU


Marvel Studios

“Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness” is playing at B & B in Ankeny currently through May 25. The science fiction action film is part of the Multiverse franchise and has fans of the Marvel empire talking.

Justin Banks, Staff Reporter

To continue the tradition of Marvel movie reviews, comes the newest edition in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU ), “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (MoM),” teased back in 2019. Through multiple delays, change of directors, and a multitude of new media like “WandaVision” and “Spider-Man: No Way Homechanging the plot, “Multiverse of Madness” aired last weekend starting on Friday, May 6. Starring Benedict Cumberbatch, reprising his role as Stephen Strange, as well as Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda Maximoff, lead the story and the rest of the MCU into the Multiverse.

Expectations and theories ran wild before release, mainly dealing with how the MCU would tie into this sequel. Speculation also arose on how could What If…? tie into this Multiverse storyline.

Overall, the movie made $450 millions dollars in the box office opening weekend, the biggest debut in 2022, and now the fourth biggest opening for the MCU lineup, behind “No Way Home.” 

And now onto the spoilers and my opinions

In “MoM,” we are introduced to the character of America Chavez, a girl who has the ability to travel the multiverse through star shaped portals as well as inhuman strength to punch things into perfect star shapes. She is being chased down by demons sent to obtain her power, and later we learn that Maximoff, corrupted by the Dark Hold, a book of dark magic, had sent the demons to get her power, wanting to use it to be reunited with her sons that she envisioned in “WandaVision.”

Strange is pulled into this conflict by remembering her from his dream of them being chased by a demon and then seeing her in his world being hunted down by a massive one-eyed tentacle demon. After saving her, Strange and Chavez go on an adventure to stop Maximoff and protect Chavez’s power, traveling through multiple universes, running into alternate versions of Strange, and new characters.

Through trial and error though, Strange and Chavez find a way to convince Maximoff that she had become a monster, unrecognizable by her children. To redeem herself, she uses her power to destroy all of the dark holds in the multiverse, though in the process she supposedly sacrifices herself. 

The plot, in the end, felt smooth, with the pace both being fast enough so the movie did not feel like a drag, while also giving us time with each scene and their characters. Though with the Illuminati, it felt like the characters of Charles Xavier and Reed Richards didn’t get much screen time, and were there just for that moment of acknowledgment.

I found myself constantly intrigued with each new setting, both due to the amazing visuals and interesting characters, both recognizable and some new. I asked myself each time we entered a new universe, What’s going be different now? and was answered most of the time with something cool. Some could say it was flooded with characters, but the movie gives it a nice pace and balance to not overflow.

I also enjoyed Sam Raimi’s touch, as his style brought over from the original Spiderman trilogy and “Evil Dead series complimented “MoM” and its wackiness. The appearance of a zombie Strange, evil spirits, evil versions of Strange, dark books and magic, and plenty more added to the almost gothic feel of the movie. Some scenes though, like when Strange and Chavez were locked up in the Illuminati facility, the lighting and focus felt off, which in return threw me off. Though many other scenes were filmed really well, like when Strange and Chavez were traveling through the Multiverse and changing between worlds rapidly.

Sam Raimi also brought some pretty graphic kills and moments, not shying away from showing someone’s brains being blown from the insides, for example. The entire fight with the Illuminati felt great, showing the true power of the Scarlet Witch as she brutally murdered them, one by one. It left me shocked, as not always do you see characters introduced then killed in a short amount of time, however, it worked.

Doctor Strange also felt like a highpoint of the movie, as Cumberbatch’s performance brings this character to life. Strange’s approach of moral ambiguity allows for interesting events and character growth, as he learns to value lives more than the fate of the Multiverse. He also thinks of interesting and compelling solutions to problems, leading to an interesting and compelling watch.

A big part of the movie in contention though was the direction of Scarlet Witch, and if her direction as a villain for Doctor Strange was right. I believe that it played out well, as in relation to “WandaVision,” we saw Maximoff break down as a character, and in “MoM,” we saw it grow. At the end it felt rushed though, trying to make Maximoff realize how she had grown into a monster.

My biggest gripe with this new Doctor Strange movie is that it feels rather out of place and by the end of the movie, I was asking myself, Where do we go from here? The movie left little impact in the MCU despite the many appearances from the X-men and the Fantastic 4, but in the end I learned that my enjoyment shouldn’t be dependent on how the puzzle piece fits in the bigger picture. What the movie provides is an enjoyable and weird adventure starring Doctor Strange.

Overall, this movie felt like a breath of fresh air, and continues the course of the plans for the MCU.

In tradition, I will use the old rating system:

Visual Effects: 10/10

Soundtrack: 9/10

Characters: 8/10

Development: 8/10

Exposition: 9/10

Plot: 9/10

Overall: 9/10

I expect this movie to grow a little on the ones that enjoyed it, and if you are a fan of the Marvel movies, it is a definite watch.