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Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness – Review

It was hyped as the MCU’s first horror film, an opportunity for introducing a whole bunch of the new characters that fans want to see, and a chance to really push the new phase of the MCU forward. With expectations high, is it the Multiverse of Madness or the Multiverse of Meh-ness?

This is a SPOILER FREE review, you’re safe from any spoilers here.

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness
Directed by : Sam Raimi
Cinematography by : John Mathieson
Starring : Benedict Cumberbatch; Elizabeth Olsen; Chiwetel Ejiofor; Benedict Wong; Xochitl Gomez; Michael Stuhlbarg; Rachel McAdams
Marvel Studios | Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

I’ve been a huge fan of the MCU(Marvel Cinematic Universe) ever since it all kicked off. A lifelong comic book fan that was thrilled to see so many of the amazing storylines from the books start to show up on the big screen.

The entire run up through Avengers : Endgame, and even including the Spiderman films that followed, have been so much fun. Obviously some films stand out more than others, but overall I’ve really enjoyed the ride from Marvel.

Now, I’m not so sure.

I don’t know if it’s a problem with the formula feeling stale from Marvel, an issue not connecting with where this next phase is headed, general fatigue with the very formulaic approach the MCU takes with their films(which hey, they’ve made billions so the formula works), or something else. But the bottom line is that I just found this film very mediocre as I left the theater and the more I thought/think about the film the less I seem to have enjoyed it.

I can absolutely understand how many will watch this and be SUPER excited by it, it’s chock full of action, we get a whole bunch of easter eggs and cameos, we get a new character to move this phase forward that I know is a pretty big fan favorite in book form and as such SHOULD do well going forward.

But it’s also full of some pretty sloppy CGI at times, a storyline that’s been done and redone a million times(ancient item seduces and corrupts a good person), and even with all the easter eggs and cameos I think we’re given a glimpse of what most fans would really LOVE to see, yet so far it seems even further away from happening than ever(given the events of this film).

I can’t help but feel like maybe Marvel Studios have outsmarted themselves trying to catch lightning in a bottle a second time. They were able to take characters that were B or C list characters last time(Iron Man, Captain America, and Thor weren’t “big” names to the general population before the films) and tell a story that turned them into the A-List Superstars that EVERYONE knows now.

Now, with the push to go into the realm of the galactic and mystical, I fear they’re trying to recreate that with characters and storylines that are even less well known and worse, they are trying to force it into the same formula that worked last time and it shows.

I know I’ll still keep watching everything they put out because I’m a fan of comics and a fan of seeing these stories come to life, but while I HOPED for this film to be as amazing as it should have been, sadly it all just fell flat for me from the very beginning when (THIS IS NOT A SPOILER AS IT HAPPENS IN THE FIRST COUPLE MINUTES OF THE FILM) Doctor Strange tells another character that “He has some experience with the multi-verse because of that run in with Spiderman recently.” Umm… how does Doctor Strange remember anything about that? The spell he cast ensured that everyone, even Doctor Strange, would forget all about Spiderman, but now he remembers it?

I know, that sounds like fanboy geek being super critical.

But even that small line seems to to be the kind of slip up that the MCU never used to make. And honestly, that line isn’t the biggest problem with this film in any way, shape or form, but it’s the only thing I feel comfortable saying without spoiling anything for anyone at this time.

Couple that with how there is never a moment where you don’t know Doctor Strange(or any of the heroes really) will come out victorious. There’s never a real sense of danger, the threat never seems serious enough that we don’t know how it all will end – with Doctor Strange saving the day. And that cheapens any film, but especially a film as massive as this that promises to be the first horror film of the MCU, it’s the Multiverse of Madness after all.

While it IS a film that probably isn’t great for the younger MCU fans(there is some imagery and subject matter that young kids may find disturbing), there was no real horror, nothing scary, and even suspenseful moments felt few and far between.

Overall it was a very mediocre film with a few cool moments and a whole lot of problems(that may not be the fault of this film but of the MCU in general), and while I know I’ll keep following and watching the films of the MCU, I’m starting to worry if the problem is me being “MCU Fatigued” or if they are sliding fast on the downward slopes toward movie blandness?

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness gets 2.5 out of 5 stars.


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