Actress Katie Aselton returns to feature directing after nearly a decade away in Mack & Rita from Gravitas Premiere. When 30-year-old self-proclaimed homebody Mack Martin (Elizabeth Lail) reluctantly joins a Palm Springs bachelorette trip for her best friend Carla (Taylour Paige), her inner 70-year-old is released literally.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is a trippy fur ride
Legendary director Sam Raimi makes a return to the world of superheroes in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness from Walt Disney Studios. Serving as The fifth film in Phase 4 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness picks a few months after Spider-Man: No Way Home.
Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) teams up with America Chavez (Xochitl Gomez), a mysterious teenage girl from his dreams who can travel across multiverses to battle multiple threats, including other-universe versions of himself, which threaten to wipe out millions across the multiverse. They seek help from Wanda the Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen), Wong (Benedict Wong), and others.
Like most Marvel movies, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is one that you want to walk into knowing as little as possible. To stay true to that statement, I want to keep my review as spoiler-free as possible. It is no secret that the first film’s director, Scott Derrickson, was expected to return for the sequel. However, in January 2020, Marvel Studios and Derrickson revealed that he would no longer helm the picture due to creative differences.
Sam Raimi, who directed the Tobey Maguire Spider-Man trilogy, was quickly brought aboard. In addition, after acting as the head writer for Loki’s first season, Michael Waldron was hired to rework the film’s script. Using a director and writer familiar with Marvel could go one of two ways. It will either repeat what is already successful or be an off-putting mix of styles.
For the most part, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness does succeed. However, as I am a huge Sam Raimi fan, I may have a bit of bias. They could quickly turn Doctor Strange into Ash Williams from Raimi’s Evil Dead series and have a new entry in that franchise outside of a few expectations. Nevertheless, though this is a Marvel film, they have appeased the fans. Benedict Cumberbatch, Elizabeth Olsen, and Benedict Wong slide back into their roles efficiently. It was great to see the characters back on screen.
New addition Xochitl Gomez was enjoyable as America brought the right amount of grit to playoff Strange. Kudos to the writer for working Rachel McAdams’s character of Christine Palmer back into the film, as she was not originally slated to appear in the sequel. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness also has some great cameos worth the price of admission alone. I also want to tell parents that while the film is PG-13, the studio allows Raimi to push the envelope. Therefore, while we do not necessarily get into balls to the wall EviL Dead area, there are hints of Drag Me to Hell with the scare factor for younger viewers.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is not the best picture in Phase 4, but it is entertaining. The storyline of components may go over some viewers’ heads if they do not become lost in the continual parallel universes that serve to produce diverse personalities in the same characters. While you may love and treasure the pretension of inciting disputes, you must recognize the truth of who you are, what you have, and how you got there. We must remember that pleasure is complicated, that there is no such thing as a perfect world, and that the circumstances determine our fate.
Final Grade: B
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