Review: Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

GROOVY

Rating: 9 out of 10.

If you are a fan of Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead movies from the eighties and nineties, then I have some ‘groovy’ news for you. The renowned director brings his unique style of monsters, mayhem and the macabre to the new Marvel film, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.

It’s been 20 years, almost to the day, since Raimi’s original Spider-Man movie first hit theaters, and it’s a day I will always remember. A day I took off of work so I could see the first showing on the first day of its release (Friday, May 3, 2002 to be precise), and I sat there giddy as a school-girl waiting for the movie to start and was completely rewarded after four decades of waiting for that film to be made.

Raimi inarguably ushered in what could be called the Marvel Age of Films, and all of sudden everyone was a comic-book fan, or at least a Spider-Man fan. Comic nerds everywhere could finally start to come out of the shadows. These days being a superhero fan is considered mainstream, but, boys and girls, it wasn’t always like that. Sam Raimi and Spider-Man fixed that. Hail to the king, baby!

Now, twenty-eight Marvel Cinematic Universe movies later (and that’s just counting the MCU films), Raimi is back with Stan Lee’s and artist Steve Ditko’s second most-famous creation, Doctor Strange, an absolute perfect fit for the director’s unique and eccentric style of horror storytelling. Fans are going to be more than thrilled.

In a nutshell, and to be clear this film is nuts, the good Doctor (Benedict Cumberbatch) is joined by Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen), his servant-turned-master, Wong (Benedict Wong), and even by himself in order to protect MCU newcomer America Chavez (Xochitl Gomez), from an unknown entity that is dead set on sucking her multiverse-traversing powers out of her soul. Multi-dimensional madness ensues.

I found it interesting that “Multiverse of Madnesscould serve up the acronym of MOM and that mothers could play a vital part in the plot of this film and that the movie is being released on Mother’s Day weekend… but maybe I’ve said too much in this spoiler-free review… or maybe not.

The ensemble cast also includes Chiwetel Ejiofor as Strange’s longtime rival, Baron Mordo, and Rachel McAdams as Dr. Christine Palmer, Strange’s unrequited love interest. I feel I should also mention the Cloak of Levitation, which always delivers an awesome and often hilarious performance. There are other unmentionable guest appearances, some that might have been true rumors (and there might be some disappointing false rumors as well.)

The fun thing about these multiverse movies, like the recent Spider-Man: No Way Home and Everything Everywhere All at Once, is that anything is possible and often probable. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness takes that no hold barred concept and flies with it.

Danny Elfman composed the excellent score for this film and his music serves up one of the most interesting and exciting action sequences in the movie – my favorite of many favorite parts for sure. You’ll know it when you see it.

Multiverse of Madness also contains mesmerizing and mind-bending visuals that raise the bar on the trippy sequences of the first film and makes the psychedelic sequences of 2001: A Space Odyssey seem like child’s play. I recommend you go into this movie with a clear head as you may leave wondering what was in that popcorn. 

As usual with Marvel movies, make sure you stay until all of the credits have run and the cleaners have shown up or you’ll miss out on one of the coolest parts of the film. If you are an MCU fan then you are already there for this one. If you are a horror fan (and especially a Raimi horror fan) then you are in for a great treat (and some tricks as well!)

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About the author

Bob Leeper

Bob Leeper is the co-owner and manager of "Arizona’s Pop Culture and Alternative Art Network," Evermore Nevermore. He is the co-creator of the pop culture events Steampunk Street and ENCREDICON, and is a member of the Phoenix Film Critics Society. He also curates the Facebook fan site The Arizona Cave – AZ Fans of Edgar Rice Burroughs, and is one of the few brave and bold fans of Jar Jar Binks.

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