Doctor Strange 2 - If there's one thing Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, it's put the final nail in the coffin of the idea that directors can't put their stylistic stamp on the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Filmmakers like James Gunn, Taika Waititi, and Chloe Zhao gave their respective MCU movies their quintessential style, of course, but there's something about this new chapter that seems to scream that these movies are becoming the norm, not the exception. From top to bottom Multiverse of Madness is a Sam Raimi movie through and through.
Detractors of the MCU will say that there is a general uniformity in all phases. While this may be true, especially before the introduction of more distinctive-feeling films like Guardians of the Galaxy and Thor: Ragnarok, it also offers a universal view for casual audiences. It's great for studio pockets, but it's not always the most compelling movie experience. All this goes to say that the new installment of Doctor Strange will have, like the rest of the UCM, its detractors, but it will be difficult to find someone who criticizes the film because it bored him.
The full range of director Sam Raimi's rarities is shown here from start to finish. Whether through the creatures, the typical cameos, or just the setting, fans familiar with his filmography will be able to pick out plenty of his signature moments.
Most of the time, that signature works. But between some scenes that are weird for that matter and others that are marred by screenwriter Michael Waldron's sometimes unconvincing dialogue, even Raimi's biggest fans can raise an eyebrow from time to time. Still, the movie works a lot more than it doesn't.
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The horror element was a huge elephant in the room for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. Original director Scott Derrickson left the project because he wasn't going to be able to make the film the way he envisioned it, leading some fans to believe that the new Doctor Strange installment wouldn't be as spooky as promised. initially. But, in general, those fears can be left behind. Have you met Zombie Strange in What If...?, but it's definitely not the only thing that stands out in the newest addition to the MCU. Plenty of hair-raising scares lurk around corners, especially when things escalate in the third act.
The success of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is largely down to acting. There isn't a bad actor on the set, but Elizabeth Olsen constantly reminds us of the ease with which she can become a major actress as Wanda Maximoff. For her part, Xochitl Gomez does an admirable job bringing America Chavez into the MCU and left us hoping to see more of her character in the future, while Rachel McAdams did her best with a once again underused Christine Palmer. Of course, Benedict Cumberbatch is great as always.
And music. It's from Danny Elfman, so it's not surprising that it's okay. But he is wonderful. From the notes of the respective themes that appear as nuances as the characters come into play, to an orchestral tone that follows the whiplash of Raimi's narrative, to a musical battle royale, it's a absolutely great set that I will be using as writing music for the foreseeable future. Multiverse of Madness is worth paying the price of admission just to listen to the soundtrack.
Sam Raimi's first foray into the Marvel Cinematic Universe is flawed, to be sure, but it still has a tone that I'd like to see more of as the franchise continues to evolve. The clutter is almost appropriate for a Doctor Strange movie, though I definitely hope the script will be tighter in the next installment. I'm not going to spoil anything, but what I can say is that some of the dialogue is up there with the extremely uneven Moonfall. When you have talent like Olsen, Cumberbatch and McAdams who can't even make these lines work, it's probably time for a review or two.
Are there aspects of Doctor Strange in Sam Raimi's Multiverse of Madness that could be better? Undoubtedly. The script is sometimes very stupid, and there are weird moments that are just weird, not adding anything to the overall story or character development. However, the soundtrack is amazing, the performances are very good, and Marvel fans won't be bored for a minute.