Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022)

When Doctor Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) starts having nightmares, little does he suspect the truth: the Multiverse is bleeding other realities into each other. It takes a giant squid monster and a dimension-hopper to reveal these strange realities – and a dire warning that things have to be fixed. His first call for help is on the most powerful magic wielder he knows: Wanda Maximoff. Unfortunately, Wanda’s experiences in WandaVision have left her with other priorities – and the chances are, one or other of these characters is going to shatter the multiverse entirely.

I’ve lost count of how many MCU movies we’re up to now, but well into ‘Phase 4’. And much as I loved the whole thing, post-Endgame has increasingly felt like stretching everything too thin. Some have been good, some have even been great, but more and more there’s a growing sense of ‘I could take it or leave it now, tbh’.

That said, a sequel with an earlier character does have appeal, and thankfully Benadryl Cucumberpatch has improved his American accent a lot. No longer Sorcerer Supreme, he was a bit-player in SpiderMan-the-latest (it was good, did I ever review it? Still can’t remember the names now, though!), wielding magic that seems a little unnecessary and dangerous. So being forced to face a few consequences here makes a lot of sense, especially with the contrast to Wanda.

However, I’d argue that this should really be Scarlet Witch: The Movie, as while the focus is on Strange, it’s easily Wanda’s journey as much if not more. The events follow straight on from WandaVision, proving that yes, you do ‘need’ to watch everything, which is a bit hmm. And without wanting to stray too far into spoiler territory, I don’t feel that the character receives good treatment here. She’s traumatised, treated fairly badly through the whole series, and at one point she calls out the difference between how she and Dr Strange are treated with a, “I don’t really think that’s fair” – well, no, not really.

There are also issues, I think, with the new character and especially towards the end – again, no spoilers. It might have been nice to see some more of the other worlds they travel through, and it definitely would have been nice to see a certain scene before all the spoilers ruined the cameos for me. The use of various elements from the animated What If? series are kinda nice nods, if you’ve seen that.

Still, as with any of these movies, the entertainment-while-watching factor is high, due to a fast pace and great design. Again, might have been good to see more of the ‘other’ worlds. The ‘hmm’ ‘but’ and ‘maybe’ factor does creep in afterwards, though – so much that could have been better written or played out, or just not vaguely unsettling with gender politics.

I will give a shout out to handing the series to Sam Raimi, and letting him produce what’s being called the first MCU ‘horror’ movie. Not sure I would have called it horror without prompting, but it is actually quite dark at points. Death and some quite gruesome ones, if mostly kept un-gory. A zombie! Demons from hell. Yeah, okay. There’s even a Bruce Campbell cameo! 🙂

Overall, it was a fun watch, but yeah, even my patience with the never-ending superhero serieses is growing thin. If you like the MCU, you’ll like this. Otherwise, probably not. And yet I’m still intrigued to see where the story goes after this – and that’s the MCU way, isn’t it? Always with the breadcrumbs to the next (sixteen) thing(s). Well, as I say, it’s entertaining enough.

doctor strange 2 posterReleased: 5th May 2022
Viewed: 24th June 2022
Running time: 126 minutes
Rated: 12A

My rating: 7.5/10

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