Friday 6 May 2022

REVIEW: Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022)

Review by Jon Donnis
As this is a big release, worth noting that this review does contain mild spoilers.

Benedict Cumberbatch is back as Dr. Stephen Strange, his mission this time is to protect America Chavez (Xochitl Gomez)

In the film, Strange travels into the multiverse to protect America Chavez, a teenager who is capable of travelling between universes, from Wanda Maximoff / Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen)

I will say that this film is cameo heavy, and to really get the most out of it, it helps if you are a big Marvel fan and have seen a lot of the various films and TV shows, if not, you might find yourself wondering who the hell someone is, or googling every ten minutes trying to figure it out.

The film starts off with America Chavez and an alternate version of Dr. Stephen Strange being chased by a demon in a space between universes. You know this is an alternative Dr Strange, as the white streaks in his hair are in a slightly different place. Dr Strange is looking for the Book of Vishanti. Strange is killed and Chavez falls through a portal (along with his corpse) and land on Earth-616, Earth-616 is the main reality depicted in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. No idea why it is so high up number wise.

Chavez now finds herself being chased by a giant Octopus Demon, This universe's Dr Strange (the one we all know and love and with his white streaks in the correct place) is at a wedding, but sees the commotion and with help from Sorcerer Supreme Wong (Benedict Wong), they defeat the Octopus. She explains to them demons are chasing her because of her power to travel through the Multiverse.

After seeing witchcraft runes on the demon, Dr Strange seeks out the help of Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen), and soon finds out she is the one who is controlling the demons and wants to take Chavez's power so she can travel to a Universe and be with Billy and Tommy, the children she created during her time in Westview, (from the TV show Wandavision). This is a huge plot point, and really helps if you have seen that TV show.

What follows is a Multiverse jumping fight to protect Chavez and stop Wanda who has now become the Scarlett Witch from getting the power.

No more spoilers from me as you will need to watch the film. Plus the trailer reveals much more than what I have said.

As mentioned earlier there are some nice cameos from some of the Marvel characters of other films and TV shows. I will say they did two characters dirty in how they handled them, which is a shame as I like both of them. 

There are also mid and post credits scenes, so don't leave the cinema too quickly.

The Good
The special effects are incredible, as you would expect, everything looks great. Introducing the new character of America Chavez is well done, she is likeable, and should have a strong future in the franchise. The cameos were welcome, but as I mentioned earlier, some people will have no idea who they are, where as other people will be excited at seeing a character they haven't seen in a while. Some of the Marvel films can get a bit confusing at times, but this one did hold together pretty well, the story is set up in a nice way, and doesn't go on to many tangents.

The Bad
They could have and perhaps should have done more with the cameos, they made those characters look very weak, and they didn't really bring much to the film outside of the surprise factor. Zombie Strange (which you briefly see in the trailer) looks ridiculous. And the giant Octopus demon at the start of the film looks a bit silly.

I think if you are a big Marvel fan you will get way more out of the film than if you are only a casual fan who has seen the odd film here and there.
With that said however, the story I thought was solid, the characters well defined, and the shades of grey between good and evil were explored in an interesting manner. There is even some comedy moments in the film that got a laugh out of me, so that is worth a mention.

Marvel fans will have already arranged to see this before even thinking about looking up reviews, and I hope the casual fan gives the film a shot, you might not understand everything, but perhaps watch it once, then read up on it, and then watch again.

I score Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness a very strong 8/10