Director: Sam Raimi
Writer: Michael Waldron
Cast: Benedict Cumberbatch, Elizabeth Olsen, Xochitl Gomez, Benedict Wong, Rachel McAdams, Chiwetel Ejiofor
Music: Danny Elfman
Cinematography: John Mathieson

I was never a Marvel fan. (Yes, you can drop hateful DMs in my inbox, but wait until you finish reading this review). MCU became big when I had no understanding of cinema or strong story lines, and I always thought: “The superhero saves the day at the end of every film. What’s new about that?” Many of you may have already responded to this in your head, but I admit I was wrong this whole time. My love for the Avengers and the other Marvel characters blossomed when I watched Avengers: Endgame. What a great start, right? While watching that film, I felt I was transported to another universe, one where we had heroes like Captain America, Doctor Strange, and Hulk saving the world. 

I was shattered to know that it was the ‘End’ game, and I was too late to the party. I went back and caught up on all the films, eventually transforming into a Marvel fan. While sobbing over the death of so many characters (Tony Stark, I miss you 3000), Marvel Studios announced a slate of new films bringing me some joy. And one I was waiting for the most was the sequel to Doctor Strange. He became one of my favourite characters in an instant and Benedict Cumberbatch always had my heart, for very obvious reasons. 

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness was announced in 2019, and two years later (blame the pandemic), the film is finally coming to theatres near you on May 6th. I got an early pass to watch how Doctor Strange saves the world once again, this time along with a new kid on the block.

Screenplay

The multiverse has helped expand the MCU by creating multiple possibilites, with Benedict Cumberbatch’s Doctor Strange travelling through them in the sequel. The film begins with him waking up from a strange dream, bewildered and confused. You get your first Easter egg here, so be attentive. He carries on with his day when a strange monster invades the city. Why is the monster from another world travelling to our universe? Well, he is after a young kid named America Chavez (Xochitl Gomez) for her superpowers. 

You instantly fall in love with her, and her camaraderie with Strange is as pleasant as our superhero’s camaraderie was with Tom Holland’s Spider-Man. Secrets unravel and they figure out why America has to be saved from the evil-doers. Benedict Wong’s Wong sets outs on a mission with Strange to save America and her powers from going into the wrong hands. Rachel McAdams’s
Dr Christine Palmer and Strange’s impossible love story also plays out for a few moments and it’ll break your heart when you see them together. The star of the film, however, remains Elizabeth Olsen’s Wanda Maximoff / The Scarlet Witch. 

Doctor Strange may be figuring out the ‘Multiverse of Madness,’ but it is Olsen’s world and everybody else is just living in it. One can only anticipate her part in the story, but it gets darker and stranger with each moment. I’m trying my best not to drop any spoilers, but you will hate the witch and love Olsen in the film. Doctor Strange, along with his squad, travel the multiverses where they meet some bad Stephens and some good ones. The audience will be thrown at some words like ‘Darkhold’, ‘Book of Vishanti,’ and more, so watch the film very carefully. I’d suggest skipping the large coke because you don’t want to leave the hall for a loo break in between. 

The story progresses quite swiftly with the director, Sam Raimi, wasting no time with useless details. There are a lot of cameos — some you may have already guessed and some that will shock you. By the end of the film, you are left satisfied. Your love for the Marvel Universe is reinforced and you seen why directors like Raimi are good at what they do. 

Performances

Words will fall short. Cumberbatch is his classic self in the film. The switch from evil to good, from strong to weak, from dead to alive, and from fun to serious — it’s an incredible range you will witness. Gomez, as I mentioned before, shares a great camaraderie with him. She is a strong-headed superhero and she could not have asked for a better introduction than this film. Gomez is completely convincing in the role and having been a part of many TV series, this film is sure going to change things around for her.

I cannot say enough about Olsen. She won hearts with the WandaVision Disney+ series, and a dark continuation of that is seen in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. Olsen is a natural and she is so plausible on screen, you don’t know what’s coming for you when you see her trying to achieve her selfish goals at the cost of something ‘Strange.’

Benedict Wong, Rachel McAdams, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and the other cast members only elevate the ‘Madness’. The fact that each character has a twist in story shows how well written the movie is and you will definitely love the bits with them in the crucial scenes.

Direction and Music

Sam Raimi creates these dark worlds and we don’t mind being absorbed into them. He’s packaged the film with some very eerie moments mixed with moments of humour, sorrow and some of that good old classic strangeness. The film is a visual treat, but nothing is always perfect. There are some moments in the film that slip into silly territory. However, the tightly-knit screenplay with Raimi’s expertise in throwing in surprises makes the film worth a watch. The music by Danny Elfman is on point, with every scene made more histrionic because of it. The film will reel you in but there’s no way you’ll miss the BGM. 

What I Liked

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness leaves you wondering about so many things and I like when a film-maker achieves that. The several cameos, the plot twists and the two post-credit scenes make this film another hit after Spider-Man: No Way Home. It begins on a precarious note and ends on an even more ‘strange’ note. There is a scene where America and Strange travel through different universes and that is sure to become your favourite part of the movie. You wouldn’t want to miss even a single minute and kudos to team Doctor Strange for being able to achieve that so effortlessly. 

What I Did Not Like

We’ve been introduced to Doctor Strange in the first part, but the second part felt like another introduction. As much as I loved seeing Scarlet Witch, I wish Doctor Strange had more screen time. The film could have been titled Scarlet Witch in the Multiverse of Madness, and Doctor Strange should have been given another film. 

Final Verdict

As a Marvel fan, you won’t miss the film obviously. Take my advice and watch the film as soon as you can to avoid spoilers on Twitter. As for those who are thinking if they really need to see another superhero save the day, then my answer would be a big YES.