Film: Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness
Cast: Benedict Cumberbatch, Elizabeth Olsen, Xochitl Gomez, Benedict Wong, Rachel McAdams, Chiwetel Ejiofor & others
Director: Sam Raimi
Rating: 3.5 Moons
After the humongous success of Spider-Man: No Way Home, the stakes of Sam Raimi's Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness were naturally high. Centered around the battle between Dr Stephen Strange and Wanda Maximoff (or The Scarlet Witch), the MCU action-thriller can be categorised as one of its most terrifying and darkest films.
Living up to its title (Multiverse of 'Madness'), the film is set some time after the events of Spider-Man: No Way Home, which opened its own multiverse. Doctor Strange gets a bizarre dream about a girl being chased by terrifying monsters. However, it's not just a dream. During the wedding of his former girlfriend Christine (Rachel McAdams), Dr Strange has to pull out his red cape and fight off a monster, an octopus. Post the insane face-off, Dr Strange encounters the girl, who appeared in his dream. She is named America Chavez (Xochitl Gomez) and her superpower allows her to travel multiverse.
This superpower becomes the biggest threat to America and she seeks help from Dr Strange and Wong (Benedict Wong) who then take her to their 'fortress', Kamar-Taj. In a quest to protect America from the parade of monsters, Dr Strange flags off a fight with Wanda Maximoff or The Scarlet Witch, who is the mastermind behind all the attacks on the young girl.
Revealing further details could spoil the entire experience of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. Blending elements of horror into an MCU film, director Sam Raimi can possibly give many sleepless nights with the terrifying visuals. While he makes up for the lack of emotional depth with breathtaking visuals, Sam has indeed opened up a gateway to a variety of storylines and possibilities that can be explored in the future. The fight sequences in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness will certainly leave you on the edge of your seat. If you are particularly interested in the cameos, you'll be a tad bit disappointed. The first horror heavy film in the Marvel universe, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness will linger in your head for a long time. All for the right (& terrifying) reasons.
Though the film is titled Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, it should have ideally been 'Wanda' instead of 'Doctor Strange'. Under the control of the Darkhold, Wanda is one of the scariest villains of our times. Elizabeth Olsen escalates the thrill, enhances the narrative and conquers the film with her brilliant performance. She overshadows Benedict in every single frame. Be it the transformation from Wanda to Scarlet Witch, casting black magic or an emotional backstory, Elizabeth has written her name all over 'Doctor Strange' in the Multiverse of Madness.
As Doctor Strange, Benedict headlines Sam Raimi's film. He introduces different shades of his character as he traverses across the multiverse. His scenes with Xochitl Gomez are lovable but they are not developed, emotionally. Despite flaws, one cannot forget the fact that he breathes life and soul into the character and brings him alive on the big screen.
Xochitl Gomez as America is like a breath of fresh air. The newbie shines throughout the film and holds her own ground opposite Benedict and Elizabeth. Benedict Wong is brilliant and elevates the film with his perfect comic timing. Rachel McAdams does a fine job despite having limited screen time.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness will not disappoint you. However, one can certainly notice that the film suffers from pace and convenience issues. If you manage to ignore it, you'll find a masterpiece in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. Fasten your seatbelts for a thrilling, terrifying and unforgettable roller coaster ride.
PeepingMoon gives Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness 3.5 Moons