Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness ★★½

"The modern Marvel sequel is as multi-armed as Doctor Strange casting a spell. Think about how many properties are being sequel-ed in “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.” It’s a sequel to “Doctor Strange,” although just barely in that you probably need to have seen that film less than the Strange adventures that followed. It’s a sequel to “Avengers: Endgame” and “Spider-Man: No Way Home” in that it references action in both films and extrapolates somewhat on the universe-saving decision that the title character made in the former. It’s very much a sequel to “WandaVision,” the show that expanded the Marvel Cinematic Universe into television. And, for a particular generation, it’s kind of a sequel to when Sam Raimi was one of the most badass filmmakers alive. Perhaps all of these allegiances are at the root of why “Multiverse of Madness” never develops its own identity and depth. It’s a Frankenmovie, a blockbuster sewn together from pieces of other films, comic books, and TV shows and given life with the electricity of a Marvel budget. After a dreadfully long build-up, “Doctor Strange 2” gains some momentum thanks to Raimi’s visual flair, but even that runs out. You really can’t go home again."

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