Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness ★★★★

My first thought upon leaving was that I definitely need to see this again. It was a lot of film condensed into a surprisingly short runtime given how these films often lean towards bloat.

This was most definitely a Sam Raimi film, through and through, and I do think it is fair to call this the first MCU horror, because given the audience and age rating, it is gory, violent and scary. It feels very much like the Strange of the comics in recent years, with the horror and monsters.

It has a lot of ideas and a lot of then never get fully explored, however it is trying to do some very cool things, with some truly awesome visuals throughout, it is wildly inventive and truly takes us on a journey through the multiverse.

In terms of the characters and cast, Cumberbatch and Olsen get the most to do, Strange and Wanda have full arcs, parts if which are more expected than others. With that, if you haven't watched hed WandaVision, you will be absolutely lost as to Wanda's motivations here, but that level of disconnect was inevitable, and Disney are expecting audiences to be fully familiar with all the available material, be it TV shows or movies.
America Chavez is an interesting addition to the MCU and will hopefully be explored more in later projects as she more or less acts as the central mcguffin for the plot.
Rachel McAdams has an expanded role here, and she does fine with it, but it does feel like they're not really taking advantage of her as much as they should be.

There's a lot of cameos in this film, which I won't spoil, though all were spoiled for me before seeing the film sadly. Your mileage on these cameos will depend on your wider knowledge of the MCU and Marvel in general, but I got a real kick out of them and hope we might see one or two of them again in the near future.

One big letdown for me was the score. Other than a couple of moments, it all but abandons the excellent Strange theme from previous films, and what we get is a Danny Elfman score we've heard many times before.
There is however, tied to one of the cameos, a very specific piece of theme music that I never thought I'd hear in a live action MCU movie that made me grin from ear to ear.

Overall, Multiverse of Madness is a fun and gruesome entry in the every expanding Marvel Cinematic Universe, that does manage to do some new things, feels like a film driven by its director rather than a studio mandate.

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