Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness ★★★

This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

This review may contain spoilers.

Staggeringly dumb but undeniably fun.

It's weird how watching "Wandvision" is a prerequisite for "MoM," and yet, "MoM" actively contradicts Wanda's character growth in the "Wandavision" finale, thus negating the entire point of that series. So fans of the MCU will be disappointed at the blatant character assassination of Wanda, but casual movie-goers like my parents, Randy and Christine, will have no fucking clue what they are walking into. It's also weird how this is the THIRD Marvel property in Phase 4 to dip into the multiverse (the others being "Loki" and "No Way Home") that fails to tie into the others (Does "Loki" even matter?). The MCU has always been a long series of interconnected stories with interconnected characters, but hilariously, their stories about infinite universes haven't connected with the main universe we've been watching since 2008.

All this being said... "MoM" is a lot of fun, and this is a testament to Sam Raimi's signature direction. There are plenty of Raimi flourishes peppered throughout, mostly in the 2nd half, but you can definitely tell that he was restrained by the higher-ups. I'm not the first person on Letterboxd to say that this film feels like two different people directed it - the first one being a cold and lifeless robot built by Kevin Feige to churn out films based on an algorithm, the second one being Raimi, an auteur with a personality and passion for cinema - but I won't be the last. This makes it all the more disappointing how Raimi was only occasionally allowed to flex his muscles, teasing us with the great horror film this could have been. People are praising how scary and violent "MoM" is, and I agree, the scenes where Wanda turns into a slasher were hardcore, but I wanted MORE of that. Give me MOOOOORE Wanda carnage, goddamnit! Either go full Raimi or not at all (that's not true, I'll take any Raimi I can get!).

The script, while able to keep things moving and fun, feels like it was written on the fly, because it 100% was (if you don't believe me, look it up). I'll never understand why movies go into production without a finished script, but that's exactly what happened here, and you can feel it. Kevin Feige needs to worry less about sticking to an arbitrary production schedule and more about crafting films that have been storyboarded BEFORE the cameras start rolling. You know what else he needs to worry about? All those damn cameos - just stop Kevin, please, it's getting absurd. I thought "No Way Home" was bad when it hastily green-screened characters into scenes, but the Illuminati sequence in "MoM" takes things to a whole new level of embarrassing. John Krasinski's cameo might possibly be the worst performance I've ever seen in my life, but I don't think it's his fault. He was probably thrown in front of a green screen and handed his lines minutes before shooting, as the lighting on his face didn't match the other characters (his eye-lines were also completely off). The whole Illuminati sequence was so cringey that I cheered when Wanda swiftly killed them all off. Now THAT'S cinema, my friends!

NOTE: A big reason why I'm giving this film three stars is because of Elizabeth Olsen. While the films of the MCU have ranged from good to bad, she has always been incredible.

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