Dan Holford’s review published on Letterboxd:
“Are you happy Stephen?”
An engaging and exciting sequel to the original Doctor Strange while also tying in other components of the MCU. This really could be the closest we get to a horror version of the MCU, with Raimi’s touch felt throughout it‘a action. The story may lack some subtleness and it does threaten to be a little too fan servicey at times, but overall I had a blast with this sequel.
It’s rather fitting that this week is the twentieth anniversary of the original Raimi Spider-Man movie being released. This film’s visual style certainly feels like Raimi’s vision of what he wanted to create, with sequences that really push the boundaries of horror unlike what we’ve seen before in these movies. There’s a scene that almost goes full slasher mode , and honestly, it really works in the context of the scene. There’s some fantastic set pieces here, one in particular involving music notes that I thought was tremendous. The effect work is great, with Strange’s and Scarlet Witches powers on full display, always looking spectacular and grand.
Benedict Cumberbatch is still great as Stephen Strange, a role he was born to play, though his overall arc here didn’t feel that strong. It’s not really telling us much we didn’t know before about him. Thankfully, Elizabeth Olsen’s Wanda has a better story. Pushing her character to breaking point, a nice follow on from the great Wandavision, and while the ending does tie things up a little too quickly, seeing the way her character plays out here is still great.
I liked Xochitl Gomez as America Chavez, a nice addition to the cast. Her and Cumberbatch have some nice, smaller moments that stood out as some of his characters best moments. I’m looking forward to seeing more of her in the future. The multiverse aspect is fun, with the different characters (no spoilers) all being really great if small, additions to these worlds. Benedict Wong’s Wong, really is great, used perhaps the perfect amount, with Rachel McAdams once again being sidelined, but having a couple of nice moments. Of course, Bruce Campbell lights up the brief scene he’s in.
It does feel all wrapped up a little too quick, and while the visuals and action are some of the best the MCU has to offer, thanks to Raimi. It does feel that the story could have been a little more complex and fleshed out. Still really entertaining though!