KJ’s review published on Letterboxd:
Dr Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is a great time when it works - in saying that it only works when Sam Raimi has full control. The moments when the camera goes nuts with the crash zooms and it goes full Evil Dead are the most enjoyable sequences in the whole film. However when you juxtapose the Raimi scenes with the Marvel scenes there’s a huge difference in tone and pacing. The scenes where Marvel has full control are a slow drag that feel one misstep away from losing the plot in a negative way. For a film that runs under 2 hours this became a major concern at many key points of the film.
Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda absolutely kills it with what she’s given and to be fair it’s not a whole lot. As a follow up to WandaVision the key points Marvel and Sam Rami focus on take her character in a dark direction that leaves no room to root for her character at all. Despite Wanda being the antagonist of Dr Strange’s this outing feels more fitting to be one of titled under Scarlett Witch (if that makes any sense).
Two final things - I enjoyed how much of horror film this is. From the jump scares and the really dark sequences that shadow Wanda it can be really spooky despite no suspense seeming to be a built (yet another flaw with tone). Secondly this is brutal. There are many violent sequences that are shocking and it felt like Raimi was able to push the envelope with violence to a very limited capacity. The violence that is seen is visceral, dark and unapologetic. It will also turn away lots of younger Marvel fans and probably piss off a few parents.
To end Multiverse of Madness feels like it needs extra twenty minutes to become great but what Raimi pulls off with his signature style is something commendable despite Marvel heavily pulling the rug from him at many points.