Rafael "Parker!!" Jovine’s review published on Letterboxd:
Action!: Three Degrees Of Separation - Sam Raimi & The Slap B Sticks
Much has been made about how the opening act of this film could have been directed by anyone. And I somewhat agree. In fact, I know who secretly directed that opening sequence: Robert Rodriguez! Tell me if many of the early dimension and the way it was directed didn't remind you of Spy Kids. Because it did to me.
As for the rest of the film, all of the reviews were right on in terms of how Sam Raimi got away with it in many ways. That scene at the end with Zombie Stranger and you know hovering around him was like something out of Evil Dead. From the crash zooms to the usage of Mickey Mousing, the camera work bears Raimi's signature touch. It's still somewhat confined by the Marvel model, but I loved what we were given. In fact, I jumped off my seat on multiple times. And the fight in the second act was in many ways pushing that PG-13 rating, though I still believe that this rating in movies may go even further, like in TV series such as The 100, which, if I'm not incorrect, has the same rating, in the last few seasons they got really brutal with the blood and all.
The story itself was very enjoyable, and I know many have complained that this movie didn't have much of Strange and how he basically got the MCU Spiderman treatment here, but I didn't find that to be the case, and he plays a more important role in the story than simply being a passive spectator. I see the complaint about the exposition-heavy dialogue and how much "WandaVision" was changed or completely ignored, but I also see how this change in character that leads to her being this villain makes sense, while also I would have loved it was written better and given a bit more time to build this transitional bridge in her arc. And America's tragedy was handled so poorly that it was almost comical.
However, the performances by everyone involved were great, especially Elizabeth Olsen, who simply killed it (pun intended) with her portrayal, conveying much of the darkness but also the grief that haunted her and led her down this path of destruction. Gomez was entertaining, and I'd be interested in following her as she grows into this role. The cameos were nice, albeit, unlike No Way Home, none of them elicited much of a reaction from my audience, not even Bruce Campbell, proving how uneducated Dominicans can be; but since they are characters and actors that only a tiny circle of us interested in film have been aware and championing for, a little circle that I doubt many Dominicans follow or form part of, I mean, how many Dominicans are there even on this platform? I wouldn't be shocked if it turned out to be I'm the most active in the entire country here. So, yeah, lot of that lack of enthusiasm felt like sitting with my mother, and part of the enjoyment was absorbed by this lack of knowledge.
All in all, if it's true the script has many issues and I'm not sure if it has a memorable sequence like the previous one, it was exciting to watch Raimi return to the cinema and show he still has it, and I hope this is the start of a Raimissance. The music was good but not exceptional. And I was promised a fantasy horror film in the MCU, and that's exactly what I got. I may give it a better rating later, but seeing Dan Murrell's review before writing this dampened my excitement.
PS. Haha, it's over!
Flight to Fury
The Suicide Club
Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness