Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness ★★★

Are you happy?

That's not just the question that Doctor Strange gets asked a bunch of times throughout the film, it's also the question I ended up asking myself in relation to seeing Sam Raimi get to direct another movie. So, there's not really a better way than to cut to my overall feelings with Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. As an overall work, I would put this at around the middle ground of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, if maybe a little more skewed towards the back half. On paper, I appreciate how short this is compared to other recent films in the series, but it does feel like this is a rare instance in which it should have been a notably longer movie, in order to flesh out its characters and concepts. It gets this close to being philosophical about the multiverse and how that connects to the emotions and regrets of both Strange and Wanda. What's here in relation to that isn't bad, simply rushed and feeling very surface-level. (I also can't be too bummed out about this, because we did in fact get a multiverse movie this year that does that kind of thing incredibly. Everything Everywhere All at Once, you may have heard of it.) The thing I am most intrigued about relating to this movie is to hopefully get to hear details about what was in it before the reshoots, and how much the material changed from conception to screen, because this possibly is a scenario in which more was removed than added. To make that more compact, whatever issues I have with the movie rely on its writing and the narrative. Now, let's talk about what I of course was looking forward to the most with this movie. Yes, after nine years without a feature, Sam Raimi is back in the director's chair. I can say that although this is also in about the middle of his filmography, I am happy with how much control Raimi appears to have gotten as director. This is, speaking in terms of pure aesthetics, a through and through Raimi film and one of the best looking movies in the MCU. Super colorful when that matters, and although not an outright horror film like has been said by some, has quality horror elements that at times did genuinely shock me was permitted by Feige and crew. (If you want gore and scares, here they are. Two kills in this audibly made me gasp, so thank you for doing your thing, Raimi.) It's strange (ha) that although this movie is far closer to the macabre and pulpy sensibilities of the comics with this character, having just rewatched it before this, I do overall like the first Doctor Strange notably more than this. This is a movie that I think as a whole works more in moments than as a collective, though its best moments do for one hundred percent certain make this worth at least one viewing. (Since I feel obligated to put this somewhere, even though I will still try to say it in mostly vague terms, there is shocking restraint with the amount of "Glup Shitto" in this movie. If you saw that one leaked image that went around, congratulations, you have seen all of the cameos that are in here. No Way Home has much more "Glup Shitto" going on in it, so if that was a concern for you with this, rest easy. Plus, however much of its execution is reliant on Waldron as its writer or Raimi as its director, what the film eventually does with the Glup Shittos is pretty delightful in the most gleefully masochistic way. I'm going to say it one more time because it's fun to say: "Glup Shitto.") The climax is creepy and just outright fun in the ideal way, and again, I will reiterate above anything else that I came into this mainly for Raimi, and I am glad to have walked out of it having gotten as much Raimi in my Raimi as I did. The king is back, and here's wishing he takes the hopefully millions of dollars he got from this to make five or so movies in the next ten years. He took his little hiatus, and now he's here to show the kids who's boss.


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