Robert E. Acuña’s review published on Letterboxd:
The MCU has 28 films and 6 TV shows as of this review. That's about 37 directors over 14 years...
And for the FIRST TIME, this feels like the director's film rather than just another Marvel Studios project.
Sam Raimi, a pioneer for superhero filmmaking, returns to the genre with a project just as outrageous as the man himself. Never has a Marvel Studios film felt as stylistic outside of screenwriting. James Gunn and Taika Watiti walked so Sam Raimi could return to the director's chair and run...again.
The way the camera swoops, zooms, and twirls feels lively, unlike anything the MCU has done before.
'Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness' is built on the foundation of the Disney+ streaming shows. If you aren't caught up with them, then you aren't going to understand this film.
The most common complaint I've seen for this film on Rottentomatoes is, "How dare I have to watch these shows to understand this movie?!?!"...which is honestly a very dumb critique.
I don't remember anyone complaining that it was hard to understand 'Return of the King' or 'Deathly Hallows Part 2' because they were sequels? Or how about any of the 'Star Wars' or 'Mission Impossible' films? Nope? Me neither.
It's kind of crazy that after the previous 27 films, this is one that some critics are saying is their last straw. Like 'Captain America: Civil War', 'Avengers: Infinity War', and 'Avengers: Endgame' weren't a problem but now that TV shows entered the mix, that's too much!?!
Sounds more like a personal problem, fellas. Especially when audiences aren't gonna feel the same way.
The REAL problem is that this film is all over the place.
It's tonally inconsistent, the dialogue is mostly rough, and the score is sloppy.
This is Michael Waldron's first time screenwriting for a feature film...and it shows. There's just so much exposition and way too many hit-or-miss jokes. I understand that it's a daunting task writing a film this massive, especially for your first feature, but it's pretty ballsy of Marvel Studios to risk it all just for him. Having seen all of 'Loki', Michael Waldron is capable of crafting a well-balanced and sharp script, but it takes some practice. Not everyone is a Tarantino on the page. This film, script-wise, got a pass by the skin of its teeth.
Danny Elfman needs to retire. Having become famous from the band Oingo Boingo, they eventually broke up when Danny felt like they had fallen into a rut. He then moved on to composing scores, which he excelled at...but 30 years have passed and now I feel he's fallen into that rut again. This is made more obvious since Danny Elfman has returned to songwriting in his spare time, showing that his work as a composer has become more of a job than an inspiration. It's ok to call it quits, especially when the music isn't up to par as it should be.
One sequence in this film genuinely shocked me and it will be the most controversial aspect of this entire film. When you finally see it for yourself, you'll know exactly what I'm talking about. I felt it was a step too far and it left a bad taste in my mouth. I basically felt like Kevin Garnett in 'Uncut Gems'.
Marvel Studios, now unstoppable by the amount of cash and clout, is in an experimental phase so the risks are higher than ever. When you take risks, it'll always be 50/50, and not every time they'll be a home run. But it's better to take risks than continue to repeat the same 'ol schtick, so I hope Marvel Studios continues on this path...with better scripts.
I never would have guessed that Sam Raimi's return to Marvel would make me feel this conflicted.
Edit: Upon a rewatch I have upped it ½ to make it a 7/10. It's an easier pill to swallow a second time but I won't deny the first viewing was shocking in a disappointing way.