This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Vance King’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
Marvel Cinematic Universe: Episode XXVIII - She'll Put the "Hell" in Helicopter Mom
Doctor Strange's second solo outing suffers from MCU overload, struggling to tell a meaningful story beneath the extended universe mumbo-jumbo. Not to sound too Scorsese, but as a film, this thing is a convoluted mess, but as a thrilling new ride in the Marvel Universe amusement park, it hits a home run (or at least a triple).
Sam Raimi deserves credit. His unique cinematic voice is peppered throughout, with twisty camera work, jump scares, horror and PG-13 gore. It's a nice new seasoning on the standard MCU meat and potatoes. But it's still the same ole' stuff, so MCU-faithful need not fear anything too jarring. Speaking of the MCU fans, it always is an experience seeing a new Marvel movie on opening weekend. Say what you will about A24 disciples, Swifties, Snyderverse diehards, Lakers fans, etc., but the Marvelites are a bunch of equally loveable/annoying wackadoos. It was crazy hearing them hoot and holler at the handful of cameos. I could have sworn a few in the group behind me were going to break out into a fan-fueled rave right there in the theater. Crazy kids.
But I digress. Raimi's horror sensibilities bring more than just interesting, scary visuals. A few other horror tropes tag along. You'll see characters being dumb. Why did America peek into the puddle when told by Strange to cover up the water reflections? Why did our fleeing heroes decide to stop and watch a closed door, knowing that the Scarlet Witch tore through like five other doors in her pursuit? And for heaven's sake, why did the Illuminati elect to fight Wanda seemingly single-file, only glancing at each other as their alleged friends are killed one by one? (That last example was fun but ludicrous, and harks back to the elderly Palpatine dispatching four armed Jedi in quick succession in Star Wars: Episode III. That scene looks stupid now, and it won't be a surprise when the Wanda vs. Illuminati showdown is looked at with similar disdain.) Thanos must be rolling around in his grave to see how efficient Wanda was at logging some superhero kills.
But I'm overthinking it. I know. This is a rollercoaster. A grand sci-fi superhero soap opera. And I appreciated that the Raimi touches provided a little jolt to my two kids.