Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness ★★★★½

This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

This review may contain spoilers.

Two things:

As a Wanda Maximoff megafan, I have some THOUGHTS on Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.

But… as a Sam Raimi/Evil Dead/horror fan… holy shit this is everything I’ve wanted from a Doctor Strange movie since the START.

Let’s start with the first point.

Yes, I know that Wanda has been “corrupted” by the Darkhold, and I do actually think the movie did a better job making us understand just how devastating losing her boys was than I’d been led to believe. However… I think there’s a DISTINCT difference between how Wanda was written in WandaVision (by Jac Schaeffer) and how Wanda is written here (by Michael Waldron). I’m not gonna generalize and say that “ONLY MEN CAN WRITE MALE CHARACTERS AND ONLY WOMEN CAN WRITE FEMALE CHARACTERS” because that’s fucking stupid, but I think there is additional insight and empathy that Schaeffer brought to her characterization of Wanda that was lacking here.

Make no mistake, Lizzy Olsen ATE. And as a Sam Raimi horror villain, Scarlet Witch is instantly one of the best of the best (hell, she’s easily one of the best MCU villains too). But… I’m also not a fan of the resolution of her arc. The MCU has had a problem with resolving the grief and trauma of its female characters by having them make peace with a painful past and then… killing them (Gamora, Natasha, and now, Wanda) while male characters (who have often committed far worse crimes) like Loki or Bucky get Disney+ shows as their redemption arcs. And yeah, sure, like Gamora, there are “other Wandas out there” who can star in future films. But… also like Gamora, that’s not OUR Wanda. Ours is gone. And that kinda sucks, as someone who believes her to be the best character in the MCU.

But, shockingly, despite some of my misgivings with how Wanda’s character arc was conveyed here, I… had a fucking blast with this film overall? Even aside from Lizzy’s aforementioned unhinged acting, Sam Raimi is one of the most distinctive directors to ever join the MCU, and boy does it fucking SHOW. He’s right up there with Gunn, Waititi, and Coogler for me - and a PERFECT fit for the world of Doctor Strange. Those visuals? Maybe the most inspired in ANY Marvel film. That horror-tinged third act (ZOMBIE FUCKING STRANGE)??? Something straight out of my nightmares in the BEST way possible. It’s also hard for me to not be won over when you give Rachel McAdams a campy horror beat. I mean, COME ON, I’m only human.

I’ve seen tons of complaints too about how “messy” the script was but, idk, it didn’t come across that way for me? I thought the themes were rather tender and touching (especially relating to our multiverse of infinite possibilities and the concepts that remained constant throughout each one), the central relationships (Wanda and her children, Strange and Christine, Strange and America) were extremely compelling, and there was next-to-no downtime whatsoever (sorry y’all, I ate that Illuminati sequence UP). The cameos were even pretty creative and didn’t distract too much from the primary plot, either.

Here’s the thing though: I’m not like a MEGA MCU stan in the traditional sense. I like a lot of their movies - and I think Infinity War and Endgame are two of the most epic cinematic events I’ve ever seen in my entire lifetime - but my favorite MCU films are the ones from auteurs whose voices break free of the Marvel formula (which is why the two Guardians films are my top two faves). So, when we say that Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is a Sam Raimi film first and a Marvel film second, no wonder I liked it so much!

I totally get why some would be disappointed with this one, but idk, it’s the shake-up I’ve been dying to see in the MCU for like, A DECADE. I had a weird relationship with No Way Home (kinda hated it the first time, had a blast with it the second thanks to a better crowd, and haven’t revisited it since, but kinda feel like it’d lack the same thrill outside of a theater) but THIS is something with sincere style that makes it stand apart from the Marvel pack. Given the reception so far, I doubt we get another Marvel movie this gloriously gonzo for awhile, so enjoy it while it lasts, kids.

P.S. Charlize Theron joining the MCU is one of the best things I’ve ever beared witness to with my own eyes.

2022 Ranked
Marvel Cinematic Universe Ranked

Block or Report

Zoë Rose Bryant liked these reviews