“Dr. Stephen Strange casts a forbidden spell that opens the doorway to the multiverse, including alternate versions of himself, whose threat to humanity is too great for the combined forces of Strange, Wong, and Wanda Maximoff.” – IMDB
Once upon a time, I was a marvel hater. I had only seen Iron Man, Black Panther, and half of Guardians of the Galaxy. I prided myself on only having seen “the good ones,” without ever given the rest of the Marvel catalog a fair shot. Then the world shut down and I had nothing better to do than to dive into the 920394823098230 hours of superhero shenanigans. And you know what…I was sold.
If you take the time to watch the movies either in order of their release date or in chronological order, then they actually do make excellent films. You better understand the language, the impending catastrophes, and the notorious easter eggs. So, while I understand where other Marvel haters are coming from, I try to encourage them to give them a chance. Except, I certainly won’t be encouraging them to see Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness because it represent all of the worst aspects of Marvel. Let me clarify…
I don’t know many people who would call the first Doctor Strange movies one of their favorites. It’s fine, perfectly fine, but it definitely focuses on visuals and convoluted plot lines to seemingly distract the audience from a lack of substance. There is too much superficiality in Doctor Strange’s storyline. When we have characters like Black Panther, Star-Lord, Captain Marvel, Spiderman…who exude charisma and who have interesting, complex backstories, it is difficult to attach to Doctor Strange’s arrogant surgeon with an injured hand storyline. Even the wonderful Benedict Cumberbatch (WHO I DO LOVE, although it may not seem like it from my reviews of this and Power of the Dog) cannot save this particular tangent of the franchise.
If the first film tried to hide its lack of substance with insane visuals and plot tangents, then this sequel decided to up the ante tenfold. As with many movies that involve multiverses or time travel, the stakes of the plot are lessened because even if a character dies…are they really dead? A version of them still exists in another time or place. So anytime the plot actually moves forward, it feels like the audience still ends up in the same place by the end.
The film also seems to want to lean in the direction of a cheesy horror, which I would be all about, if they had done it right! It seems like the creatives of this movie wanted to give the audience something different, but the Marvel/Disney brass tamped it down and some sort of weird…might I say mutant (wink wink)….was created instead of an original, unique superhero movie.
This leads me to Everything, Everywhere, All At Once. I’m sure it didn’t help that I saw these two movies within 24 hours of each other. But to be fair, I saw Doctor Strange first and still whole-heartedly disliked it. But when I saw Everything, Everywhere, All At Once, I was left thinking “now this is what a multiverse movie should be.” So, my advice to you is: unless you feel the need to see Doctor Strange in order to make sure your Marvel-viewing is complete, you can skip this one and run, run, RUN to Everything, Everywhere, All At Once instead. You’re welcome!
Rating: 4 out 10 Claire Bears
If you like this movie, you should also watch: I think almost any Marvel movie (minus the Hulks) are better than this…
Streaming: In Theaters
With: Benedict Cumberbatch, Elizabeth Olsen, Benedict Wong
Directed By: Sam Raimi