Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness Spoiler Review!
It’s in the title, but just in case, this is a SPOILER review of Doctor Strange. Now that that’s out of the way…
I want to start by saying, my major issue with this movie is that it felt like the people who made this movie wanted it to be their movie instead of letting it be a Doctor Strange or Scarlet Witch movie. Sam Raimi’s fingerprints are all over this, and in the beginning, I loved it. But as the movie went on, it became an issue. It took me out of several huge moments and the emotional beats at the end with Wanda didn’t hit the same. I cried at the end of WandaVision, and couldn’t muster anything for her interactions with Billy and Tommy here.
The other culprit is Danny Elfman. Both of these guys are supremely talented, so I’m not trying to take anything away from them. But here, I didn’t enjoy the movie as much because it felt like they were the “stars”. Elfman jumped the shark for me when the two Doctor Strange’s fought with music. And the noise that came in every time Strange’s third eye opened was too loud and dramatic considering nothing really happened when it did.
The script also left something to be desired, but I can chalk that up to them rushing through a storyline. I would have appreciated an extra 30–45 minutes to let the movie breathe a bit.
But these are my only issues with the movie. I don’t like getting hung up on the things I don’t like, especially when they are so small and trivial. I loved the action, acting, and character development. I loved the twists and turns we took, and I thought the Illuminati scene worked better than I could have hoped. So let’s dive into the goodies!
First, the acting. Benedict Cumberbatch was phenomenal, as usual. He’s a tremendous actor and he gave an appropriate performance for his talent. Which makes what Elizabeth Olsen did that much greater. She is by far the standout of this movie, and it’s wild how quickly she has become one of my favorite performers.
I didn’t realize Xochitl Gomez was literally 16 years old, and that makes her performance stand out as well. Marvel does an incredible job at casting in general, but especially with child actors. There’s always going to be a drop-off with child actors because they aren’t as experienced, but all of their casting choices have been strong.
I appreciated getting more Rachel McAdams in this, and she was solid as well. Even the smaller roles, like Sheila Atim as Sara, were strong. And of course, we get more strong showings from Benedict Wong and Chiwetel Ejiofor as Wong and Mordo respectively.
The action set pieces were phenomenal in this as well. We basically jump from fight to fight to fight, so there is a lot to choose from, but Wanda’s attack on Kamar-Taj and her attack on the Illuminati were the peaks for me. But again, I enjoyed them all, minus the music note part of the Doctor Strange fight.
In terms of twists and turns, there were so many things that went in a different direction than I thought they would. And they consistently worked for me. The main thing I loved about this was that they made Wanda the villain from the beginning. The post-credit scene for WandaVision set it up, so I’m glad they didn’t lead us down a false path for most of the movie.
Wanda being the villain was so important for the character development of not just her, but America Chavez and Doctor Strange. This movie is all about the good and bad in all of us and how we reckon with that. It’s more transparent when you incorporate the multiverse aspect, but it’s there. And I loved how truly dark they made her. She went HARD as the villain and was legitimately scary. She was great.
As is the case with most of Phase 4 so far, they are setting up a long-term story right now, so there are going to be some unsatisfying aspects in the projects until they start paying them off down the line. There’s a lot of building happening, which can be frustrating for some of the MCU-only fans. But trust me, it’s going to be worth it.
Lastly, let’s talk about the Illuminati scene. So we have John Krasinski as Reed Richards, Anson Mount as Black Bolt, Hayley Atwell returning as Captain Carter, Lashana Lynch returning as Captain Marvel, Mordo, and Sir Patrick Stewart as Professor Charles Xavier. First, love bringing Stewart in to play Professor X, and I really, really love having Lynch come in to be Captain Marvel. I hope they continue to have her in the MCU because she’s great.
Mordo was a decent inclusion, and Atwell coming in as Captain Carter in live-action for the first time was great to see. More Hayley Atwell please Marvel! I’m not super familiar with Anson Mount’s work, but I recognized him immediately and bringing Black Bolt in was fun. I also learned through this that he played Black Bolt in the Inhumans series, so that’s extra cool.
But the big one I’m in love with is Krasinski. I do love Krasinski in general, but I didn’t need him to be Reed Richards. Which is why I loved this casting so much. We got Krasinski to satisfy all the people who wanted him, and now we can leave the door open for someone else (William Harper Jackson please!) to play Reed in our universe.
The only thing I didn’t like about this scene were (some) of the deaths. Not that they died, but how they died. Wanda taking Black Bolt’s mouth was incredible, but he’s supposed to be immune to his own powers. Still, the explosion in his head was amazing. The other death I had an issue with was Captain Marvel. In no universe should Captain Marvel die by being crushed by a statue. It just shouldn’t happen.
That being said, Reed being turned to string cheese, and then his head popping like a grape, was phenomenal. And cutting Captain Carter in half with her own shield was brutal in the best way. I’ve seen some complain that Professor X went the way he did, but I think that just showed how scary Wanda is. She is all about mind manipulation, so it’s not a leap that she, angry and not holding back, could overpower Xavier.
But that’s it! I really did like the movie a lot, and I think it will age like a fine wine. Right now, I’d give it an 8/10, but I could see it growing as we get more layers on the story. Thanks for reading y’all, I’m out!