DOCTOR STRANGE IN THE MULTIVERSE OF MADNESS
Stars Benedict Cumberbatch Elizabeth Olsen, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Benedict Wong, Xochitl Gomez, Rachel McAdams
Directed by Sam Raimi.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is probably the most comic book movie that Marvel has done. In that, the main characters are the biggest forces of good and evil in their own universe, and characters that would be big enough for their own book are dispatched without a second thought of how it affects their run. This is interesting considering the Marvel movies have almost followed the WWE model of 50/50 booking and no one stands too far over anyone else. It is awkwardly trying to be both a stand-alone and part of an overall arc.
It is also the least Sam Rami movie he’s ever made. His trademark flourishes feel more akin to a Superbowl trailer where an inconsequential scene from a memorable movie all of a sudden has “Dodge” or “Verizon” flash up on the screen.
It is far more coherent than expected and never becomes the cameo fest many thought it would be. That said, there are some genuine stunners on that front, even if they are clumsily handled. America Chavez is a glorified McGuffin. She’s basically an Infinity Stone with a denim jacket and converse. Her name leads to some unintentionally hilarious dialogue where people are constantly worrying about “America's power falling into the wrong hands”
There is an odd mix of some actors doing their best work in the series but paired with some doing their worst. COVID and availability seem to have caused havoc with the shooting as some scenes noticeably involve interactions with actors I am sure have never actually met in real life.
It is very entertaining but seems to play it way too safe considering who is involved. There are some great flourishes, including a truly inventive scene with weaponized music notes and a Rami regular who all but steals the movie.
Overall it's a missed opportunity to do something unique at a time when many fans (myself included) are bemoaning the slew of unremarkable 3/5 output that Marvel has put out lately. The introduction of the Multi-Verse has neutered any sense of threat, rather than delivering a new one. With a variant of each hero ready to jump in to save the day or in Gamora’s case, be plucked from her universe to fill the hole in ours. The movies no longer have a sense of consequence.
This Phase of Marvel has yet to find its feet without the momentum that the ever-growing presence of Thanos built during the previous phase. Perhaps now there is no better time to hit the Galactus button.
Andy McCarroll @andymc1983
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