After 14 years, over 20 movies, and a handful of television shows Marvel Studios has released its first horror film in their superhero franchise. To mark this occasion, Marvel Studios was able to get Sam Raimi, known for The Evil Dead and Spider-Man films (the Tobey Maguire ones).
Let’s get that out of the way. Raimi was the perfect choice to direct Marvel’s first horror film. His prior experience with superhero and horror films, campy humor, and visual style all mix together to create a highly entertaining yet scary film.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness follows the title character as he deals with the aftermath of the events of Avengers: Endgame (2019). He then happens upon America Chavez, a teen with uncontrollable superpowers being attacked by a monster. After saving her, the good doctor has to figure out why she was attacked and how best to help her control her power.
Okay, so that’s the bare minimum that I should say about the film. I mean, it’s been a few days since the film was released. Spoilers are most likely on every social media platform. However, if you’ve been able to avoid social media and the spoiler-landmine, then I highly suggest seeing this film as soon as possible.
The two leads, Benedict Cumberbatch (playing Doctor Strange) and Elizabeth Olsen (playing Wanda Maximoff) play their roles as expected, but it’s Olsen that truly shines and at times out acts the title character. While Doctor Strange does go through change as a character, it’s Wanda that shows the most growth. Honestly, they could retitle this film WandaVision: The Movie.
Oh, that’s another thing about this movie you should know. You’ll want to watch all of the Disney+ show WandaVision. If you don’t, then Olsen’s story won’t make sense, and then the narrative of the film becomes muddled.
Before finishing this review, I wanted to watch the movie two times. With Marvel films, I typically enjoy them, so I wanted the second run through to serve as a more critical analysis. This isn’t your average MCU film. While it does follow the formulaic superhero structure, it also serves as a horror film. For those that don’t enjoy horror, they might feel uncomfortable with the tone, the increased amount of gore, and some of the themes.
My other criticism of the film is that there is barely any madness to the Multiverse of Madness. The story sees a handful of different universes and while it’s cool to see the differences, it could’ve been crazier.
Overall, I thought this was an interesting Marvel film, but an even cooler Sam Raimi film. I think people will come to classify it as one or the other: a Marvel film or a Raimi film.
While this is a Marvel Studios film, I do not recommend taking children to see it. The film falls on the PG-13 line, but just barely. The profanity is mild, but a lot of the film contains frightening and intense scenes with violence and gore.