The Marvel Cinematic Universe kicked off all the way back in 2008. We have been waiting years, but there is finally a horror movie in the universe. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness may not be a full-blown terrifying film, but there are numerous horror scenes in this film that will have you reminding yourself that you’re still watching a superhero blockbuster. No joke, this latest entry in this universe will have you on the edge of your seat unlike some of the previous entries we’ve recently seen in the MCU.
One nice thing about Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is that it doesn’t take a long time to get going. From the get-go, there is an action-packed opening scene, followed by a few minutes of downtime at Christine’s (Rachel McAdams) wedding where Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) realizes how bad he’s screwed up his love life, and then bam. Another big action scene. Just like every other MCU movie, there are some action scenes that are standard in this one. But what makes them stand out more in are director Sam Raimi’s eye and just the overall trippy nature that comes with a Doctor Strange movie. There are some incredible scenes as our characters tumble through the multiverse, getting lost along the way, and it helps to have a skilled (and well-respected) director like Raimi at the helm to navigate a new realm of this ever-expanding cinematic universe.
What really makes this Doctor Strange sequel so good is the conflict between Strange and Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen). We’ve seen Wanda become a beloved character in the MCU and slowly turn into Scarlet Witch throughout last year’s miniseries WandaVision. Now having gone full tilt as the Scarlet Witch, it creates problems for Strange and America Chavez (Xochitl Gomez), a teenager whose mysterious abilities have huge ramifications for the multiverse.
Once we get into the second act, this is where Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness shines. There are several twists and turns along with some exciting surprises that may or may not tease the future of the MCU. Sam Raimi does such a good job with the horror element in this movie and without spoiling anything, some of these moments will have your jaw drop or gasp. Hidden underneath all of the MCU-isms, there is even more of a horror film that the studio had to water down to keep how they like their movies. It makes you wonder how much studio interference there was in the final product here.
One downside to this film is that it is quite challenging to be a standalone viewing. You have to see the first Doctor Strange, Avengers: Infinity War, Avengers: Endgame, and all of WandaVision for this sequel to hit home. If you’re a die hard, this won’t be an issue. But it isn’t like several other Marvel movies that can be an awesome, non-confusing standalone viewing experience. Just know going into this that you need to watch WandaVision or at least watch recap of the entire limited series if you don’t want to commit to watching the whole series.
Overall, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is an exciting addition to the MCU, even if it is a bit messy at times and expects a lot from the audience’s commitment to content. In terms of solo movie sequels in the MCU, this is certainly one of the better ones. And with the ending, it’ll be interesting to see where they go from here with Strange, the character, and the multiverse in general.