Dr. Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

What a stupid movie. Sam Raimi’s incredible directorial talent adds entertainment value to an otherwise devoid mess.

The MCU is reaching the stage where it’s too much. In order to follow this film you need a working knowledge of six movies and two entire seasons of television. That’s a lot of material to keep in mind when walking into a movie. You have to be a committee devotee to enjoy this or you need to look elsewhere for your blockbuster extravaganzas. Even if you are a major mcu fan, I’d recommend looking elsewhere.

The film begins with Doctor Strange, again played by Benedict Cumberbatch. He is trying to protect a young girl called America Chavez from a red-ish blob of CGI. She is being hunted by a evil entity trying to steal her superpowers. What are her superpowers?She can travel through the Multiverse Atwill.

The movie has one of the most bloated and idiotic scripts of any modern blockbuster. The movies number one goal is to capitalize on the success of Spider-Man no way home by cramming the film with fan service. The problem is this fan service is not earned. It is cheap. It feels like a series of punch lines without set up. Imagine if you will a knock knock joke without the knock knock who’s there part.

This film has the shortest first act of any movie I’ve seen. The first act consists of about three minutes of scenes and dialogue. All of which set up the plot the McGoverns and the Easter eggs we should be looking out for as fans.it doesn’t do its characters themes or overall story anything more than lip service.

Because of this abbreviated first act the film feels rushed but not like it’s in a hurry to get anywhere important. it’s just a chase to get from plot point to the next, from one cameo to the next. The trouble is that because these cameos have no setup they ring hollow and have no impact when they land.

The best part of the film is Sam Raimi. He’s the off kilter auteur behind the evil dead and the original Spider-Man trilogy. He brings a zest and a much needed verve to the proceedings. The best scene is one in which he’s allowed to go full-Raimi. He inserts a little mini horror film into this big Marvel extravaganza. The scene involves Wanda, played by Elizabeth Olsen, being stalked by a supernatural entity in her kitchen. The scene has zooms and quick cuts and canted angles that add up to a fun and visually delightful sequence that has real power and filmmaking behind it.

The other wonderful thing Raimi brings us a good use of close up. So many of these Marvel movies linger on wides and medium shots and they never get in close and allow emotions to really register. I feel Wanda’s pain and America’s fear so much more intensely when their eyes are in major close ups that punctuate the action.

Is it a good movie? No. Is it an entertaining Marvel entry? Meh… kind of. Do you need to see it? No. There are better movies and better Marvel movies.

I hope they let Sam Raimi direct again. Give the man a decent script next time, and you’ll have a masterpiece.

It’s not my cup of tea. C-

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