The Reel Review
Benedict Cumberbatch is back as Marvel superhero Doctor Strange in this film presumably about him traveling through the multiverse to defeat an evil demon bent on destroying the world and absorbing the unbridled powers of a young multiverse jumper America Chavez (newcomer Xochitl Gomez).
We say presumably because this dreary ho-hum of a story itself is such a confusing hodgepodge of unfinished ideas (with a LOT of frenetic CGI) that it takes a good 30 minutes to finally gel. Even then, it is very sloppy. In the wake of the vastly more clever Spider-Man: No Way Home and now this, should we now expect lazy, revisionist multiverse treatments of ALL Marvel characters? Let’s hope not.
Horror director Sam Raimi (Evil Dead) injects a distracting amount of horror into the dark tale from Disney+’s Loki series scribe Micheal Waldron, which – surprise! – also requires a working knowledge of Disney+’s WandaVision to understand why Elizabeth Olsen’s now villainous Wanda Maximoff is so hellbent on finding a multiverse where she’s a mom. At one point her Scarlet Witch persona looks more like Carrie meets The Walking Dead. Even the film’s most blatant fan service – the sunny reveal of some surprising superheroes in an alternate universe – ends in disappointment. Do better, Marvel.
• Scott Derrickson, director of 2016’s Doctor Strange, was originally set to direct but stepped down after creative differences with Marvel. This is Sam Raimi’s first film since 2013’s Oz the Great and Powerful.
• Two days after wrapping WandaVision in Atlanta, Elizabeth Olsen was on a flight to London to shoot Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.
• As usual, Marvel fans sticking around for the end credits will get a sneak peek at the latest big name celebrity to join the MCU.