Are you happy with the new Doctor Strange movie?

Now bearing in mind this will be a spoiler review, be prepared to read at your own risk.

The time has finally come, the highly anticipated Marvel movie Doctor Strange: Into the Multiverse of Madness has hit cinemas with a bang.

This time around the sequel to a moderately successful origin story is blown into multiversal proportions. Directed by Sam Raimi, you know, the director of the Toby Maguire Spiderman movies in the early 2000s?

You can just tell that this movie has Raimi’s hands all over it, and I love it!

From the Danny Elfman score to the insane visuals and camera angles. Possibly my favourite parts of the films are the transitions between scenes, with the camera rotating a cool 360 degrees or with the zoom-ins of a character’s pupil.

They just look amazing and feel oddly immersive.

Before I move onto the characters, I want to talk about the plot. It’s so nice to finally have a Marvel movie where the plot is driven by characters and not something extremely important that will have damaging effects later down the line.

Don’t get me wrong, this movie has definitely shifted some projects into the later pipeline at Marvel Studios. But for now, it’s nice to get a simple plot as it really allows for a lot of creativity.

The plot goes as follows, even if overly simplified: Wanda is travelling the multiverse to find her children, she wants to be a happy family again. Meanwhile, Doctor Strange teams up with newer comer to the MCU America Chavez. Miss Chavez has the power to travel the multiverse with star-shaped portals.

All hell breaks loose when Wanda starts coming after America to gain her power, no one will stand in her way.

As I said it’s an oversimplification of the plot and I’ve left out plenty of details, but I’ll get into them in just a moment.

For now, I want to talk about the characters.

I want to start off with Wanda, as it’s clear she’s the main star of this movie as well as being the main threat. The poster may say Doctor Strange but, really, his part feels very small compared to the Scarlet Witch.

This movie, obviously, takes place after Wandavision; in which it’s revealed Wanda has the Darkhold and is trying to find her children while being tainted by its dark magic.

In this movie we see Wanda at her wits end, she’s growing tired of waiting and decides to take action. She knows what she wants, and she knows she’s going to have to take it.

I love Wanda in this movie, she makes an amazing villain and her presence on the screen is absolutely terrifying; give Elizabeth Olsen an Oscar already because she deserves it after this performance.

As I said before, Wanda’s main goal is to be reunited with her children and that’s really the only plot of the movie. It’s why she’s after Chavez, which in return, is why Strange is fighting Wanda; to protect the kid.

The ending for Wanda was heartbreaking but expected, after all she had done to get to her goal, it still felt wrong. She had finally found a way to be with Billy and Tommy, but at what cost? They call her a monster, they’re visibly frightened of her, they don’t see her as their mother but as a villain.

When realisation kicks in, Wanda backs down immediately. Going so far as to ‘kill herself’ by encasing her body with the dark fortress she once resided in.

Now do I believe Wanda is dead? No, no I do not. After seeing what she’s capable of in this movie, it seems like an easy cop-out to kill her like this.

I believe Wanda will be back but will only play a small role within the MCU for a few movies until we have more big team ups again like the Avengers’.

I’ve seen many people criticise Wanda’s actions, and I’m not here to condone killing like she has, but I understand it too. She wants her family back, in her reality she has lost everything: friends, family, her brother, her husband and her children.

Wanda has possibly suffered the most out of any character in the MCU and to see her finally snap is exhilarating. I loved how once she became the villain, pretty early on in the movie, the vibes of the movie changed. What was once this superhero, action-comedy suddenly became a horror/thriller.

Now originally this movie was intended to be a horror, and though I’m not the biggest fan of horror I was super excited to see another superhero thriller on the market. Of course, this changed but many thriller elements stayed and I really enjoyed it.

Moving onto Doctor Strange himself, another huge congratulations to Benedict Cumberbatch as he plays many, many roles in this movie. There are a lot of variations of Doctor Strange in this movie and Benedict somehow makes them all distinct and different from one another.

He’s still funny, with classic witty one-liners, but he still has plenty of serious moments where he shows how much of a badass, he is. I love his relationship with Wong, each movie they’re in together seems to improve on their dynamic and I love it.

There were rumors when the movie released its first trailer that Wong would die, and I’m happy to say he doesn’t.

Strange’s dynamic with America Chavez is so wholesome; you truly believe he wants to help this girl no matter how many people oppose him.

The constant reminder of happiness is also a huge part of his character, just the simple line “Are you happy?” hits hard from start to finish.

Overall, for Strange’s character in this felt a little lacking. There were some big strong points such as the literal music battle and “I love you in any multiverse.” but overall, it’s definitely a Wanda movie first with Strange as a great supporting star.

I’ve briefly touched on America, she obviously doesn’t get much screen-time compared to her two gigantic co-stars, but she still does amazing. I feel like the trailers don’t really show her as good as she actually is, they really missed the marketing with this character.

I love her backstory and hope to see more of her world and family life down the line, I additionally love the LGTBQ+ representation with her two mums and the Pride flag being front and centre of her jacket.

Is it a good representation? For an industry like this, yes. It’s harder to get away with queer representation in big blockbuster movies like this because many countries are opposed to it and will not show the movie just because of one scene.

It’s happened many, many times and I doubt it’ll ever change. But as far as this scene goes, it’s miles ahead of Star Wars.

So, I will be getting into my own criticisms and issues with the movie, I didn’t have many and most of them are a little nit-picky. This isn’t to say I didn’t enjoy the movie, because I certainly did, it’s just these little things that can change a viewing for someone.

First things first, the initial 20 minutes of the movie felt very rushed. I’m all for getting straight into action, but it felt rushed. One moment we see two new characters fighting a demon then the next we’re at a wedding.

The pacing just felt a little off and a little clunky in some parts, but the action scenes themselves were amazing.

Now a real complaint I have about this movie it it’s marketing, this is possibly the worst marketing I've seen for a Marvel movie.

They released so many trailers and tv spots as the big release day got closer, but as someone who wants to know very little about this movie before seeing it, the whole thing was impossible to avoid. Even though I ended up muting all Marvel accounts to avoid these clips, I’d still see them advertised or on huge billboards and inescapable ads.

The marketing spoiled a lot of the movie, especially with the mystery of the Illuminati. Sure, fans had already guessed they were going to be in it, and sure fans had already guessed who would be on the line-up. But that doesn’t really condone Marvel straight up revealing it.

Just like Spiderman, I wanted to be happy that my suspicions were confirmed. However, I had still somehow managed to know about Captain Carter’s reveal or that it was in fact the Illuminati involved.

There was nothing surprising about this movie, Zombie Strange? Not surprising we saw it in the trailer.

The only thing that did catch me off guard was the context surrounding him, in the trailers we were misled to think he’d be a villain the normal Strange would have to fight. Yet, in the movie it is in fact normal Strange.

The reveal of Mr. Fantastic played by John Krasinski? Not a surprise, besides all the rumours, Marvel made it painfully obvious that he was going to be included.

I will say not recasting Black Bolt was a surprise, I didn’t really expect him in the movie, and I definitely wasn’t expecting the same actor from the flop show, Inhumans, to play him either.

And finally, the grand reveal of Charles Xavier, which again was not surprising.

The only truly surprising thing about this group was in the horrendous ways that they died. I truly think this is the goriest movie to come out of the MCU, and I love it! Give me more R-rated superhero movies.

I can still see Charles’ neck being snapped in my head, something I was not prepared for going into this movie.

And now when I look back, it’s obvious those characters weren’t meant to last. It had already been stated that characters like Reed Richards and Xavier were going to be recast and the MCU’s version of those characters would look completely different to what we have seen previously.

But, if that was the case, why bring John Krasinski into all of this? The likely answer is to poke fun at the fan casting of the character, for a while people were pushing for the actor to pursue that role. This was just Marvel’s way of saying ‘We’ll give you this one thing’ then immediately take it away from us so they can go off and do their own.

Additionally, I hoped at least one member would survive the massacre, even if it was visually stunning. I wanted Captain Britain to live, seeing Peggy back in the MCU was a treat and I only wish we could have seen more of this portrayal.

The moment she said, “I can do this all day”, I felt a little giddy, but the line hadn’t really been 100% deserved. This is the first time a lot of mainstream people will be seeing her, not everyone would have watched What If?

This line would have been their only connection to Captain America, and in their eyes, Peggy isn’t Cap; it’s just confusing.

Skipping ahead a little, the fight sequence between the evil Doctor Strange and the good Doctor Strange was phenomenal, who knew we’d get a musical fight scene?

And this is what I meant by having a simple plot allows for more creativity, the scene, besides being visually astonishing, worked really well as an action scene driven by music. I love the classical horror beats played through the music with some being distinctly recognisable.

God, I really love Danny Elfman. Anything the man touches is gold, and I’m not just saying that as a fan of Oingo Boingo.

However, the fight didn’t last that long and if we’re to believe this evil Strange is the same version as the What If? Doctor, then why was he so easy to defeat? He should have been a challenge, no?

It really felt like the movie knew it was coming to an end, but since they had shown this character so much in the trailers, they needed to keep him in the movie for longer than five minutes. Though the fight was beautiful the whole act felt rushed.

Since I have appeared to have ranted way longer than I intended, I’ll quickly list off all the things I actually enjoyed about this movie:

  • Wanda’s whole character arch and story.

  • The visuals, I can’t praise them enough.

  • The original score, Danny Elfman please score my entire life going on.

  • The costumes, though not as bright as a movie like Suicide Squad, I loved the overall look.

  • The characters as a whole are the best part of the movie, their interactions and choices are to die for.

  • The fight scenes, the trailers don’t do them justice.

I realised I haven’t really touched on the post credit scene, with a newcomer fans may recognise. This movie finally introduces Clea, she is a sorceress and the disciple, lover, and eventual wife of Doctor Stephen Strange, and his ultimate successor as Sorcerer Supreme.

I have no clue where the next movie will go, if it will even be involved in phase four, but it’s still all very exciting.

Overall, Doctor Strange: Into the Multiverse of Madness is a great movie, it’s got characteristics of a big blockbuster movie but still has the semantics of a B-list horror movie. The characters make the movie, the best being Wanda without a doubt; it’s clear she was at the forefront of this movie.

Like the previous Doctor Strange movie and to an extent Spiderman: No Way Home, this movie looks beautiful, I wish we could have seen more universes and stayed in the creative ones a little longer, but still a stunning film.

The comedy is great, the action is great, everything about this movie is great. Is it my favourite Marvel project from phase four so far? No, that spot still goes to Wandavision and Moonknight. But it’s a definite second, only competing against Spiderman: No Way Home.

Doctor Strange: Into the Multiverse of Madness gets 4 out of 5 Darkholds from me.

Doctor Strange: Into the Multiverse of Madness is currently available in cinemas.

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