“Dr Strange In The Multiverse of Madness” gets the magical Marvel movie action pumping again. But in this movie, it is not just set in one space, or time, or even one dimension. It makes for a crazy spin dry cycle for the previous wash loads of numerous prior Marvel-produced movies, and even some Disney+ TV series. Like somebody once said “Hold on to your butts”…
Dr. Stephen Strange (played by Benedict Cumberbatch) is a prior world-renown surgeon turned into a Master of the Mystical Arts. That means he is a Sorcerer, a magical defender of the Earth. He is not the Sorcerer Supreme. That title has been given to his old friend Wong (played by Benedict Wong).
Doctor Strange has had dealings with the Avengers to defeat Thanos, and most-recently had helped out Spider-Man. But that spell went terribly wrong, and it broke the boundaries that separate the Multiverse. However, his bad dreams at night are about to turn into a true nightmare.
Strange is attending the wedding of his doctor friend Christine Palmer (played by Rachel McAdams). They were lovers a long time ago, and she had moved on. He meets another person from his past, Dr. Nicodemus West (played by Michael Stuhlbarg). But before the party gets going, there is a commotion down in the streets of New York. A giant tentacle-laden monster with a single eye is after a young girl running in the street. Her name is America Chavez (played by Xochitl Gomez). Strange and Wong show up to attack the gargantuan monster. When they defeat the thing, Strange notices something, well, strange.
America is the girl that he has been seeing in his dream. She tells him that her life is in danger, because she has an ability to jump from universe to universe. Strange and Wong know that they need help. America is being tracked by some sinister magic, and Strange knows only one person who would be able to help. Doctor Strange goes to meet with Wanda Maximoff (played by Elizabeth Olsen).
She has severe depression from losing her ‘children’. That is a bad thing for the ‘Scarlet Witch’. Wanda has been studying evil magic from a book called the “Darkhold”. Wanda wants the abilities that America has, so that she can jump across each universe until can reach her two boys.
Wong and Doctor Strange take America to Kamar-Taj, the mystical center and stronghold for sorcerers. They will protect America Chavez with their powerful spells. But the Scarlet Witch will have none of that. Her dark magic invades the fortress and puts Strange, America and Wong in danger. America does not have control of her abilities, but can only cross between any universes with a star-shaped portal. This only happens when she is afraid, and boy – she is really afraid now. America and Strange tumble into a portal and pass through lots of crazy universe segments.
They land in a version of New York that has different ‘variant’ versions of the folks that Strange knows. Including one called ‘Defender Strange’. Opps, only problem is that he is dead. He died keeping a different monster away from America. They explore the city and find a ‘friendly’ Karl Mordo (played by Chiwetel Ejiofor). Karl is another magical arts user who is the Sorcerer Supreme in this universe. He takes Strange and America in custody, because they violated the Multiverse Speed Limits, or something.
Doctor Strange and America Chavez are kept in a special holding cell, designed by — Christine Palmer, or at least this variant version in this universe. Strange is told by Mordo that he must face up to the group known as Illuminati. This is a powerful team of ‘variant’ versions of superheroes from other places. These are powerful cameo sightings of famous Marvel characters, or at least ‘variants’ of these folks. But the Scarlet Witch has ways to travel into this alternate universe and defeat them all. And before long, the Illuminati become the Illumi-Not. Oh well, nice knowin’ ya…
The Scarlet Witch is using Wong to get her to a place called Wundergore Mountain, where a mystical fortress was created by evil magic. Wanda captures America and brings her to this spot. Doctor Strange and Christine had been able to escape, to a new, different universe. This world has it’s own ‘Dr. Strange’. But this one has been corrupted by the power of the Darkhold. This ‘Sinister Strange’ variant is ready to fight the normal Strange. But it is a battle that will use mystical magic, and even music! Normal Strange has to find a way to help America Chavez, but he would need to use the forbidden spells of the Darkhold to get that done.
Will Dr. Strange use incredibly powerful ‘Dark Magic’ to defeat Wanda? Will Wanda discover that her emotional trauma was making her believe that she actually had children? Will America Chavez understand what she can do with her powers and how she can use them for good? Will Marvel Studios be able to afford more wheelbarrows to hold all the money that this movie is going to make?
“Dr Strange In The Multiverse of Madness” is movie that will deliver to the audience, and will deliver much, much more when you are prepared. This is a movie that will make much more sense if you have a broad grasp of previous Marvel entries. That includes movies (the first “Doctor Strange” and “Spider-man: No Way Home), and also some of the Disney+ series (such as “WandaVision”, Loki”, and “What If”).
Director Sam Raimi (famous for the “Evil Dead” franchise and a three-pack of prior “Spider-man” movies) steps up to the plate and hits one out of the park. He gets a weird and spooky take on the evil ghouls and monsters in Dr. Strange’s world. The cast is perfect, right down to a small cameo of Raimi favorite – Bruce Campbell. Benedict Cumberbatch and Elizabeth Olsen bring a frenetic energy to the characters, yet still manage to keep them grounded.
“Dr Strange In The Multiverse of Madness” will be a Megahit in any Megaplex where it will screen in any of the Multiple Multiverses around. To think otherwise is Madness!
Dr Strange In The Multiverse of Madness
Directed by: Sam Raimi
Written by: Michael Waldron
Based on: Marvel Comics
Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch, Elizabeth Olsen, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Benedict Wong, Xochitl Gomez, Michael Stuhlbarg, Rachel McAdams
Cinematography: John Mathieson
Edited by: Bob Murawski, Tia Nolan
Music by: Danny Elfman
Production company: Marvel Studios
Distributed by: Walt Disney Studios
Release date: May 6, 2022
Length: 126 minutes
MPAA rating: PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, frightening images and some language.
Genre: Comic Book Action