'Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness' Review: A Wizard vs Witch mismatch in a piping mess of a movie
'Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness' could have been so much better. Instead, what it does is waste tremendously effective cameos and two ridiculously strong Avengers in a 126-minute affair that only promises the return of Benedict Cumberbatch's Stephen Strange. The late Tony Stark (may God bless his cocky yet heroic soul) labeled Strange a wizard, while in fact, he's a sorcerer. But he may have well been a lost man in this chaotic mess of sequel that, unfortunately, is a major letdown.
'WandaVision' all but established that Wanda Maximoff/ The Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) was one of the strongest Avengers, and she almost pulls off one of the greatest blunders in the multiverse, only to get a predictable ending. It was obvious right from the start that this would be an Avenger vs Avenger epic. And as far as the horror goes, Sam Raimi pulls one trick right from 'The Walking Dead' (more about it in our spoiler-filled Ending Explained) in a movie that even MCU ardents will flinch at. It's average, really. And a disappointment.
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The movie's plot is wafer-thin. Cumberbatch's Strange must suit up to protect America Chavez (Xochitl Gomez from 'The Baby-Sitters Club') from Olsen's Wanda after she decided to live a life with her children no matter the consequences — one of which is acquiring America's powers by killing her. Benedict Wong's Wong is now the Sorcerer Supreme, and he teams up with his ol' pal only to successfully fail in his attempt to stop one of the greatest and most powerful mutants. You can't blame him for trying, but Wanda's powers have reached critical mass and perhaps is the best nemesis after Thanos.
'Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness' irked fans by confirming the presence of the Illuminati days leading up to its release. It just irks them further by giving them a rather abrupt and short-lived arc just to prove how powerful Wanda is. At what point did it not realize that Wanda was savagely brilliant in the events of 'Avengers: Ultron' when he got into the Avengers' minds? Or by killing Vision out of sheer emotion and love and unknowingly embracing the darkness that she always possessed? That she stole his corpse later shows how deranged she was after losing the one person she loved. But despite all this, the sequel had to prove that she was deliriously evil, and does so rather badly.
Again, the movie has its moments. Rachel McAdams' Christine Palmer does her bit, and so do Wong and Gomez in all the frames they come in. Cumberbatch is one cool cucumber who shepherds the movie as much as he can, but it is an Elizabeth Olsen show all the way, and those who fancy a witch for a superhero will be delighted. But where Raimi fails is when he barely scratches the tip of the Multiverse. The movie is breezy, but for the casually curious, it's disjointed and that makes for a tough watch as far as exploring the worlds go, DC's done a rather better job. Would the sequel have worked as a TV series? Maybe. But that would mean a certain level of disrespect to one of the most pivotal characters from the Marvel comics.
'Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness' is a blur, and has scanty moments of promise. So, when there is that message that declares his return, there's hope that the next installment will hopefully be an improvement. If there's any consolation, it isn't as bad as 'Eternals'
'Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness' is running in cinemas near you.