Movie Review: Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness

Photo courtesy Marvel Studios.

“Doctor Strange & the Multiverse of Madness” is the highly anticipated sequel to Marvel’s 2016 “Doctor Strange” and is the 34th entry into the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). The film is directed by the well renowned Sam Raimi and features a multitude of new characters as Marvel continues to redefine itself after the departure of frontrunners Captain America and Iron Man, played by Chris Evans and Robert Downey Jr. respectively.

Compared to its predecessor, which introduces a fresh set of characters to the MCU, the sequel relies on the audience to have have seen Disney+’s “WandaVision” to fully understand the plot. The film also includes several references to “Marvel What If..?”, some much bigger than others, so potential viewers may want to do some homework. This is a clever move by Disney to bridge the gap between Disney+ and the Box Office. Which to some, may have sacrificed certain creative directions.

Somewhat contradictory to Disney’s notorious family friendly branding,  “Multiverse of Madness” is supposed to be the MCU’s debut into the horror genre. As a result, some of the scenes attempting to showcase the horror element felt a bit forced. Nevertheless, an attempt was made, seeing as Disney chose to hire Sam Rami who is well known in both the superhero and horror genre, having directed films such as “Spider-Man” (2002), “Evil Dead” (1981), and “Evil Dead” (2016). 

However, Multiverse of Madness is still a Disney film, somewhat limiting Raimi. Horror fans, do not plan on this being a doozy. Raimi’s influence though was still visible all throughout, from oddly placed guitar solos to weird face closeups during critical moments. 

The sequel did bring about a refreshing take on  Dr. Strange. One equally sharp and quick witted, but very clearly humbled by the events of not only his last titular adventure but the last three major films he appeared in. In contrast to the “Stark”-ishly arrogant Steven Strange fans have gotten used to over the last six years, this Steven Strange has firsthand seen the demise of the universe 14,000,605 times and still had to sacrifice half of the entire universe for the better good. Not to mention, this is his first big adventure since losing the title of Sorcerer Supreme, which is explored in Multiverse of Madness. This to me demonstrates a level of growth and understanding to a character historically difficult to write, which I can really appreciate.

Overall, Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness was an interesting direction to take the franchise. Though I think it could've done a better job in terms of its potential, it is a great film for Marvel fans like myself and I am excited to see what happens when Dr. Strange returns. 


Though it was certainly a different type of movie compared to its MCU contemporaries, it did feel like Multiverse of Madness at times spread itself too thin. It featured so many big name characters and reveals, namely with the Scarlet Witch serving as the main antagonist, finally being name dropped as Disney flexes their acquisition of 21st Century Fox. 

In my opinion, though this was a great way to bring closure to Disney+’s “Wanda-Vision”, it did seem a bit unnecessary. Seeing as Disney is now able to use not only the “Scarlet Witch” name, but also own the rights to properties such as “X-Men”, “Fantastic Four”, and “Deadpool” after its acquisition of 21st Century Fox in 2019, I believe Wanda’s story could have been better ended in its own film.

I think from a screenwriter’s point of view, exploring the multiverse was the right way to introduce these new properties into the MCU, but Wanda’s own film in which she is given the center stage may have given these new heroes more of a running start in terms of their introduction into the MCU. I can totally see this ragtag team of Deadpool, the Fantastic Four, and the X-Men forming a sort of alternate universe Avengers as they fight against the vilified and horror inspired Wanda we see in Multiverse of Madness. Perhaps this team could have been even led by Dr. Strange and universe traveling America Chavez…

Moreover, I feel the film’s inclusion of the “illuminati” as a major plot point was a bit underwhelming. Though it was great to finally see John Krasinski as Mr. Fantastic among the rest of the illuminati, it felt as though they were there just to appease the fans rather than a major plot device. This takes away from any formal introduction of these characters in the future, leaving their appearance in Multiverse of Madness to be in limbo between cameo and supporting roles.