Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness REVIEW: Not a revolution, but definitely a revelation

Directed by: Sam Raimi; Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch, Elizabeth Olsen, Xochitl Gomez, Benedict Wong, Rachel McAdams; Music by: Danny Elfman.



Marvel Studios' Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness is a mind-bending and empathetic horror-fest —so horrific and violent it is the first MCU movie to receive a PG-13 rating— that could only come from the mind of Sam Raimi. Raimi's experiences with Evil Dead and Spider-Man come together in a visual feast that terrifies just as entices. Intimate and sinister in equal measure, Multiverse of Madness is a unique and refreshing installment to the MCU that offers nothing concrete, only hinting as to what may come in (or from) the future.



Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness impressed me immediately with its maintained focus on the title character. Yes, this should be a given, but often the need to world-build can overtake the importance of character work when there is a lot of world to build. Rather than the full weight of the multiverse side-lining Strange in his own movie, the concept is used as a tool of self-examination. It becomes clear pretty quickly that this film is not some "game-changing" flick that will topple the first domino and lead us to the next big cinematic event to rival Avengers: Endgame. This is a movie for Doctor Strange.


Raimi, as always, does a great job using everything to his advantage in a given shot. His camera work is expressive and there are a few shots in this film that took my breath away with how well-crafted and thought-out they are. Magic seems to be its own character in this film, each spell having a distinct look and sound. Raimi's skill with sensory imagery is devastatingly haunting, and his lighting decisions create a certain depth to heroes' faces in times of deep consternation.

Raimi's cinematic style and penchant for horror, alongside phenomenal performances and a talented crew, helps Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness stand out from the MCU crowd by aiming for a darker slant. Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness is a macabre monster of a film that lightheartedly ushers the MCU into a new era. What kind of era? We will have to see.


RECOMMENDED READING:

Wanna catch up on the life and times of Stephen Strange, Sorcerer Supreme? Check out these three CLASSIC collections from some of Strange's best creators:


Doctor Strange Omnibus Vol. 1

by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko


Doctor Strange Epic Collection: A Separate Reality

By Roy Thomas, et al


Doctor Strange: What Is It That Disturbs You, Stephen?

by Tom Sutton, Michael Golden, and Marshall Rogers


 

Austin Kemp read Batman #315 (Batman vs Kite Man) when he was 5 years old, and hasn't stopped reading comics since. Austin is a college writing teacher and has a masters degree in Comics Studies. Austin and his partner, Savanah, live in Massachusetts with their master, a cat named Chaplin.







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