“What we achieve inwardly will change outer reality.” – Plutarch
I enjoy the MARVEL movies as much as the next person. Despite what some of my cinematic heroes like Scorsese have to say on the subject of superhero movies, they are every bit as viable as any other genre of film. They are adventurous, cinematic, exciting and visually stunning. When it comes to the basic idea of what a summer blockbuster is and can be, the MARVEL movies are the epitome.
I love cinema, arthouse and alike but there is just as much merit in a blockbuster as an Oscar contender. That said, there is one major glaring issue that, in the grand scheme of MARVEL’s overall concept of connected movies, still works but does not allow for one thing – individuality behind the lens. By that I mean take any of the MARVEL movies, remove the director of any particular movie and replace them with virtually anyone else and you’d likely have the same exact result on the screen. I am in no way saying this is necessarily a bad thing, especially taking into account the proven results over the past decade plus. The MARVEL formula clearly works but the style of each movie feels almost identical. Until now the only MARVEL movie with any real kind of individualistic identity is Eternals. Say what you will about that movie, when it comes to the cinematography and storytelling it is without question the most unique. But like I said, until now…
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is a breath of fresh air in an otherwise cinematically stunted universe. Again I am only referencing the work behind the scenes. If you know the work of filmmaker Sam Raimi you will recognize his influence over the entirety of this adventure. I imagine a meeting taking place between Raimi and Feige about the tonal balance of this sequel and a deal was struck to address already established elements of these characters. But when it arrives at a certain point in the story (a huge moment that is going to blow people away) Raimi is given carte blanche and does so with such bravery and command of the story. I loved Spider-Man: No Way Home but for my money Doctor Strange 2 is so far the best of Phase 4, and it’s not even close.
In the release of The New Mutants we were promised a horror movie with MARVEL characters. Doctor Strange 2 is that promise finally realized. It’s just done so with a Sam Raimi, Evil Dead, kind of flair and it is absolutely glorious. I have not had this much fun with a MARVEL movie in a long time, if ever. As someone who doesn’t read the comics these movies are based on, I have only ever heard about Wanda Maximoff’s abilities. I’ve heard countless times that she is thee hero to beat, the most formidable and the most dangerous if she were to ever change her allegiances. Finally, we have our proof of her powers and what exactly she is capable of should she decide to “go bad.” She has finally been given the leeway to fully become the Scarlet Witch.
To sum up just how bad ass Maximoff truly is, if she had gone through the events of Westview and discovered her full capabilities earlier, Thanos wouldn’t have lasted the first hour of Infinity War. She would have decimated him and never broken a sweat. She is scary powerful and demonstrates so against some of the most omnipotent entities in this or any other known universes and does so single handedly and rarely ever shows signs of being bested. Wanda Maximoff, aka the Scarlet Witch, now has one of the most memorable scenes in MARVEL cinematic history and I wish I could scream about it from the rooftops. Think Vader at the end of Rogue One and you start to get the idea. It’s mind blowing.
And it’s all showcased in the vision of Sam Raimi who brings a kind of distinction and horror brilliance to the world of MARVEL.
Without saying too much, Doctor Strange 2 features the undead, demons, witches, magic, reality manipulation, possession, necromancy and so, so much more. It is dark, unforgiving at times and plays no favorites with its characters. This is genuinely, with the exception of maybe Infinity War and Endgame, one of the rare times that a MARVEL movie’s characters felt in peril, like they may in fact die and never return. His style creates a feeling of fun but absolute direness. And one of the best parts is the overall pacing. For anyone worried about the so-called news of this being on the shorter side for a MARVEL movie, worry not. There is so much stuffed into some of the best two hours of superhero-dome that it never in any way leaves its audience feeling short-changed. There is a brief scene to establish where Stephen Strange is in his life since the events of No Way Home. It shows his relationship with Christine Palmer and from this moment on the pace never lets up. It takes off at breakneck speed and continues to the mid-credits scene. I wish I could say more but of course I would never spoil a movie for anyone.
Doctor Strange 2 is one of my favorite movies of 2022. It is every bit as epic and earth shattering as one could hope. There is so much about the movie that I could go on and on about so its greatest strength is best left for another time. But if I had to say what I think could be the best part of this movie is the confirmation it brings to the strength of the MARVEL Cinematic Universe. Even though so much uncertainty about the future was created when Endgame finished, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is proof that the MCU is as strong as ever. I have more hope than ever for this universe. I can say without hesitation I look forward to what comes next. Sam Raimi and company have made something truly special here.
Rated PG-13 For: intense sequences of violence and action, frightening images and some language
Runtime: 126 minutes
After Credits Scene: Two. Mid-credits and post.
Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy
Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch, Elizabeth Olsen, Benedict Wong, Xochitl Gomez
Directed By: Sam Raimi
Out of 10 Nerdskulls
Story: 9/ Acting: 9/ Directing: 10/ Visuals: 10
OVERALL: 10 Nerdskulls
Buy to Own: Yes.
Check out the trailer below:
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