I saw Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness Friday and I was a bit worn out by the end of it. The movie doesn’t have a very long run time, checking in at just over two hours. It just has a lot of multiverse, time bending, mind blowing sequences that tire you out as you follow Doctor Strange though some very strange places. From this point onward, there is a spoiler alert. I will avoid major plot leaks for those that have yet to screen this film, but some are unavoidable as I make my way through the analysis of this movie.
Through the first half of the movie I was really into it. This was looking like a top shelf Marvel production. The second half however kind of fell apart. The movie has a lot of action and the sequences can be genuinely dizzy at times. I felt like the traditional Marvel comedy breaks and ‘down time’ were a bit few and far between for the amount of hectic scenes that keep your brain buzzing. This film is also chuck full of plot holes even for a super hero film. I might also suggest that the younglings stay at home for this one, it is rather dark and the violence levels are treading into Frank Castle territory. There was no shortage of movie fake blood, and little was spared.
Wanda Maximoff is in this film and ultimately is the primary antagonist. You will figure this out in the first third of the film. Elizabeth Olsen is absolutely crushing it in my opinion as the Scarlet Witch. She is rather striking as the Scarlet Witch being both beautiful and exceedingly menacing. Director Sam Raimi does a great job working the scenes with Scarlet Witch keeping the classic comic book sexiness for the character while also leaving zero doubt that you do not want any part of her wrath. Meanwhile Ms. Olsen pulls off the devil incarnate evil witch and can flip on a dime to the loving caring and compassionate mother she has created in her own mind. For me Olsen carries the whole movie from mediocrity to excellence all by herself.
Cumberbatch delivers a similar Stephen Strange as before and does so well enough. I like the interactions they created for Dr. Strange in the multiverse. This movie does show us a transition in character for Stephen Strange who becomes a little less of a personal asshole and a bit more humanitarian by the end of the film.
In a major plot moving series of scenes, the Scarlet Witch is attempting to capture America Chavez a trans dimensional traveling character. She ends up in a universe in which Doctor Strange is dead and the powers that be are called the Illuminati. This is composed of Captain Marvel, Captain Carter First Avenger, Mister Fantastic, Professor X, Black Bolt, Baron Mordo who in this universe replaced Strange on the ‘council’. Professor X, Mordo, and Mister Fantastic appear to be doplegangers of our universe, but Captain Marvel is a different person entirely actually Carol Danvers friend, Maria Rambeau, and Captain Carter is our Peggy Carter but she took the serum instead of Steve Rogers in this universe. Hmm, Elizabeth Olsen and Haley Atwell in the same movie! That’s good for a couple of places higher on the list right there 😉
Anyway Doctor Strange warns them of the intense power of the Scarlet Witch but they are rather dismissive suggesting they will handle the witch as they lock up both Strange and Chavez. Cockiness proves fatal as the Scarlett Witch rather effortlessly wipes them out. Yes even Captain Marvel! The Scarlett Witch is about as powerful a character as you can have in comics. Literally capable of repelling Captain Marvel levels of hero, without much concern.
The second half of the movie is a bit busy and less entertaining than the first half. What will become apparent is that the Scarlet Witch is the most powerful MCU character to date. Jean Grey with the Phoenix Force might be stronger, but she has yet to appear officially in the MCU.
The movie seems to be decently true to the comics with the usual Hollywood plot “tweaks”. You should stick around for the credit scenes there are two, one shortly after the movie the other at the very end. Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness is worth the ticket price for sure but compared to the all time greats of Superhero movies it falls well short of glory. I will say that I am glad Marvel signed Elizabeth to a multi-movie deal because I want more of this amazing character and Ms. Olsen’s delicious portrayal.