Sun | May 22, 2022
Movie Review

‘The Multiverse of Madness’ great film from the Marvel catalogue

Published:Saturday | May 14, 2022 | 12:06 AMDamian Levy/Gleaner Writer
Benedict Cumberbatch stars as Dr Stephen Strange the world-famous neurosurgeon in ‘Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness’.
Benedict Cumberbatch stars as Dr Stephen Strange the world-famous neurosurgeon in ‘Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness’.

As superhero names go, Doctor Strange is perhaps the most apt, if only to describe the trajectory of his cinema appearances. Debuting in his 2016 original with a formulaic plot saved by captivating visuals and a clever ending, the odd doctor has since appeared in three of the biggest movies of all time, turning him into a household name in the six years since his arrival on the big screen. It’s safe to say audiences are familiar with ‘Doctor Strange’, a fact that’s exploited at great lengths in The Multiverse of Madness.

Benedict Cumberbatch returns, as do his castmates Benedict Wong, Rachael Mcadams, and Chiwetel Edjiofor. There’s even a brief appearance by Michael Stuhlbarg kicking off the film’s core character conflict, and forcing Strange to ponder the impossible question, “Are you happy?” Before he can stop to give it a first thought, the screams of innocents running through the streets away from a giant one-eyed monster are heard. Doctor Strange leaps into action switching his bowtie for his cloak, without so much as a telephone booth.

With every trick up his sleeve he battles the beast protecting the life of America Chavez, a mystery girl with the ability to traverse the multiverse. Director Sam Raimi shows his Spider-Man muscle memory as the hero fights up the side of a building saving a damsel perched on a crumbling ledge, just as the damsels Mary Jane and Aunt May did 20 years ago.

As Strange vows to protect Xochitl Gomez’ America, he’s thrust into a multiversal adventure that leans into the campy horror from Sam Raimi’s non-superhero work. Switching genres as it does there’s an undeniable confidence to Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. The movie wastes very little time explaining things to you, and when it does, it’s done with an atmospheric visual flair.

At times it will feel overwhelming as the film packs in three hours worth of material in a two-hour movie, especially if you’ve not kept up with the ever-expanding Marvel saga. Yet the details don’t seem to matter. The story itself is thankfully kept simple, the character motivations are clear and coherent. By the half hour mark, you may have to shield the eyes of your young one as the latest Avenger adventure quickly turns into a haunted house of horrors. Viewer discretion is advised, but for those who dare, expect one of the best films in the Marvel catalogue.

Rating: Big Screen Watch