Most Marvel fans!
Film review, by Jason Day, of Dr Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022), the blockbuster, Marvel action fantasy starring Benedict Cumberbatch and directed by Sam Raimi.
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Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) teams up with America Chavez (Xochitl Gomez) – a mysterious girl from his dreams who can travel across multiverses – to do battle against those who threaten to wipe out millions.
Review, by @Reelreviewer
I thought one Strange was bad enough.Wong (Benedict Wong) surmises the difficulties of a multiverse of strange.
I should feel a bit ‘multiversed out’ after the last seven days, having seen two movies firmly rooted in that concept, or the ‘manyverse’ as my second choice – Everything, Everywhere All At Once – has it, and enjoyed both I would like to add.
A quick aside for the unvitiated: the multi/manyverse means a hypothetical space or realm consisting of a number of universes, of which our own universe is only one, meaning many versions of ‘us’ can exist at any one time. Manna from heaven for moviemakers looking to thrill with epic, eye boggling special effects.
Alternate realities and switching between timeframes is a complicated thing to get across clearly, even in a book where the author has oodles of pages for explanation and readers have a chance to let their imagination help out and can put the book down for a rest.
You would think it would all be too much for mere movies, but Marvel writers and directors are dab hands here, adroitly and smartly juggling multiple versions of characters, plots and subplots and bringing them all seamless together.
I’ve written in the past about struggling with comics-inspired cinema; it feels like I’m not up to speed or that the whole shebang just passes me by. I’m generally more comfortable with self-contained movies that don’t require me to constantly refer back to previous films. Marvel movies are hard work for me!
But then, that’s totally missing the point of what Marvel are doing and why their millions of fans worldwide lap up their films.
But I’ve had good advice from friends who are out and proud ‘Marvel maniacs’ to watch the movies less as action spectaculars and more like sly comedies…with spectacular action sequences.
This advice has served me well (with Thor: Ragnarok, 2017, for instance) ,but I didn’t see or hear much comedy with this Dr Strange outing. Yes there are some good laughs, but I felt a soupçon more would have made this even more special and wouldn’t have been too hard to achieve.
Horror and Marvel maestro Sam Raimi is the man behind the camera, so at least the in-jokes come through loud and clear. We even have the ubiquitous cameo from his Evil Dead star Bruce Campbell as a man magicked into hitting himself in what was (for me) the movie’s standout scene.
As I said before, I’m rather late to the party with the Marvel series. So not having seen the previous Dr Strange, Wandavision etc. I was left scratching my head at the bits that involved Elizabeth Olsen. Nothing wrong with her performance as her witch is something to behold. She’s a tour de force of nature.
Special mention must also go to Xochitl Gomez as America for putting in some splendidly confident work, ensuring she doesn’t get lost amidst the eye-boggling effects.
I love zombie flicks so it was great to see a Dr Strange ‘walker’. But didn’t anyone else sort how much it looked like Kier Starmer?! Yes? No? Maybe it’s just me!
Cast & credits
Director: Sam Raimi. 2hr 6min/126 min. Marvel Studios. (12a).
Producer: Kevin Feige.
Writer: Michael Waldron.
Camera: John Mathieson.
Music: Danny Elfman.
Sets: Md Joni Hossain, Clint Wallace, Charles Wood.
Benedict Cumberbatch, Elizabeth Olsen, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Benedict Wong, Xochitl Gomez, Rachel McAdams, Jett Klyne, Julian Hilliard, Michael Stuhlbarg, Hayley Atwell, Anson Mount, Lashana Lynch, John Krasinski, Patrick Stewart, Charlize Theron, Bruce Campbell.