“Dr. Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” is the second solo outing for Marvel’s most beloved Sorcerer Supreme. When a multi-dimensional traveler shows up in New York being changed by demons, Dr. Strange and Wong must embark on a mission to prevent this great power from falling into the wrong hands.
Pro – It’s Marvel
One would be forgiven for not realizing it’s been six years since Benedict Cumberbatch’s Dr. Strange had his last film come out. Having played a prominent role in three other Marvel movies since then, the good doctor has had no shortage of screen time for fans. In this film, he’s back to headlining. “Dr. Strange and the Multiverse of Madness” is a full-on Marvel film, replete with amazing visuals, exciting set-pieces, humor, and of course Easter eggs galore. At this point, it is very easy to bank on a major Marvel release delivering a fun and engaging time at the theater, and that is the case here. This film is exciting, fun, and hits all the marks the fans are hoping to see. The group of actors in this franchise are actually some of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s (MCU) finest, and the depth of skill shown far exceeds the expectations for a movie with flying capes, magic spells, and an octopus monster.
Con – Inside Baseball
Much to the delight of many fans of the Marvel Universe, Disney has spent the last 18 months expanding the MCU through a slate of TV shows on it’s premium streaming service, Disney+. Shows like “Wandavision,” “Falcon & Winter Soldier,” and “Loki” have given fans more content to enjoy between big movie releases and allowed for a further deepening of the MCU. This is great for big fans willing to fork out the money for Disney+ each month. That said, for anyone without the time or access to have watched these TV shows, it’s going to negatively impact their enjoyment of the movie. There certainly are little nuggets buried here and there that are inconsequential to the plot but just desserts for the enthusiasts. That’s no problem. Unfortunately, there are massive plot points in “Dr. Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” that hinge on this other content from a different, premium platform, and a few lines of exposition in the middle of a chaotic battle scene don’t fix that. Some will love it, but the audience should be aware there’s homework.
Con – It’s weird
Yes, the title character is literally called “Dr. Strange” but it has to be said that this is the weirdest Marvel movie by a stretch. There’s a certain universal appeal to Captain America punching Hydra Nazi’s in the face or Iron Man flying through the air launching energy blasts at aliens that resonates with a wide audience. This film jettisons much of its wide appeal, and while big fans of Marvel in general and Dr. Strange in particular will love this, it’s likely to send some movie goers home scratching their head in disappointment. Further, this is by far the darkest of the Marvel movies to this point. At times, it feels like a bloodless horror film rather than a superhero film.
“Dr. Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” is a well-made, fun film. That said, maximum enjoyment will be had by those that love the character and/or are up-to-date on all the MCU movies and TV shows. Casual fans and young viewers should think twice about this film, as it may not offer what they expect. Teleport over the Fridley Palms Theatre today and check it out.