Doctor Strange 2: multiverse action driven by strong characters and 80s horror tropes
ACTION FILM REVIEW Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness Run time: 2h 6mins Who: Benedict Cumberbatch, Elizabeth Olsen, Benedict Wong, Chiwetel Ejiofor Where, when: In cinemas now Rating: 4/5 stars
Marvel Cinematic Universe’s most recent movie, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, is for both diehard fans of the franchise, and movie-goers looking for an enjoyable two hours of action.
It combines classic MCU with throwback superhero sequel arcs and 80s horror tropes.
It’s been six years since the last Doctor Strange movie release, a long gap that left fans anxiously waiting for the next instalment.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness continues the journey of Dr Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) as he continues his research on the Time Stone following the events of Avengers: Endgame. Strange is interrupted as his old friend-turned-enemy shows up, foiling his plans and causing him “to unleash an unspeakable evil”.
Strange traverses the multiverse to protect America Chavez (Xochitl Gomez) from Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen). Maximoff reveals her true identity as Scarlet Witch, pursuing Chavez through the multiverse to steal her power.
Maximoff believes that mastering Chavez’s abilities will enable her to reunite with Billy (Julian Hilliard) and Tommy (Jett Klyne), the children she raised in WandaVision.
Chavez and Strange are accidentally transported to an alternate earth, while Maximoff uses the Darkhold, a book filled with evil magic to track the protagonists down.
The characters are central. The last time we saw Dr Stephen Strange, he was casually rearranging the fabric of reality so that Peter Parker (Tom Holland) could enjoy a peaceful life at the end of Spider-Man: No Way Home.
Xochitl Gomez’s America Chavez, Benedict Wong’s Wong, and Benedict Cumberbatch’s Stephen Strange unite. Credit: Marvel Studios
However, his spell unintentionally ushered in a new era of Marvel blockbusters centred on parallel universes colliding, and this led to the opening ofDoctor Strange 2, where Strange and Chavez are chased by demons.
Strange’s character arc throughout recent MCU movies has been perfectly displayed.
Before Maximoff finds out the truth, she is in disbelief about what happened. Then she doubles down rather than facing just how messed up her actions have been.
Her role is important, both as a plot twist and the fact she’s a villain. The Darkhold and MCU have done a fantastic job in developing a different route for characters like her.
Chavez, a new character in MCU, adds a bright spark to the film. She is younger in the film compared to the Marvel comics, and possesses a fierce brashness. She goes toe-to-toe with established characters Dr Strange and Maximoff, which is a credit to the actress’s performance.
The film, from director Sam Raimi, pays homage to classic horror movies from the 80s and it should appeal to fans of that genre.
It would be better to watch Spider-Man: No Way Home, Avengers: Endgame and the original Doctor Strange first so you understand the context this film operates in.