Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is the latest cinematic installment from Marvel Studios. Sam Raimi returns to the franchise as director with Michael Waldron providing the script. Benedict Cumberbatch suits up as Dr. Strange. Elizabeth Olson stirs up some magical mayhem as the Scarlet Witch. Chiwetel Ejiofor, Benedict Wong, Rachel McAdams, and Xochitl Gomez are also included in the cast along with a few surprise familiar faces from the Marvel universe.
Dr. Stephen Strange, the one time brilliant neurosurgeon, who has settled into his most recent role as a Master of the Mystic Arts and has been allied with the Avengers, finds himself on his most bizarre journey after rescuing a young girl with an uncontrolled power of creating portals into other universes. On the trail of the girl is Wanda Maximoff, who is also known as the Scarlet Witch. She has apparently lost a couple of children and wants to be reunited with them in another universe, but she wants to rely some dangerous mystical artefacts to do so. Dr. Strange has to rely on different versions of old friends and a couple of adversaries to help. He also has to search out other versions of himself so he can correct the collision course of various realities.
First of all, as expected, the visual effects were very well crafted. The performances were solid enough, but this thing just felt overstuffed in some ways. There have been longer films in this franchise, but this one felt like one of the longest. To be fair, Dr. Strange was not one of those comic book characters I followed terrible closely in my youth. It could be that this confusing, madcap, universe hopping is par for the course with this guy, but it may not translate to the silver screen all that well in spite of the recent achievements in visual effects creation. Cumberbatch is just charismatic enough to keep me from getting too frustrated here. Seeing some of the cameos was kind of fun. Yeah, this thing was a bit of a jumble, but I was still somewhat heartened by the promise of Dr. Strange returning.
Raimi is a talented director for the most part. I am glad that he has returned to Marvel Studios for this one. This film probably would have had more cracks if someone else was in the director’s chair.
This is another cinematic experience that manages to not be a total disaster but still falls short of a home run for the franchise.