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Review of ‘Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness’

May 14, 2022 Mario Bautista 170 views

Doctor1THE multiverse is a concept that beyond our own observable universe, there are other universes that exist in different planes. This has been explored before in “Spiderman in the Spiderverse”, the first “Doctor Strange” movie, “Spiderman: No Way Home” and now, it’s even included in the title of “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness”.

The most important character in this new movie is a Latina girl named America Chavez (Xochitl Gomez), who has the power to transport herself through the various universes. She says she has already been to 72 of them.

In the opening scene, she and Doctor Strange is being pursued by a demon who wants to get the power of America. Strange is killed but his body travels with America to another universe called Earth 616 where its own version of Strange is attending the wedding of the girlfriend he gave up for sacrifice, Christine (Rachel McAdams).

Strange has to leave the wedding when he sees a monstrous octopus creature running after America, causing so much destruction in the streets. Strange gets to kill it with the help of his friend (Benedict Wong.)

Strange then asks the help of Wanda Maximoff or Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen), but quickly realizes she’s the one who is after the power of America to help reunite her with her children Billy and Tommy (introduced in the TV series “WandaVision”) in their own universe.

Of course, Strange won’t surrender America and so a big fight between him and Wanda follows. In the process, Strange and Chavez encounter Karl Mordo (Chiwetel Ejiofor), Sorcerer Supreme of another universe and they face the group called the Illuminati.

The Illuminati includes characters and superheroes from other Marvel movies, like Patrick Stewart as Charles Xavier aka Professor X from “X-Men”, John Krasinski as Mister Fantastic from “Fantastic Four”, Lashana Lynch (the new 007 in “No Time to Die”) as Captain Marvel, Hayley Atwell as Captain Carter, and Anson Mount as Black Bolt from the TV series “Inhumans”. Even Thanos is mentioned!

Yes, nagkahalo-halo na po sila and, honestly, at this point, we are starting to find all the on-screen proceedings quite ridiculous. Soon, we also see a zombie version of Dr. Strange who is brought back from the dead. Rachel McAdams as Dr. Christine Palmer later shows up again as a doctor working with the Illuminati.

Strange develops a third eye right on the middle of his forehead and in end credits preview, we see him using this when approached by a sorceress who asks for his help. This is played by Charlize Theron in a cameo and an indication that Dr. Strange will surely return.

Bruce Campbell (a resident actor in Director Sam Raimi’s “Evil Dead” franchise) also pops up in a guest role as the vendor in a street food stall called Pizza Poppa. He must be such a good friend of Raimi as the movie’s final shot after all the final credits actually ends with him.

The best thing in the movie is Benedict Cumberbatch as Strange. His imposing screen presence alone is enough to keep you interested despite all the ludicrous elements in the movie. Here, he gets to play all the three alternate versions of Strange, including the decaying zombie version.

We just wish they got another actress in the role of America Chavez. Xochitl Gomez just doesn’t have any charisma or star quality to make her stand out. With her name alone, you know she has a little chance of hitting it big in Hollywood as Xochitl is hard to remember. We don’t even know how to pronounce it.

Sam Raimi’s visual flair that was evident in the very first three “Spider-Man” movies he did is very much present here. It also has some creatively conceived and mounted action set pieces, like that one using musical notes as weapons. But even that is not enough to compensate for the preposterous concept of a psychotic but shallow super villain who is obsessed with finding two sons that are not really hers.

And honestly, we’re now quite tired of all these CGI-laden superhero movies where characters can live and die and live again. Truth is, the spell they used to cast has long gone out from us. We were so bored with “Eternals” and now, also with this one.

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