Doctor Strange 2 Review: Wildly Bold Yet Magically Delicious

In Marvel Studios’ Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, the MCU unlocks the Multiverse and pushes its boundaries further than ever before. Journey into the unknown with Doctor Strange, who, with the help of mystical allies both old and new, traverses the mind-bending and dangerous alternate realities of the Multiverse to confront a mysterious new adversary. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness stars Benedict Cumberbatch, Elizabeth Olsen, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Benedict Wong, Xochitl Gomez, Michael Stühlbarg, and Rachel McAdams.

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness Trailer:

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness Video Review:

 

The Good:

As expected with a Doctor Strange film, the visuals were on point from beginning to end. There are plenty of shiny cool things to dazzle your eyeballs when magic is flying left and right. These were best highlighted in the various battles in the film. It was great to see this film tap deeper into the Marvel lore of magic. However, the most satisfactory visuals were in the horror scenes. Director Sam Raimi perfectly executed the right amount of jump scares and eerie situations that give you a nice startle from time to time. In addition, the cinematography and editing were effective in being unpredictable for the most part. Best of all, Raimi doesn’t shy away when things get pretty violent.

I really appreciated how Doctor Strange 2 didn’t mind taking some bold risks with the plot. Thanks to the multiverse, anything is possible. That created a vast sandbox for the story to exercise some creative twists and turns. There are some great easter eggs for comic book fans to nerd out on, and this story certainly did an excellent job of pushing the MCU to its limit. At the center of it all, the themes are clearly defined which helped shape the characters. I loved how they dealt with the hypocrisy of the decisions made between Wanda and Doctor Strange. Both characters had to reconcile with their past and future decision-making which made their stories a bit more fascinating.

Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda Maximoff in Marvel Studios’ DOCTOR STRANGE IN THE MULTIVERSE OF MADNESS. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. ©Marvel Studios 2022. All Rights Reserved.

A huge reason why the horror in Doctor Strange 2 works so well is thanks to Elizabeth Olsen’s portrayal of Wanda. Wanda was a legit witch-witch in more ways than one. Olsen gave an exceptional performance as the Scarlet Witch, especially given the complexity of her character’s struggles. The fantastic thing is that she will scare you when she wants to be scary. When she feels her pain, you empathize right along with her. It’s fair to say that she pretty much steals the movie. She certainly had the most memorable scenes. She would certainly be worthy of Best Supporting Actress award considerations.

Benedict Cumberbatch as Dr. Stephen Strange in Marvel Studios’ DOCTOR STRANGE IN THE MULTIVERSE OF MADNESS. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. ©Marvel Studios 2022. All Rights Reserved.

Benedict Cumberbatch had an exceptional performance as Doctor Strange and seamlessly shifted into different roles whenever needed. You totally believe his acting when a variant Doctor Strange popped up, and their interactions were fun to watch. Alongside Cumberbatch was Xochitl Gomez, who played a delightful America Chavez. Gomez brought a level of charm, humor, and heart to the role that made her character very likable.

Benedict Cumberbatch as Dr. Stephen Strange and Xochitl Gomez as America Chavez in Marvel Studios’ DOCTOR STRANGE IN THE MULTIVERSE OF MADNESS. Photo by Jay Maidment. ©Marvel Studios 2022. All Rights Reserved.

Last but not least, the much-anticipated cameos for Doctor Strange 2 were certainly entertaining. There’s one, in particular, that had me screaming in the theater for joy, and likely the same reaction will be shared by other MCU fans too. The scene with said cameos also showcased some exhilarating action and sensational moments that will keep you on the edge of your seat.

The Bad:

One minor issue with Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness was the writing during the Illuminati scene. (I only mention this because it’s been heavily advertised.) My problem was that some of the reasons the powerful group came up with seemed utterly ridiculous while facing a more imposing threat. For example, it would be as if someone worrying about an eviction notice on their home. Meanwhile, the house is literally on fire. Obviously, you’d put more focus on the latter. Ultimately, their decision-making felt like a thin plot device just to have certain situations forcefully play out.

Chiwetel Ejiofor as Mordo in Marvel Studios’ DOCTOR STRANGE IN THE MULTIVERSE OF MADNESS. Photo by Jay Maidment. ©Marvel Studios 2022. All Rights Reserved.

The biggest issue with Doctor Strange 2 is Marvel’s own marketing. While it’s true that leaks are problematic and not the studio’s fault, Marvel is fully responsible for what they promote. In my opinion, they robbed fans of the biggest potential surprise element by showcasing Professor X in the trailers and such. Going into the film, the cameos do a tremendous job of building up the hype as each new character is revealed. However, the movie’s setup highlighted Professor X as the most significant reveal. Except it’s not the massive shocker the film wanted it to be because he was already so heavily promoted in trailers and online. For example, with Spider-Man: No Way Home, it was heavily suspected and rumored that we would get three Spider-Man characters. Although, it was never shown how or when they would appear. So regardless of what audiences knew, heard, or anticipated, the film was free to still amaze viewers when the reveal happened. However, following the other cameos, Professor X’s eventual appearance was a letdown. Had Marvel kept that in their back pocket, it would’ve melted minds regardless of any rumors. As a result, the movie-going experience was unnecessarily lessened.

The Verdict:

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness was a thrilling adventure of wild imagination that became next-level MCU. This was the MCU’s first true horror film, and Sam Raimi left his definitive stamp on it. However, it should be noted that this film’s horror elements are not recommended for small children. If you need a point of reference, ask yourself if your kid would be ok watching The Ring or Insidious. So parents, please be advised.

As for preparation for this film, I would recommend at the very least watching the season of WandaVision. That would be essential watching for Doctor Strange 2. (You can watch a recap below.) If you want the full experience, you’ll want to see Doctor Strange (2016), Avengers: Infinity War, Avengers: Endgame, WandaVision on Disney+, and What If…? on Disney +.

(L-R): Rachel McAdams as Dr. Christine Palmer, Benedict Cumberbatch as Dr. Stephen Strange, and Xochitl Gomez as America Chavez in Marvel Studios’ DOCTOR STRANGE IN THE MULTIVERSE OF MADNESS. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. ©Marvel Studios 2022. All Rights Reserved.

Given what I mentioned about the cameos in this film, I’d highly recommend to temper expectations on who will show up. There are certainly some exciting cameos, but I wouldn’t say that the majority of them are mind-blowing. They’re entertaining, but again, had Marvel kept the Professor X surprise under wraps, the entire Internet would’ve broken. I also say this keeping general audiences in mind because more comic book savvy viewers will appreciate the cameos more than others. Finally, stay tuned for two post-credit scenes. The first one may go over some non-comic book readers’ heads, and the second is just for fun. Nevertheless, be sure to get your tickets to see Doctor Strange In the Multiverse of Madness as soon as possible.

WandaVision Recap (Prep for Doctor Strange 2)

Director: Sam Raimi
Writer(s): Michael Waldron
Stars: Benedict Cumberbatch, Elizabeth Olsen, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Benedict Wong, Xochitl Gomez, with Michael Stühlbarg, and Rachel McAdams
Doctor Strange In The Multiverse of Madness hits theaters May 6, 2022. Be sure to follow E-Man’s Movie Reviews on Facebook, Subscribe on YouTube, or follow me on Twitter/IG @EmansReviews for even more movie news and reviews!

 

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Overall
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  • Acting - 8/10
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  • Cinematography/Visual Effects - 8/10
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  • Plot/Screenplay - 7/10
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  • Setting/Theme - 8/10
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  • Watchability - 10/10
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  • Rewatchability - 10/10
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About Emmanuel "E-Man" Noisette

Emmanuel is a Chicago film critic who founded Eman's Movie Reviews. He freelances as a writer and video content creator for sites such as MovieTickets.com. Be sure to join the other 33K+ fans on his Facebook Fan Page for even more movie opinions and fun. Feel free to contact him with any professional inquiries: [email protected]

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