New Doctor Strange movie met with mixed reactions


Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness premiered exclusively in theaters around the world on May 6, 2022

Jessica Henning, features editor

There is nothing like sitting in the theater with a crowd of strangers, waiting in anticipation as the lights dim, and the opening credits of a movie begin rolling. On May 6,  Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness was released in theaters around the world. I saw it on May 5, the day before its official release, because the odds of it getting spoiled at school were pretty high (I was kindly informed on multiple occasions that Iron Man died immediately after the release of Avengers: Endgame). The theater was absolutely packed, and when I bought seats the day before it was over 80% reserved.

Taking place after the events of WandaVision and Spider-Man: No Way Home,MoM evidently took place in and across the multiverse. The standard Marvel trailer seems to be lots of short snippets of action scenes that alone reveal nothing, but after I saw the movie it made a lot of sense how they cut the scenes to not give too much away. It was also interesting to see what things were edited over to appear different in the trailer so as to not spoil the plot.

Benedict Cumberbatch reprised his role as Stephen/Doctor Strange and Elizabeth Olson as Wanda Maximoff/The Scarlet Witch. Rising ‘star,’ Xochitl Gomez, plays young superhero America Gomez. Returning supporting characters include Dr. Christine Palmer, Wong and Baron Mordo.

I did enjoy the movie, although there were some questionable directing choices. MoM was directed by Sam Raimi who directed the Tobey Maguire Spider-Man trilogy. In my opinion, he made a lot of creative choices that didn’t always turn out so well. The musical/dueling scene was very ambitious, and the graphics (and music to accompany them) were beautiful, but it ended up falling flat. I really enjoyed the sheer chaos of America and Doctor Strange falling through all the dimensions. The graphics and CGI work there was stellar. I also enjoyed their stay on Earth-838 where they met characters that have appeared in MCU/adjacent works.

I do think that this ties in well with the ending of WandaVision with Wanda embracing her sheer power as the Scarlet Witch. Adding Wanda in as a powerful magic user, and as an adversary to Doctor Strange (and Wong), was understandable, after seeing her using the Darkhold in the WandaVision post-credit scene. The one thing I did not like about her character in MoM was how static of a character she was. She really only had one goal and one trait; neither of which was too good. Marvel being notorious for developing complex characters, and then letting them down rather disappointingly; Something they did exactly to Wanda.

I am definitely disappointed that this did not tie in to the ending of the Loki series, because Kang the Conqueror had a very good understanding and control over the multiverse, and was not present. Michael Waldron, MoM and Loki writer, said on Deadline’s Hero Nation podcast, that “if you had introduced Kang, as great as Jonathan Majors is, and as great as he is going to be playing that character, you would have risked the movie just getting maybe overstuffed.” I think this is utter buffoonery, because it makes no sense to leave a character out in fear of oversaturating the film with what? Too many powerful characters? I wish it was connected in even a small way because it was a show that centered around the entire concept of multiverse, and one reality.

Overall, I think it was a well done movie, but the plot was pretty rushed, while it also didn’t move along at a proper pace. I would recommend it but by no means go into the theater with very high expectations. It is not the best Marvel project, but also not the worst.

What does this mean for the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe? The new Marvel movies coming out this year are Thor: Love and Thunder (coming out July 8) and Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. There is also a full list of shows that will be exclusively premiering on Disney+. Ms. Marvel will come out shortly, on June 8. Also, this year we will also see She Hulk: Attorney at Law, coming out in late summer on Aug. 17.

Love and Thunder might deal in/around the multiverse, but  I am not so sure about what She-Hulk has to do with it. It will be interesting to see if this phase of new Marvel projects will solely focus around multiversal (variant) characters or stay in the  universe most other movies take place in. It has also been rumored that characters currently in the MCU (like Deadpool) to be added in. So, one thing is for sure, and that is that Marvel has a full catalog of characters to choose from, and will continue producing content, as long as fans continue to watch.