Been flying around and this film was available to be seen on my way back home. I’m a fan of director Sam Raimi (Evil Dead, Army of Darkness, Darkman, etc.) though of late not such a huge fan of the MCU films out there (a shame, truly… while I wouldn’t say the films are “bad”, I find the scripts/storylines tend to blur into each other and carry fewer and fewer surprises. Still, I wish I could like them like others!).
Anyway, with Raimi involved, I was curious as to how this film would turn out.
It wasn’t bad at all!
Having said that, it felt like it could’a been so much more. Here’s the movie’s trailer though for those who haven’t seen the film and know nothing about it, it might be better not to see it and I’ll explain why in a second:
My general burnout toward the Marvel films goes back to the one-two punch release of Guardians of the Galaxy and the first Dr. Strange film, both of which I felt were lacking story-wise (in the case of GoTG, I genuinely don’t understand what others saw in that film… I really didn’t like it at all!).
As with all film, though, I tried to wipe any preconceptions from my mind and sat back and watched the film and, as I said, I generally enjoyed it.
The story focuses on America Chavez, a young latina who has the ability to move through the “multi-verse”. As the movie opens, she and an alternate universe Dr. Strange are running for their lives from someone/something that wants to take America’s power from her.
The end result of this chase has America appear in “our” Dr. Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) universe, where he is dealing with romantic heartbreak (his superheroics cause him to lose his love to another).
Once America shows up, though, that is set aside and Dr. Strange fights off the creatures who are following America through the universes and trying to steal her power… which will result, of course, in her death.
Dr. Strange and Wong rebuff the attack and hide America away. Then, Dr. Strange sets out to find the source of this danger to the young girl, and finds it to be coming from a surprising character in the MCU.
The above trailer, unfortunately, hints strongly as to who the “villain” of this piece is and, going into the film, I kinda knew already as well and I’m sad that I did.
That should have been kept as a surprise!
Having said that, this is where the film both triumphs and, alas, fails a bit as well. As the movie went along, I couldn’t help but feel that Sam Raimi was being throttled down and held back in terms of what he wanted to show. I mean, this is the guy who went all out with the Evil Dead films and the thought of seeing him showing the vast, unvarnished darkness of the villain in this piece… it could have been something.
If he had been allowed to do so!
Still, the film is far from a disappointment. It worked for me much more than the previous Dr. Strange film and other Marvel works I’ve seen of late.
I can’t say it changed my opinion of the MCU films in general, though. They remain generally disposable entertainment, things you don’t think much of once you’ve seen them, though thankfully all the smarmy “jokey” dialogue was also held back quite a bit.
All in all, I recommend Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. It’s a fine time killer even if one can’t help but wonder what might have been… had Sam Raimi been given a more free hand!