Dr. Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness

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Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness (2022) is the latest and probably the best of Disney’s MCU related projects. But it’s also a deeply flawed film. Sam Raimi, a master of termite art, seems to have directed a Dr. Strange movie that didn’t exist on the written page. This proves again that producer Kevin Feige is, even for his own projects at Disney, contemporary cinema’s greatest enemy.

At this point there’s no correcting the terrible missteps in how Dr. Strange has been adapted to the screen. Gone is the genuine flavor of mysticism and spirituality, the Eastern philosophies, and traditional representations of magic. This Dr. Strange isn’t a powerful sorcerer, he isn’t a spiritual being, he doesn’t incant spells or curses and he doesn’t seem at all aware of what his purpose is. The comics have served as more of a springboard for Feige to imagine his own character that just happens to share a name with one of Marvel’s best intellectual properties.

Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness finally includes Clea, gives a cameo to the Living Tribunal, and a small appearance to the beloved Rintrah. With the mechanics of the character’s world being non-existent in the movies, this bit of attempted fan service is more frustrating than anything else (I won’t even get into how much the film gets wrong with Chthon). As a film for comic geeks Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness only compounds the infidelity and blatant disregard that Feige has for the character and his world.

The film draws on some classic storylines for inspiration (issues 10 through 13 of Steve Englehart’s run) but gets bogged down in trying to connect the sorcerer supreme to the wider MCU. Similarly, Raimi is committed to creating computer generated spectacles and set pieces that uniquely mimic the art of Dr. Strange comics whilst Feige attempts to rein the auteur into the “house style” of bland digital muck. Unlike most filmmakers Disney has employed in their bid for Marvel cinematic supremacy, Raimi is an auteur and an experienced hand at putting his own mark on a major studio property. What is even more singular about Raimi’s work on this film is that he manages to convey a very real affection for a character that even star Benedict Cumberbatch seems disinterested in.

The Marvel movies are the cinematic equivalent of shit. So being the best piece of shit isn’t saying very much, but it is always preferable. Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness is the gentrified version of Everything Everywhere All at Once (2022). See it to hate it if you like Dr. Strange or just see it to punish yourself.