Movie Review: Dr. Strange, Multiverse, Madness oh my!

I think Marvel is going to run out of descriptor words eventually



I had fun, and that is what really matters.

CARSON HOLLAND, Evergreen columnist

I can, without a doubt in my mind, say that “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” is certainly a movie.

Anything beyond that I will put the obligatory SPOILER so that we can get into the meat of the movie to determine whether or not it was worth your time either going to see it or in hindsight. If you do intend to see it, here is another point where you can stop reading and come back to the review.

Do you enjoy a fleshed-out cinematic experience that addresses other movies in the series? Do you enjoy knowing what is happening in the movie? Do you have an irrational fear of children “singing” about ice cream?

“Doctor Strange” is not the movie for you if you answered yes to any of those questions.

Before we dissect the movie, it is important to note that I actually enjoyed the movie and found it entertaining. Part of this was coming into the movie not expecting much and being delivered slightly more.

The movie seems to be a balancing scale, never really knowing which way to go. Some cinematic shots are gorgeous while others seem like they were filmed after drinking three Red Bulls. Similarly, the writing had some great moments that were dashed by cheesy one-liners.

The fight scenes are very entertaining with minimal jump cuts that Marvel is known for at this point. That being said, the movie underlines the problem that I have with anything featuring Wanda or the titular Dr. Strange. Because both use some vague combination of magic, viewers never really get an idea of their power, or even what is really happening. The action looks great, but beyond the movie shoving it down my throat I had a difficult time saying who was winning.

One thing that the movie does very well is providing some great fan-service cameos. Professor X, Black Bolt and John Krasinski’s Richard Reed were all welcome additions to the movie, even though their stay was short (or in Reed’s case, elongated).

If nothing else, I hoped there would have been more time with those characters, but at the very least their existence opens the possibility for Marvel to do more with their storylines later.

The movie does not address the paradox that I have found myself in watching Marvel movies recently. Each movie is filled with so many references from the shows, that audiences need to consume nearly 100 hours of Marvel media to understand everything being referenced. An amazing business tactic, but one that makes each movie feel like a bad continuation of the others rather than telling their own stories.

At the very same time that is happening, these movies tend to ignore large events from other movies or shows. (This is another SPOILER tag for a few other Marvel pieces of media, but if you have read this far, I feel safe to assume most of you are consumers of the whole deal.) “Eternals” showing a celestial statue halfway out of the planet or having one visit? Never mentioned. Moon Knight messing with the literal stars? Do not worry about it.

“Doctor Strange” tries very hard to tell its own story, and out of the recent movies, I believe it does a good job without using the crutch of elongated storytelling. Could be better, but very much could be worse! I have learned to level my expectations when going to a Marvel movie.

Again, I feel it appropriate to say that I enjoyed the movie. I was not expecting award-winning writing or cinematography, and from what was presented, I had fun, and that is really all that matters. Solid performances from the cast and a mostly self-contained story leaves little to be desired beyond my nitpicking.

Overall, I would rank “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” a solid 7.9 thumbs-up out of 11. A fun movie with a good cast with some good action, not to mention the horror movie moments sprinkled in there.