Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is expectedly entertaining, yet fails to add anything new to an increasingly bloated franchise

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By Rachel Bronnert, First Year, English Literature

Finally, after a six year wait, Dr Strange and the Multiverse of Madness reached our cinemas last week after three delays due to COVID. Benedict Cumberbatch once again fills the shoes of Steven Strange, but now with far more at stake, and Elizabeth Olsen, much to fans' delight, returns to play the antagonist and continue her narrative from the hit series WandaVision (2021).

Immediately the film triumphed at international box office, raking in $500 million worldwide over its first week. However, despite financial success, the film has received varying reviews from fans and critics alike. It raises the question: has Marvel already enjoyed its peak, or is the acclaimed superhero genre still flourishing in its golden era?

Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda / Courtesy of IMDB

The film is certainly jam packed, plunging us straight in the middle of the action exploring, Steven’s dream and introducing us to a new character, multi-verse traveller America Chavez (Gomez). We follow Strange and Chavez traversing through the manic Multi Verse in an attempt to escape the clutches of a deranged, heartbroken Wanda. However, they are captured and held hostage by the Illuminati till Wanda again catches up with them. In their search for the Book of Vishanti, a counter to the Dark Hold, all the drama builds to a climax, in a tense and emotional confrontation.

Courtesy of IMDB

The special effects were certainly impressive with stunning scenes of New York and electrifying visuals. At times, the plot felt somewhat arbitrary and lacked cohesion as it predominantly jumped from action scene to fight continually. However, Olsen’s portrayal of a broken mother’s descent into despair and obsession with reuniting with her children was flawless and compelling. The film cleverly developed and explored her character more deeply, highlighting a new ruthless side to her, unseen before. Yet, this left little room to explore changes in Strange himself, although we do see him come to terms with losing his ex-fiancé Christine.

The question is, being now the 28th film set in the Marvel cinematic universe, did Dr Strange and the Multiverse of Madness bring anything new to the table? Without question it fulfilled what Marvel fans know and desire; that being lovable familiar characters, stirring action and iconic lines to evoke the classic comedy feel. The sequel also cleverly played on elements of the horror genre, combining both action and horror to evoke a more unique tone.

Courtesy of IMDB

However, at times it did feel fairly predictable, as it repeats the long-established formula of a typical Marvel film and largely didn’t stray from this, other than with the inclusion of horror tropes.

As the Marvel cinematic universe creeps closer to their 30th motion-picture, one can’t help but wonder how much more life they have left in them? But future thinking aside, if you’re looking for an enjoyable, easy watch, this is certainly the film for you.

Featured Image: IMDB


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