Tag Archives: Doctor Strange

Evil Strange

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

by Brandon Thomas

Welcome back, Sam Raimi. 

The madcap director of the Evil Dead series, Darkman and the Tobey Maguire Spider-Man films, makes a triumphant return to the big screen with Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

Dr. Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) has battled other sorcerers, alien threats and even villains from alternate realities. All of them pale in comparison to the dark entity chasing young America Chavez (Xochil Gomez) across dimensions. As Strange fights to protect the young girl, he finds that the line between good and evil can easily be blurred – and sometimes even compromised by the best of intentions. 

The jump in quality between the first Doctor Strange film and Multiverse of Madness is more of a leap than a step. The first film sets it up well enough, but like many of the Marvel origin stories, it takes a while to get to the good stuff. Raimi’s film has no such issues. Cumberbatch is more comfortable in the role now, having appeared in two Avengers films and Spider-Man: No Way Home. Despite having a packed to the gills story, there’s still a lot of meaty character work for Cumberbatch to latch onto. 

Speaking of the story, yes this is another Marvel film with lots of tie-in to movies that came before and movies that will come after. Like the more successful Marvel Cinematic Universe endeavors, Multiverse of Madness delicately threads the needle and never feels too chaotic or unfocused. Raimi fought that battle and lost once before with Spider-Man 3.

There are plenty of surprises in the film. The marketing team behind the trailers should be commended for spoiling next to nothing – not even the main villain. Surprises are a big selling point for these MCU movies, and Multiverse has plenty of them up its sleeve.

Multiverse of Madness is Raimi firing on all cylinders. The movie absolutely crackles with the filmmaker’s energy and signature style. I nearly jumped out of my seat in delight when a couple shots of doors slamming in dutch angles appeared on screen. Few directors attack action sequences with the inventiveness and fun that Raimi does. You can feel the director’s personal flourishes coming through in those scenes instead of pre-visualized dreck from VFX artists in Vancouver.  

The film also leans into horror. Like his skill with action, horror carnage is a specialty of Raimi’s. Witches, demons and undead sorcerers pop up, and Raimi delights in tossing them at Cumberbatch’s Strange. I doubt the director tortured Cumberbatch like his friend Bruce Campbell in the Evil Dead films but it is fun to speculate. 

By embracing the character’s more horror-centric roots, and letting director Sam Raimi cut loose, Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness offers up one of the most exciting – and different – films in the MCU so far. 

Into the Mystic

Doctor Strange

by George Wolf

What if I told you…the Chosen One didn’t take the blue pill or the red pill, he took the brown acid, and things got mighty trippy?

Alternate realities, a school for sorcery, supernatural powers hiding seductive dark sides. We’ve seen these themes before, but Doctor Strange presents them with such eye-popping, mind-bending style, the Marvel Comics Universe has a brand new A-lister.

This is one that absolutely rewards the investment in a 3D/IMAX viewing, but beyond all the technical wizardry, the film’s superpower is refreshingly human – a cast with the talent to make elevating some cheesy dialog seem effortless.

Equal parts Jobs and Hawking, Dr. Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) is a brilliant neurosurgeon stuck in a broken body from a nasty car crash. When medical science can’t restore the dexterity of his hands to operating room standards, he abandons a potential love (Rachel McAdams) to seek out mystical healing in Nepal, finding himself under the tutelage of The Ancient One (Tilda Swinton) and Master Mordo (Chiwetel Ejiofor).

Cumberbatch? Chiwetel? McAdams? Tilda? Talk about your superfriends.

The doctor studies hard and acquires sweet new astral skills – including levitation, Holmes – when a dormant cloak grants him the power of flight and Strange’s place as a new Master is assured. Just in time, too, as the evil Kaecilius (Mads Mikkelson, earning more gold stars for the casting director) and his followers are closing in on a plan to unleash the Dark Dimension and achieve immortality.

Director/co-writer Scott Derrickson (Sinister, Deliver Us from Evil) makes spellbinding use of the spectacular visual effects and, despite early moments in Strange’s transformation that seem a tad rushed, settles into a steady pace that renders this origin story one of the MCU’s most satisfying. Similarly, the script is able to balance a flirtation with excess and unsure transitions with some commendably meatier issues, such as grappling with the question of “when moral bills come due.”

But seriously, those visuals.

Go with the glasses and the biggest screen you can conjure up.