Review: “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” falls short

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By Vianney Morales

The latest blockbuster from Marvel Studios “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” released in theaters on May 6.  

The film is meant to be a direct continuation of the events audiences witnessed in the record breaking “Spider-Man: No Way Home” and the stellar Disney Plus series “WandaVision.” 

The film centers on Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) and a new multiverse traveling hero America Chavez (Xochitl Gomez) trying to conquer the multiverse’s biggest threat and preserve reality as they know it.

Naturally, the high stakes and introduction of the multiverse led audiences to set high expectations for the film. 

When it came to her performance, Elizabeth Olsen exceeded my expectations. Following her devastating performance as Wanda Maximoff in the hit Disney Plus series “WandaVision,” Olsen steals the show and surprises fans with a new side to her beloved character. 

Although some fans were left stunned by the direction of the character’s story, “WandaVision” perfectly set up Wanda’s arc.

It’s obvious that Olsen cares deeply for Wanda’s story and did the utmost justice to her portrayal of Wanda. 

Most notably, the film does a decent job of straying from the highly critiqued “Marvel formula.” 

Director Sam Raimi provides a fresh lens for the Marvel Cinematic Universe by introducing horror elements leaving some viewers wondering if the film would better fit an R-rating. There were a handful of hasty gruesome deaths and in one scene in particular, Wanda enters a mirror dimension and her body contorts like a zombie’s.

Though I wouldn’t go as far to say the film requires an R-rating, I believe the film surprisingly incorporates horror well. 

In terms of the overall vision, “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” certainly has it. Unfortunately, the execution in some areas was lacking. 

Most notably, the writing was hard to enjoy. 

Although this film thankfully cuts down on comedy, there’s some awkward dialogue. 

There’s some Spanish dialogue spoken by America Chavez that didn’t come off as fluid. Chavez even uses Mexican slang, which might be deemed as a lighthearted incorporation of Mexican representation until you remember her character is meant to be Puerto Rican. 

There’s another moment in particular when a new interaction of a beloved character says an iconic catchphrase that didn’t quite fit followed by a brief pause, almost as if the writers were expecting audiences to cheer. 

It increasingly became clear that the writers focused on providing fan service over a story that focuses on established characters and building upon their stories.  

Not only does this lead to confusion among general audiences, it makes many subplots from previous Marvel shows and movies difficult to care for. 

In the case of this film, specifically, it didn’t feel that there was notable development from the film’s protagonist, Doctor Strange.

Without giving too much away, I found that the protagonist’s writing paled in comparison to the villain. 

The film doesn’t quite deliver when it comes to the visuals. There were some transitions I didn’t particularly enjoy and I thought the vision for the CGI was too ambitious to bring to reality. 

Overall, the film focused too much on catering to a specific genre of Marvel fans which made for an underwhelming blockbuster for the general audience. 

It felt like a big jump from focusing on one cinematic universe to suddenly introducing multiple other universes without having time to catch my breath. 

That’s not to say the film was terrible, but its weaknesses were most prominent within the writing. 

Hopefully, Marvel is able to deliver with their next blockbuster.

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