Dr Strange 2: A Marvel adventure that subverts all your expectations

“Who are you in this vast Multiverse, Mr Strange”

In 2016, we were introduced to a rather obscure Marvel character and what a trip that was. The first Dr Strange outing was trippy and fresh in it’s concept and approach. It set up the concept of the multiverse and made sure that a clear path was formed in the years to come.

Fast forward 6 years, this rather obscure character has now solidified his place in MCU lore and his second outing has its fair share of weaknesses.

Strengths

Elizabeth Olsen and Benedict Cumberbatch

Both these MCU titans shine throughout the movie. The character arc for both Wanda and Dr Strange are one of the highlights of the movie. However, Wanda had the benefit of her own series which helped set up her emotional journey and make us sympathise with her pain. In some way, the movie feels like a Wanda Vision continuation.

We see and feel the pain in the choices these characters make. Dr Strange has come a long way since the first movie and his maturity shines throughout. I can’t wait to see how Marvel handles these 2 characters moving forward.

Sam Raimi

He is the master of horror and boy does he deliver. For fans expecting a typical Marvel action adventure, beware. This is everything a Marvel movie is not and should not be. It’s a horror fest with plenty of jump scares that one would typically associate with a Raimi adventure.

It subverts all expectations and I love it.

Storyline…for the first 1 hour 30 minutes

The movie jumps out of the blocks from the get go and never lets up…at least up to the halfway mark. There are moments where I wished there was adequate room for the storyline to breathe but its bam bam boom all throughout. It’s not a weakness for sure.

Visual Effects

I am no expert in visual effects. Some comments from earlier viewers highlighted the campy visual effects. Yes, they are right but that does not make this bad. Not even close.

It’s fresh and interesting and something I’ve been longing since Spiderman 1 and 2. The colours pop and the characters look fantastic as ever. Marvel and most importantly, comic book movies have come a long way since the early 2000s but just like Venom, this is pure fun.

Don’t expect Oscar winning effects and for that it’s a breath of fresh air.

Action sequences

The movie has some amazing action sequences. The best takes place in the first 20 minutes with Dr Strange and Gargantos. The action between Wanda and Dr Strange are interesting and some of the action interplay between the cameos and Wanda in the middle are quite fun and intense.

Weaknesses

Cameos

This is a rather spoiler free review but let’s just say despite the amazing cameos, yes some of them will make you squeal with excitement, its underwhelming in how they were handled. I know they are called cameos for a reason but I wish they went down the No Way Home route in allowing some character development and screen time.

Having said that, I do think these ‘characters’ will have more to offer in the future of the MCU as compared to No Way Home, which relied on the last 20 years of Spiderman nostalgia.

Post credit scenes

Apart from a small cameo which would appease comic book fans of Dr Strange like me, both the mid credit and post credit scenes are the worst in MCU history in my opinion. I do wonder how bad the quality of these post credit scenes have become lately.

I guess most of us have the Disney Plus series to allow characters to develop and provide continuity. For those viewers that rely on just the cinematic experience, it provides nothing whatsoever.

The title

It does say Multiverse of Madness. There was not much madness apart from one scene where both Dr Strange and America Chavez traverse through the multiverse. That was just for 10-20 seconds. A better title would have been Dr Strange vs Scarlet Witch.

Storyline…last 20 minutes

Whilst the pacing was one of the highlights of the movie, it stops right after the halfway point. The last 20 minutes feel very rushed and disjointed. The choices the characters make and the way it ends, underwhelming to say the least. It’s obvious the movie was meant to be 3 hours but a lot was left off the table. Bad choice Kevin Feige and Marvel.

On the balance, I would say this movie has far more positive things going its way that would make any fan or moviegoer happy and satisfied. Yes, I am slightly underwhelmed by this Marvel entry but that just speaks of the high standards that the MCU has set for me personally. Even with that, I love how Sam Raimi has completely subverted my expectations and made his own Dr Strange movie rather than my version of what a Dr Strange movie should be. Massive respect for Marvel in allowing this creative freedom.

For the masses, this is a horror filled, campy yet fun action adventure that will make your 2 hours worth the time. Most importantly, I think the movie sets up the future of the MCU in a weird yet interesting way. Bring on Phase 5?

P.S: please don’t bring your kids thinking this is a fun adventure like Iron Man and/or Avengers. It’s a Sam Raimi horror adventure. I have warned you!

3.90/5 stars

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