“Doctor Strange: In the Multiverse of Madness” is True to its Name

This mind-bending film from Sam Raimi breaks apart the Marvel universe

Daniel Stell, Managing Editor

Ever since the first film in 2016, Doctor Strange has become an iconic character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. With a stellar portrayal done by Benedict Cumberbatch and a usage of stunning visuals, Doctor Strange became an incredibly popular installment into the nearly billion-dollar franchise which is the MCU. Now, after nearly 6 years, the sequel is here. Doctor Strange: In the Multiverse of Madness is a mind-boggling thriller set in the ever-expanding connected multiverse that is the MCU now. 

The story focuses on Doctor Strange after the events of both Avengers: Endgame and Spider-Man: No Way Home, with the now ex-Sorcerer Supreme having to deal with the repercussions of his decisions and actions in those last two movies. The plot centers around Strange realizing the impact on other people his major sacrifices have had. As this is all happening, Doctor Strange must help America Chavez (Xochitl Gomez), a universe traveler who can punch star-shaped gateways into other universes, stop the Scarlet Witch, or Wanda (Elizabeth Olsen), from stealing America’s powers so that she can live a happy life. 

Overall, this film is incredibly fun with lots of action, impressive visuals, and hilarious moments. Of course, these are what Marvel movies and shows are all about but this movie, it takes it to a whole new level, utilizing its fast pacing to never make the audience miss a beat. Everything is important in this movie but it doesn’t make it hard for one to analyze the film as it progresses. 

However, the fast pacing can also be an issue for the film. Doctor Strange: In the Multiverse of Madness is the shortest of the films in Phase 4 so far, with its run time being 2 hours and 6 minutes. The fact that it is so short means there aren’t many times when the viewers can take a breather for a moment and digest what has happened so far. It is always moving to the next thing for the audience to look at. The film also has a vibe that many scenes and plot points were left out of the released version, including scenes that the trailers for the movie were implying to be major parts of the film. 

This movie also has many surprising cameos from all over the Marvel comics universe, and even past franchises other than the MCU. These cameos are fun to see but are cut short either to that cameo character dying shortly after being introduced or never showing up again after one scene. These cameos, though they should be entertaining, are now underwhelming and almost pointless after the fate of those characters are revealed. 

America Chavez is introduced to us in this film and is set up to be a key player in the Multiverse shenanigans Doctor Strange and/or other characters will get into. However, although her actress Xochitl Gomez does an amazing job, America is easily one of the weakest elements of the movie. She does not gain a lot of characterization and is mostly just running away from the bad guys and looking surprised until the very end of the movie. The script makes it seem as if she could have been just the main character of this film if the directors wanted to do that. This is a big issue as America Chavez is supposed to be one of the major representation characters in the MCU right now, being a Queer Latino superhero. Her character being undermined makes the representation feel very weak and almost forced. Although her character did not do well in this film, it would still be interesting to see America Chavez get her own Disney Plus series or film later down the line in Phase 5. She is being built up to be a major character in the Young Avengers that is being hinted at in the show Hawkeye

Overall, this new installment in the Doctor Strange series is very fun with lots of twists and turns that can both engage and exhaust its audience. Until next time, true believers!