‘Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness’ movie review: Surrender to the madness and Sam Raimi’s giddy sense of fun

Benedict Cumberbatch makes for an elegant superhero, while Elizabeth Olsen’s Wanda is sympathetic and terrifying by turns in the 126 minutes of mind-bending entertainment that is ‘Doctor Strange 2’

May 06, 2022 04:41 pm | Updated 05:52 pm IST

A still from ‘Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness’

A still from ‘Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness’

If you cannot get Jodie Foster to be your mum, you could hope for Wanda (Elizabeth Olsen), who would lay waste multiple universes for her sons’ sake. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, the sequel to 2016’s Doctor Strange and the 28th film in the MCU, brings Sam Raimi’s giddy sense of fun as it swings from universe to universe, reminiscent of Raimi’s Spider-Man films with Tobey Maguire. Also, that zombie version of Dr Strange and that huge, tentacled eye brought back all the joy of his Evil Dead films.

Dr Strange, (Benedict Cumberbatch) neurosurgeon and Master of the Mystic Arts has a strange dream in which he and a teenager, America Chavez (Xochitl Gomez), are being chased by a demon as they race to get to the Book of Vishanti before the scary demon does. Strange wakes up and heads to former lover, Christine Palmer’s (Rachel McAdams) wedding. 

There is a disturbance at the wedding and the aforementioned giant octopus eye creature is destroying the city block by block pursuing America. Strange and Sorcerer Supreme, Wong, (Benedict Wong) save America. 

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness
Director: Sam Raimi
Cast: Benedict Cumberbatch, Elizabeth Olsen, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Benedict Wong, Xochitl Gomez, Michael Stuhlbarg, Rachel McAdams 
Story line: Doctor Strange has to protect a teenager who can travel through universes from the Scarlet Witch
Run time: 126 minutes  

Recognising runes on the demons, Strange goes to consult with Wanda and everything goes cheerfully to hell. Kamar-Taj is attacked as are various universes and realities, including one in which Strange is a dead hero, and another where he is a zombie, and still another where he is corrupted by Darkhold like Wanda. There is also an universe where Mordo (Chiwetel Ejiofor) is the Sorcerer Supreme and Professor X (Patrick Stewart) is the leader of the Illuminati. 

Once you surrender to the multiverse of madness, you can enjoy the trip. Are dreams our excursions into different realities? The thought of Wong running naked from a clown in some reality boggles the mind. The action is inspired — the coagulating music notes were a delicious brain fizz. Cumberbatch makes for an elegant superhero even if he uses magic to knot his tie, while Olsen’s Wanda is sympathetic and terrifying by turns.

Visually-arresting, especially the sequence as Strange and America move through realities including one comprising primary colours and another of jigsaw pieces, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness zips through its 126-minute running time. It does all a movie is supposed to do; provide mind-bending entertainment, which is immediately wiped out by the time the end credit sequence comes up, and you tell yourself, oh yes, Dr Strange did say that the effects would wear off...

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is currently running in theatres 

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