Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness pushes the boundaries of the MCU

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness poster from Marvels official website.

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness poster from Marvel’s official website.

The newest film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe repeatedly tests the limits of the franchise.

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness follows Doctor Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) in his second MCU solo outing as he attempts to protect a young girl with inter-dimensional super powers (Xochitl Gomez) from a mysterious demonic force.

The main cast, including Cumberbatch as Strange, Gomez as America Chavez, Elizabeth Olsen as the Scarlet Witch, Rachel McAdams as Christine Palmer, and Benedict Wong, all play their parts to perfection.

The best aspects of the first Doctor Strange film are carried over into this one, and generally improved upon. Most prominently, the magic-filled, mind bending visuals and fight scenes are carried over perfectly from the previous film. The location design is also stunning, especially in the alternative worlds the characters travel to.

The weaker aspects of the original film are vastly improved upon as well. The somewhat underwhelming villain of the first film is replaced by an absolutely fascinating and terrifying antagonist. Additionally, the hit or miss “quirky joke to break the tension” MCU humor formula has been largely done away with in favor of a more serious story.

However, the best part of the film, and what elevates it beyond the average Marvel film, is the stellar direction by veteran director Sam Raimi. Not a single shot feels flat and basic. The camera is always moving, always perfectly keeping the audience’s focus on the important details. Every camera angle, lighting choice, and sound effect feels intentional.

While Raimi has a history directing superhero films, namely the original Spider-Man trilogy, his background in horror made the film an incredible viewing experience. The violence and body horror is unlike anything else in the MCU, making for some genuinely disturbing and frightening scenes. And of course, Raimi’s classic use of gore and the “dutch-angle-zoom-on-the-door” shot are in full display.

I rate this film a solid 9/10.