Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness ⭐️ Review by Andrea Carnevali
Dr. Stephen Strange casts a forbidden spell that opens the doorway to the multiverse, including alternate versions of himself, whose threat to humanity is too great for the combined forces of Strange, Wong, and Wanda Maximoff. Out in Cinemas right now.
Before I say anything about this film, I should state my credentials: I’ve grown up playing with superheroes (and now I play with them together with my son). I consider myself a bit of a geek (I hear my friends shouting back at me “Only a bit?!?!”), I’ve watched all the Marvel films and TV series made so far (some multiple times) and I’ve always been intrigued by anything which deals with the concept of parallel universes.
So you can imagine my surprise when half way through this film, not only I found myself thinking “How can this be so bad?”, but I was also bored out of my mind.
For the first time in my life I saw myself as one of those “despicable Marvel-haters” who think Marvel movies are basically the end of cinema.
This is exactly the kind of film those people think of when they make those statements.
Well, who can blame them now?
The more I watched Doctor Strange 2, the more I got frustrated by the huge amount of exposition which was being dumped on rather mercilessly and got angrier and angrier at the huge amount of money being splashed across the screen.
The disappointment felt even bigger after the sheer joy of Spider-Man: No Way Home, the previous Marvel film which I had enjoyed immensely, which fleshed out the geek in me like nothing before and had left me with a great taste for more multi-verse fun.
The problem with this film is that it’s anything but fun. In fact, the only amusing thing about it is how seriously it takes itself, as Danny Elfman’s score pounds loudly over a kaleidoscope of imagery where neither gravity nor any sense space or time has any bearing on reality. Nothing of what we see feels real.
And I know we are talking about superheroes, people in capes, wearing silly masks, but even in those films there must be some rules for us to care about what’s going on.
You can’t just throw everything at the audience and pretend we can just go along with it, just because we enjoyed some of the previous instalments.
Here, there’s no jeopardy, no stakes, no real surprises (and no, I don’t count pointless cameo appearances from other films as a “surprise”), but just a messy, disjointed, very confusing and over-produced film both in terms of visuals and sound.
I don’t know what kind of film director Sam Raimi is thinking he’s doing, but if it is a horror is not scary, if it is an adventure film, it’s dull and un-exciting and if it’s a drama about a woman’s need to be a mother… well then it’s a total failure. And this comes from somebody who is a real fan of that director.
Do you know how sometimes you feel these films are good up to the last act and then, when the final showdown happens, they always seem to go over the top and ruin everything they have built up to that point? Well, this film is basically that “final act” all the way through, interspersed with some clunky exposition here and there, which I’m not sure I entirely understood anyway, mainly because after about one hour I had turned off my brain and was eagerly waiting for it to end.
Of course there were some nice visual effects along the way and yes, some of the imagery that Raimi came up with was interesting too (though sometimes it felt he was more keen to reference his previous movies than actually creating something which people would care about), but even those things got eclipsed by the amount of “visual noise”. Have they ever heard of the saying “less is more”?
After a while, after endless people showing up in weird places, flying, smashing things, shouting poorly written lines and concocting flames and all sorts of other magical stuff, it all looked the same to me.
This is not just the worst film of the year, or the worse Marvel film so far, but possibly one of the worst films I’ve ever seen.
Andrea Carnevali is a Bafta winning film maker who lives in Chiswick
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is out in cinemas now.
See all Andrea’s film reviews here: Film reviews by Andrea Carnevali
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