HOLLYWOOD—I absolutely loved the first “Doctor Strange” film that arrived in theaters back in 2017. The film starring Benedict Cumberbatch was visually one of the best flicks I had seen in years. I knew nothing about the character and that movie literally blew me out of my theater seat and I could NOT wait for the sequel, which took quite some time to transpire. Why? In the Marvel universe, there is a bit of a formula that has to be followed as each franchise in the universe ultimately led to “Avengers: End Game.”
Smart idea as you can actually watch things in chronological order and understand the connections between each film and why they’re important people. However, this highly entertaining sequel doesn’t come without a warning: you need to see “Wanda Vision” on Apple TV to fully understand what is taking place here. Why? That is a direct result of Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) being the big bad here people.
So I had to go back and watch “Wanda Vision” to understand the motive of our anti-hero/villain played to perfection by Olsen. For those not in the know, Wanda Maximoff aka Scarlet Witch, was initially evil when first introduced to audiences back in the 2014 flick “Captain America: The Winter Solider,” she later became an asset to the Avengers when she helped them fend off Thanos. You might say wait, is that TV series so vital? It helps explain that false reality Wanda created involving ‘her children’ Billy and Tommy. Scarlet Witch is an intriguing character as she teeters the line between good and bad, and she has an edge when it comes to her villainy in my opinion that shines quite enthralling in this action-thriller.
That propels the bulk of the narrative that takes place in this movie that is vital. Cumberbatch is incredible as Dr. Stephen Strange people. I could not imagine anyone else in the role. He is Doctor Strange and no one else can fill those shoes people no one. This movie kicks right into action immediately with an attack from a tentacle like demon that Strange and teenager America Chavez (Xochitl Gomez). Gomez brings a spunkiness and energy to America that is just fun to watch and she is our protagonist because she has a special power to jump between universes, hence the film’s title people.
Scarlet Witch wants America’s power to recreate that fantasy world with her children again and is willing to unleash all sorts of hell on Earth and all the other Earth’s in the galaxy people. The crazy element about “Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness” is that the time travel element is in full force in a way that will confuse the audience if you’re not paying attention to the screen.
That was the one issue I had with this flick, the time jumps/time travel. When you play with time you have to be very careful how you do it so you don’t confuse or frustrate the audience people. We jump from present Earth, to future Earth to another Earth and it happens so swiftly and easily that if you blink you don’t know what you missed. It is done seamlessly and with ease by director Sami Raimi who delivers some visuals unlike anything I have seen on the big screen or the Marvel universe in years. It was absolutely stunning to watch on the big screen and if shot in Real 3D it might be an even bigger spectacle. At the same time playing with time is always a challenge and the film doesn’t falter, but doesn’t 100 percent nail it either.
The story is invigorating and keeps the spectator engaged from start to finish, and the visuals just heighten the chaos of traveling thru time or in this case the multiverse and the complexity that comes with it; the good, the bad and the ugly. We have an all-star cast in addition to Cumberbatch, Gomez and Olsen, we also see the return of Chiwetel Ejiofor, Benedict Wong, Rachel McAdams and Michael Stuhlbarg to name a few. There is also some AMAZING SURPRISES that will leave fans of the Marvel universe and the comic book universe thoroughly surprised and wondering what comes next.
The ending sets up more drama headed for Dr. Stephen Strange and what is next to come in the Marvel arena and the mid-credits tease is a plus also. We know “Thor: Love and Thunder” is headed to theaters this summer, but the thoughts are already churning as to what problem Strange will have to tackle for a third chapter, which after this flick’s box-office success it is all, but a guarantee people.