The new Doctor Strange, provides viewers with a refreshing approach to the Marvel superhero concept. 

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is the second Doctor Strange movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), released in South African cinemas on Friday, May 6, 2022. The movie follows Doctor Strange after his appearance in the third Spider-Man movie and possesses a darker depiction of violence and horror in the MCU franchise.  

It is directed by Sam Raimi who is also behind the the Spider-Man trilogy. Benedict Cumberbatch reprises his role as Doctor Strange along with Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda.  

Doctor Strange must protect a new Marvel character from the challenges in the multiverse (the concept of living different lives across multiple universes), while fighting an enemy.  

Superheroes and destructive fight scenes are characteristics of previous MCU movies, but in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, a more graphic element has been introduced. In one standout scene a character is impaled by a fence during an altercation, audible winces could be heard in the cinema at that moment.   

The antagonist of the movie possesses immense psychological power, and Raimi leans into that element of horror filmmaking – building anticipation and suspense – shocking audiences in select moments. 

The creative computer-generated imagery (CGI) allows on-screen characters to travel between universes and use their magical powers in a realistic manner. For example, Doctor Strange has a fight scene in which he uses his powers to control musical notes. He and his opponent use the musical notes to fight against each other instead of physically fighting. The musical score of that scene and the fight sequence are in sync. When Strange directs the musical notes as quick punches, the music of the movie has short staccato beats.  

The actors show incredible range in their acting. Cumberbatch successfully portrays his role as Doctor Strange by playing different versions of the same character from various universes. These versions of the character possess the generic characteristics of Strange, but at the same time show that they are different, one who is set on being the hero and one who is trapped alone in his universe because of his selfishness. Similarly, Elizabeth Olsen accurately plays the role of both Wanda, a soft loving character, and Scarlet Witch, a more cold and menacing character.  

The one aspect that is rushed, is how quickly the antagonist redeems themselves. They spend the whole movie trying to convince Doctor Strange, and viewers, that their motives are valid whilst killing other characters. In a very short space of time, the antagonist realises their mistakes and rectifies them. This is one aspect that could have been developed more carefully. 

The movie’s dark psychological concept is what makes the film most enjoyable. The scenes are exciting and somewhat scary, a shift from the formulaic superhero plots MCU fans have become accustomed to.  

Vuvu rating: 9/10 

FEATURED IMAGE: Doctor Strange and Wong face incoming danger in new Marvel movie, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. Photo: YouTube