I almost want to think that we have reached the peak of the “Multiverse” in movies as of late. Not only have we had it with so many Marvel movies both live action and animated, it has also now went over to the the indie film route with EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE ALL AT ONCE with Michelle Yeoh and Ke-Huy Quan doing it up smaller budget style. We still have another SPIDER-MAN animated feature to wait for next year too where I’m sure even more world-bending will occur!
What is wonderful to see is that the sequel to the 2016 hit, THE MULTIVERSE OF MADNESS, is directed by none other than Mr. Sam Raimi. For those of you in the know, Raimi broke onto the scene in 1998 with an indie gem called A SIMPLE PLAN starring Bill Paxton and then followed it up with Kevin Costner as a weary baseball player in FOR LOVE OF THE GAME. For many years Mr. Raimi has always wanted a shot at the bigger superhero game and thankfully through Raimi’s connections he was finally able to be given his shot….of course I’m kidding and in my own multiverse, as it were. Raimi is no stranger to movie fans with the EVIL DEAD series, the original SPIDER-MAN trilogy, DRAG ME TO HELL and many others. He is a true genre filmmaker and one of the pioneers. While this isn’t his most polished movie by a long shot, he does try and succeed in many areas.
A lot of the action revolves around Dr. Stephen Strange after the events of SPIDER-MAN NO WAY HOME who is already pretty tired all of the time-and-world bending. He’s attending the wedding of Christine (Rachel McAdams) when suddenly wackiness ensues outside in the form of a massive octopus chasing someone named America Chavez (Xochitl Gomez) across multi-dimensions. And in again comes Wong (Wong, Benedict Wong) who is also on her tail as she can apparently traverse these multi-dimensions, which THEN leads to needing the help of Wanda (the always terrific Elizabeth Olsen) who herself is going through personal trauma (which is all referenced by the WANDAVISION show, unseen by me). Oh and there’s also Mordo (Chiwetel Ejiofor) in on the story, along with so many supporting characters and surprises that of course you want to see for yourself and not for me to reveal them to you.
Where THE MULTIVERSE OF MADNESS really works is all of the mind-bending of going through all of these portals and worlds, and of course At one point a character even gives particular worlds a number as if it’s something you can order up whenever necessary, which gave me a laugh. That and I too am a sucker for all of the surprise characters and cameos here, too many to name. That I learned afterwards that many of these WERE revealed in trailers, promo materials and social media blasts is really disappointing. To this day I refuse to watch any of this before seeing a movie so I was lucky enough to discover them DURING the movie, which is what we should all be doing in the first place.
Of course even having Raimi on board isn’t going to automatically throw this movie into masterpiece mode. He’s still at the whims of Marvel, Disney and the mega franchise so even he’s being held back a little. I seem to always turn on Marvel movies in its third act which feels like all story and no storytelling, and it’s very much here of course. And there are a lot of slow dialogue/exposition sequences are here just like any other movie.
But hey, just go with it. There’s still so much entertainment, references and energy here to please any fan of the series. In the whole Marvel-verse, this movie feels like a refreshing “break” from a lot of the stale series and movies as of late and Raimi’s traditional edgy style is very much welcome here. While there is a part of me that thinks that you should have seen however many other Marvel movies just to “get” things, I also think a casual viewer unfamiliar with the MCU world can also go enjoy this.
DR STRANGE 2 is now playing in theatres.