‘Doctor Strange In The Multiverse of Madness’ Review (SPOILERS AHEAD)


Connor Iadevaia, Contributor

‘Doctor Strange In The Multiverse of Madness’ Review

Connor Iadevaia

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, is different, it’s scary, and most importantly of all it’s a brand new Marvel movie that brings back the return of the mystifying Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), as he navigates the confusing and unpredictable multiverse. There are so many things that this movie is able to do correctly, from the plot, to the characters, and how it ties into the Marvel Cinematic universe. In this review, I will be going over the plot and explaining why I liked this movie so much.

 *Warning Spoilers ahead* 

What is this movie about?

The whole premise of this movie is much different than previous

 Marvel movies, incorporating elements of horror intertwined with darker tones. The movie immediately opens with a full on action scene of a young teenager, America Chavez (Xochitl Gomez) and a variant of Dr. Strange, known as Defender Strange, getting chased by a demon. The demon is able to corner the duo and prevent them from getting to the book of Vishaniti. In an attempt to save himself, Defender Strange begins to steal America Chavez’s power to travel the multiverse. However, by stealing her power, America slowly begins to die and this fear scares America enough to use her power and she lands on Earth-616. This Earth is the version of our planet that exists within the Marvel Cinematic universe (MCU) that we know. When she’s in this reality, America is chased by Gargantos, another demon. Luckily, Strange and Wong (Benedict Wong) are able to intervene and save Chavez’s life. When questioned by the sorcerers, America explains that her and Defender Strange were trying to get a magical spell book called The Book of Vishanti; the counterpart to the Darkhold . In order to keep American safe, the sorcerers take her to Kamar-Taj, the home and training grounds to the Masters of the Mystic Arts.


What happened to Wanda?

Upon closer examination, Strange and Wong realize the demon was

summoned using witchcraft; which leads Strange to seek the help of Wanda Maximoff. After the events of Wandavision, Wanda seems to have settled into a peaceful life as a farmer. When approached by Strange, Wanda is seen gardening at a beautiful orchard in what looks like a very serene setting. Strange tells her that he’s not there to talk about Westview; the town Wanda enslaved in the DisneyPlus TV show ‘Wandavison’; but instead needs her help with the multiverse. She lets Stange go on for a little while and Strange eventually tells her about America Chavez and her power to travel the multiverse. However, Strange realizes quickly that Wanda summoned those demons and that she’s trying to obtain America’s powers in order to find her kids somewhere in the multiverse. Revealing her evil plan, Wanda drops the facade and turns the beauty of the orchard into a dark and desolate landscape. She tells him that with the Darkhold’s help she will be able to live the life she wanted. Strange, an experienced sorcerer, is clearly able to see how the Darkhold has corrupted Wanda and how insane she has become. Now that Strange sees her for who she truly is, Wanda threatens him  and says that if he doesn’t hand over America before sundown she will come to Kamar-taj to get America herself. This leads to an epic and cutthroat battle as Wanda attacks Kamar-taj and destroys anyone or anything in her way. I really got to see Wanda’s dark side here and how she totally went off the deep end. It was in this scene that I was able to experience some of the first horror elements in this movie. This  includes Wanda using the mirror dimension and the reflections to crawl out of a gong while slicing her face and body.


Strange and America travel the Multiverse

  Getting the upper hand in battle, Wanda is able to corner America once again and begins to steal her power. However, America powers come through and she opens up another portal out of fear and Strange jumps in with America. This causes both of them to jump through the various realities that exist within the multiverse. The pair fell through a paint world, a black and white world, a fire or volcanic world, etc. When America abruptly stops the portals, the duo lands in a beautiful reality where everything is much more advanced and much cleaner than our world.  Strange and America come up with a plan to steal “this reality” version of the Book of Vishanti and the best way to do that is to find the sanctums that exist in this world. While walking around in this “version” of New York City, they are able to find the Sanctum. There Strange meets Mordo, who tried to kill Strange on his Earth but apparently in this reality, they were brothers who loved each other. Mordo invites them in and gives them tea and Strange and America tell him about how they need the book of Vishanti in order to fight off Wanda. However, the two pass out quickly due to the poison that Mordo put in their tea, and he reveals that he secretly works for a secret organization called ‘The Illuminati’. 


Who are ‘The Illuminati’?

In our version of Earth, we have the Avengers to protect us. On Earth 838, the group of superheroes that protect their parallel Earth behind the scenes are called the Illuminati. When Stange and America finally wake up, they discover that they are trapped in these giant square bubbles to keep them from using their powers. The head “Scientist” of The Illuminati is revealed to be Christine Palmer (Rachel McAdamas. She tells America and Strange they are a danger to their reality and could cause an incursion: when two realities collide and they both destroy each other. Strange tries to tell Christine that Wanda is coming to kill Americans and they need to let them out, but his efforts are in vain. He is then taken to see the council of the Illuminati to explain his situation. Strange steps into the chamber and sees the five members of the Illuminati: Baron Mordo (Chiwetel Ejiofor), Captain Carter (Hayley Atwell), Captain Marvel A.K.A Maria Rambeau (Lashana Lynch), Black Bolt (Anson Mount), Reed Richards (John Krasinski), and Professor Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart). The Illuminati tell Strange that the version of him in this reality turned evil after reading the Darkhold, and the rest of the Illuminati were forced to kill him. Their discussions are quickly stopped by Wanda, who quickly finds the location of the Sanctum. Although Strange is in a different reality, Wanda is able to use a very old and dangerous spell called dreamwalking, allowing her to possess her variant body on any version of Earth for a certain amount of time. Strange tries to warn them about the threat the Wanda poses but The Illuminati thinks that Wanda is weak and doesn’t pose a threat. They are quickly proven wrong once Wanda goes on a rampage, destroying all of the Ultron bots or “guards” and The Illuminati are forced to take action, with Strange being left by himself  with just Mordo. 


Just before Wanda gets to America, who is still stuck in her cell,

The Illuminati rush in to stop her and try to talk to Wanda. This obviously fails and Wanda ruthlessly kills every member of the Illuminati one by one. First, she makes Blacks bolt’s mouth vanish out of thin air so his powers backfire and his head explodes, then she makes Reed Richards disintegrate into what looks like strings of spaghetti, and the remaining two, Captain Carter and Captain Marvel fight Wanda to the death. Strange tries to convince Mordo to let him help The Illuminati, but Mordo refuses. Seeing no other open Strange attacks Mordo, trapping him in a deep black pit. Strange then rushes to America’s cell block to help her escape the pod. Seeing the approaching Wanda, Christine frantically tries to get America out of her cell, and to buy her some time Professor X goes inside Wanda’s mind. This actually helps a lot, and Strange, Christine, and America are able to escape and head towards The Book of Vishanti, which is hidden in The Illuminati’s headquarters. Professor X does not last long inside Wanda’s mind before she is able to snap his neck. She then starts to chase Strange, America, and Christine through the underground tunnels of the sanctum. Strange almost succeeded in getting the book of Vishanti, but Wanda is able to destroy it before he is able to read it. Having the upper hand, Wanda forces America to open another portal then she throws Strange and Christine into it and they land in a dark, melting reality. The reality where Strange and Christine landed is scary, showcasing the talent of director Sam Raimi. He does a great job of showing off his technical skill as a director by incorporating his iconic visuals that he is known for. In this reality, Strange meets another variant of himself who possesses the Darkhold; and they have a fight over it using magic musical notes. This fight, which is the pinnacle of Raimi’s cinematic command, shows off the state of the art special effects used in this movie. I’m astounded by the visuals and this is the most interesting  magician duel that I have ever seen. After this scene Strange uses the forbidden dream walking spell Wanda had used earlier to possess the now deceased Defender Strange.  This leads to the ultimate form of Doctor Strange, nicknamed  “Zombie Strange”. 


Wanda’s Final Closure 

Back at Wanda’s mountain temple, America is once again trying to stop Wanda from killing her. But America realizes the only way to stop Wanda is giving her what she wants. America, now understanding her powers, opens a portal to Earth-838’s, showing Wanda her kids. When “Wanda’s” kids see the monster that Wanda had become, they run away and scream in fear. But Wanda, still full of trauma and denial tries to provide love to her “kids” and ultimately breaks down. This  scene shows Wanda’s complex emotions and her conflicted feelings, which eventually leads to her coming to the realization that she can never ever be happy. She walks out of the portal and returns to her mountain temple where she destroys every copy of the Darkhold in the multiverse. With Wanda at last having some closure about her emotions, she crushes the temple and the whole mountaintop closes in on her. To the audience, it seems like Wanda is “killed” but who knows? Could Wanda actually just leave the MCU? The movie ends happily with Kamar-taj rebuilt and America starting to learn the ropes of being a sorcerer and the multiverse seems to be intact. In the last scene Strange was walking out of the New York Sanctum looking happy and relieved and soon came to a startling halt because Strange’s third eye was suddenly revealed; which was very shocking and dramatic! 


Final Verdict and Thoughts

 I would give this movie a 4.5 out of 5 stars because overall, I enjoyed the plot and as a viewer and a Marvel fan, I was excited to experience the multiverse and the possibilities that it holds. The director, Sam Raimi included enough jump scare moments and horror elements to make it stand out from other Marvel movies in the past. The attention to detail including, costumes, makeup, props, sets, and even references to the original comics and previous Marvel movies was just astonishing. My closing thoughts for this movie is that I enjoyed watching Wanda and how she handled things after Westview; and even Strange’s life because I’ve seen him in tons of other movies after the first Dr. Strange. The inclusion of the multiverse and Illuminati helped me to understand the next steps for Marvel and their characters. I’m excited to see what Kevin Fege (President of Marvel), and the other Marvel directors will do in the future with the multiverse and the next chapter to Strange’s story.