Popcorn Perspectives with Danny Minton – Week of May 2, 2022

Popcorn Perspectives with Danny Minton

Week of May 2, 2022

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness
Rated PG-13 for frightening images, action, intense sequences of violence and some language
Rotten Tomatoes Score 80%
In Theaters

Continuing the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s constant stream of content is this sequel to 2016’s Doctor Strange, which now places Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) in the newly evolving multiverse. When he discovers a young girl (newcomer Xochitl Gomez) with the power to move between multiverses, he attempts to save her from the evil presence trying to kill her and steal her power. Since this new wave of MCU films is obviously focusing on the multiverse, I guess I have to go along with it, even though I am convinced that it’s essentially stealing from Sony’s Spider-verse plot line. But aside from that, this film really does break out into something unique and interesting, largely due to director Sam Raimi taking over the reins. If you recall, Sam Raimi, after making some of the best horror films of the 80s and 90s (Evil Dead, Army of Darkness) went on to make three of the highest grossing films of all time with Spider-Man 1, 2 and 3. With Spider-Man, though, he moved away from his horror roots. With this new Doctor Strange, the old Raimi is back. His twisted sense of humor along with his focus on the macabre is in full force here, adding a different and fun vibe to the somewhat dry super hero. And with a script by Loki creator Michael Waldron, there is a nice synergy of weirdness that should be attractive to a rabid audience looking for more of the same, but with a touch of abnormal. The cast is largely the same as before, and that’s okay given the level of talent. If there is one misgiving it is the casting of Gomez in the new character, who seems very out of place. She is quite ordinary and honestly kind of boring. In such a crazy universe, she doesn’t really fit in and her acting chops are not nearly good enough to keep up with the regulars here. A better actress in that role could have made this a stronger movie. One thing I should also note is that this is the first MCU film that relies heavily on the Marvel television programs. If you haven’t seen What If…?, WandaVision or Loki you might not be too lost, but there will certainly be a greater understanding of what is going on if you have. There isn’t a lot of exposition, so the filmmakers expect and challenge the audience to simply keep up. B+