Movie Review: ‘Doctor Strange’ puts a grotesque twist on the superhero genre

Pedro Isao Mori
Staff Writer

“Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” is the latest installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and it follows Doctor Strange, played by Benedict Cumberbatch, trying to protect America Chavez, played by Xochitl Gomez, who has the power to jump across universes, while she is chased by mysterious beings for her powers. 

The long awaited sequel to 2016 “Doctor Strange” had fans excited online as Marvel had promoted this to be the first horror movie in the MCU and even had director Sam Raimi, known for his horror movies like “Evil Dead” and “Drag Me to Hell,” which added to the excitement.

The movie also caused a buzz online as it came after “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” which fully introduced the “Multiverse” into the franchise. The “Multiverse” is the concept that other versions of the same heroes exist in parallel universes. Therefore, a lot of fans began discussing their guesses for what new characters were going to get cameos in this movie.

The movie itself however, may be a hit or miss. Many fans believe that Marvel has a formula for making its movies. The basic premise of it is, new or existing characters are going through something, usually a traumatic experience, and go on to save the day together. Basically mostly rainbows and butterflies. However, this felt like the furthest thing from the traditional superhero film.

The movie pushes its PG-13 rating pretty much to the edge. There is a focus on brutality and borderline grotesque imagery that some people would probably refrain from showing their kids.

Another memorable aspect of this movie is the score, composed by Danny Elfman. It fits perfectly with the horror elements present in the movie. Very rarely is it that I have walked out of a movie theater after any superhero movie and thought that the score was really well done and added to the ambience. At moments the score makes you nervous because you do not know what is going to happen, while at others it gets you excited to see what cool thing is about to happen.

The movie also relies heavily on Raimi’s style. Those familiar with his Spider-man films will remember cheesy dialogue and a brand of humor that appeals to a very specific audience. This movie is no different. There are moments where the humor seems to miss and causes the scene to drag on a little too much. A particular scene involving pizza balls felt rather unnecessary and could have easily been cut from the film. 

Next up are the characters, this is another area where fans may be a little split. Certain things done with them throughout the film may leave people displeased, which was definitely overheard while watching it. There are moments where characters seem to have a change of heart for reasons that seem very forced and rather noticeable. 

The movie has a runtime of about 126 minutes, but it could definitely be cut shorter by about 10 minutes. Although this is a matter of personal preference, it does not take away from the experience as a whole.

Regardless, “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” is another solid addition to the MCU. It offers a breath of fresh air to the franchise by straying away from the more traditional superhero formula. Despite some stumbles it paces itself nicely enough that viewers are curious to see what comes next. If you love Sam Raimi’s style, this movie is definitely for you regardless of whether you have seen any Marvel movies before.

8.5/10

Pedro Isao Mori can be reached pedro.mori@laverne.edu.

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Pedro Isao Mori, a freshman journalism major and business management minor, is a staff writer for the Campus Times.

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