FoCC Review: Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness – Are You Happy?

By Jason Delgado 

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, asks a simple, yet important, question of both main characters Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) and Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen): are you happy? It turns out that they are decidedly not (although Strange starts out in denial about it). So what lengths would someone go to in order to be happy? And how does one even find happiness? These are fascinating existential questions that are asked during this highly entertaining superhero flick.

Legendary director Sam Raimi (The Evil Dead, Spider-Man 1-3) has returned to the Marvel sandbox, and the mystical Dr. Steven Strange is a character that is tailor made for Raimi’s eccentric horror style. Throughout the film there are light Raimi touches, along with a fun cameo by the one and only Bruce Campbell, but the final act is full-on Sam Raimi horror/dark humor unleashed. As a fan of Raimi’s, I could not have been more delighted by this.

The film kicks off with what Stephen thinks is only a dream: a colorful, alternative universe where another version of himself is helping a young woman named America Chavez (Xochitl Gomez), escape from a giant one-eyed, tentacled demon monster. Chavez is a relatively new comic character who has only been growing in popularity, and she becomes a central figure to this film.

After his “dream,” Stephen attends the wedding of his first and only true love Christine Palmer (Rachel McAdams). Strange tells himself that he’s okay, but we find out as the film progresses that he’s really not. Who amongst us hasn’t loved and lost? Or suffered through something emotionally, while we try to tell ourselves that it’s not a big deal? Marvel comics and films have always been so relatable, and that’s a huge reason why we love them.

Wanda Maximoff, aka the Scarlet Witch, is still reeling from the after-effects of the events that transpired during WandaVision. All she wants are her two sons back, who she herself created, and Wanda will do anything to achieve that. It’s another completely relatable trait, because who wouldn’t do anything for their kids? 

From start to finish, I was entertained by this film. My only criticism is that I wanted the finale to have more of an emotional impact, because all the tools were there for it to do so. The cast, including newcomer Xochitl Gomez, is top notch and did a fantastic job, as we’ve come to expect with Marvel. I loved the cameos, which I won’t spoil, but the real magic of this movie is its heart, being able to make the audience ponder throughout about love and loss. To quote a line from WandaVision, “What is grief, if not love persevering?”

I give Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness four out of five hot sauce packets. It’s so spicy that it’ll make you see stars.

P.S. – I would highly recommend watching WandaVision, as well as the Disney+ show What If…?, as companion pieces to the movie if you haven’t yet. I thoroughly enjoyed both shows, so it’s fun to see a continuation of them in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.

Jason Delgado

Jason is a CSULB film school alum and movie guy for Friends of Comic Con. He loves movies, TV, writing, comics, going to Cons, basketball (Lakers), music (all forms of rock + 90's hip hop), football (Chargers), his dog, and most importantly wife and newborn son. He's written a comedy/sci-fi script, and wants to write more in between raising a son. He doesn't often cosplay, but when he does, it's as Iron Fist. Follow him on Twitter @JasonDelgado78

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