Doctor Strange 2: “Not enough multiverse and maybe too much madness”

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After Avengers: Endgame, MCU looks a lot different, particularly now that we know who’s still alive and who won’t be active — alive or otherwise — in the immediate future. No more Black Widow and Iron Man. Captain America chooses to be a senior citizen. Thor joins the Guardians’ spacecraft while Hawkeye and Hulk are both in mourning… Marvel saw the loss of the two leaders of The Avengers — Tony Stark and Steve Rogers. And rumors had it that Doctor Strange would take the lead for the next phase. This no longer remains a rumor. Marvel confirmed that Doctor Strange leads The (new) Avengers, as in their latest movie “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” (Doctor Strange 2).

1. When MCU goes dark: Entertaining visuals yet chaotic plot

I watched this movie back in May this year, with my colleagues. The experience was quite good and I told myself that I was gonna write a review right after. However, it took me more than a month to take action. And even though I am biased toward both Benedict Cumberbatch and the character – Stephen Strange, I find the movie visually delightful yet narratively bland.

Firstly, Doctor Strange 2 is obviously a blend of horror and humor. MCU finally gave the dark theme a try and it sort of worked, at least for me. I love the mystic vibe and the intense feeling of fear the movie brings, especially when Wanda brings on her no-mercy game with the Illuminati. I mean it’s just not only dark, it’s horrifying and frightening.

One of the things I love about Doctor Strange movies is its visual effect and Doctor Strange 2 didn’t fail me at providing an adventure in a visual spectacle. And it isn’t like any other Marvel movies. Director Sam Raimi has done his job to bring a breath of fresh air to the MCU and I am not sure the fans are happy with it but for me personally, I like this horror-mystic vibe. It’s just something so wicked, so spiritual until it gets too chaotic.

Despite its entertaining visuals, the plot is quite messy and rushed or may be inconsistent toward the end. I got this same feeling after watching The Eternals, the feeling of hanging between “too many” and “not enough”. Doctor Strange 2 is no different. I mean the madness has gone too far with so many random cameos and unnecessary side plots that do not contribute to the main plot. Those crossovers are obviously fan services and it’s messy for the whole MCU.

I also sense that the film focuses on Wanda, but even so, her plot is weak. “The antagonist of the film Wanda has the same issue that Khaleesi had in Game of Thrones season 8. We know their character arc could definitely lead to this place but we need a proper transition other than simply showing the hysteria”, (Jithindurden). I totally agree with this review. Exactly what I felt. Doctor Strange 2 deserves a better script and a stronger plot.

Last but not least, the movie soundtrack and score didn’t meet my expectation. Hi-Finesse – Dystopia from Doctor Strange 1 had set my standard for this movie pretty high but what they offer isn’t just what I expected. The best Marvel movie soundtrack this year that wins my heart is probably Moon Knight.

2. The next fatherhood-like duo?

After Tony Stark and Peter Parker pairing, I sense that Marvel is building the next fatherhood duo with Doctor Strange and America. The format is almost the same: There’s a superhero with a huge responsibility and is dealing with saving the world ish then there’s a nerdy-smart teenager kid, who has family issues and is given a strange power that she/he doesn’t how to control it. The sidekick kid is pretty annoying to the superhero but the hero has to protect her/him and they end up strongly connecting to each other. Though I expect something new, I enjoy the story of Doctor Strange and America. At least there are more female characters now.

3. Multiverse & future of MCU

The multiverse is indeed gone mad. There surely will be another “mash-up” movie, maybe the new Avengers. With the entrance of The Eternals and Shang-Chi, the multiverse is worth looking up to. But I hope Marvel will not repeat its recent history itself with Doctor Strange 2 and The Eternals. These are great characters but they wasted it with the fan service.

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