Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness
Marvel and its cinematic universe, the MCU, are the very definition of too big to fail. Disney/Marvel could pull a Warhol and put out a three-hour flick of a still shot of a building, and it would make a billion bucks as people packed movie theaters like so many shit-for-brains sardines.
The last MCU movie that was legit good was Avengers: Endgame back in 2019. Between Endgame and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, seven other Marvel films have made their way in and out of multiplexes, and they all kind of sucked. Oh, you don't agree? Well, let's count 'em down.
There was a Spider-Man European Vacation featuring a "twist" villain that was as twisted as uncooked spaghetti. That was followed by a Black Widow movie released after her character died in Endgame, so the stakes weren't exactly high. Then came a movie about Shang-Chi and his ten rings . . . that were actually bracelets. Venom got a totally undeserved and underwhelming sequel. The Eternals was more bloated and boring than your stamp-collecting uncle after Thanksgiving dinner. Spider-Man made another appearance on the roster in what was essentially a live action riff on the far superior Spider-Verse from just three years earlier. And Morbius was a worse train wreck than the one that kicked off Unbreakable.
So all praise to "Saint" Sam Raimi for making Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness the first truly fun, actually entertaining Marvel movie in years. And props to Marvel for letting Raimi be Raimi, because he uses every one of his favorite visual, audio, and storytelling tricks from every one of his previous movies, which include the Evil Dead series, his own Spider-Man trilogy, and The Quick and the Dead, and it's those floaty, zoomy, shaky, and trippy signature touches that give Multiverse of Madness its own unique personality.
Fanboys and fangirls will need a change of underwear just from seeing some of their favorite characters make their first appearances in a big screen MCU jawn. The rest of us get to enjoy better performances, particularly from the two leads, Benedict "Arnold" Cumberbatch and Elizabeth "Jimmy" Olsen, than a Punch! Kick! Magic hands! movie even deserves.
Plus, one of cinema's all-time greats, the one and only "His Name Is" Bruce Campbell, gets his usual Raimi cameo, and if it doesn't put a big ol' smile on your face then fuck you.
July 1, 2022