Even when people admit that they’ve been underwhelmed by most of the recent movies, Marvel isn’t showing signs of stopping anytime soon, maybe slowing down, but certainly not stopping. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness really does prove just how little the corporate minds of Marvel care about anything, seeing how the already terrible quality of their movies are now getting worse. The fans still continue to lie to themselves and act like these movies are smarter than they are, and want to believe that repeated viewings are all that’s needed to truly understand what these “artists” are going for. Yeah, right. These movies suck and you all know it.
There’s no motive behind any actions that went into this new establishment to the troublesome franchise, no motive other than fan service. However, it can’t even do that right. With the old characters, there’s a massive disservice given to how they’re reintroduced: Christine first appears at her wedding, which breaks the structure of a real wedding by having her come out as soon as the music starts up… and not being escorted by her dad. But hey, got to get her introduction through more quickly to start the action sooner, right?
Other characters are brought in as well, including one female who appeared in a previous Marvel movie, then she along with the other new characters on her team are written out immediately once they serve their purpose in moving the plot along. It’s obvious that these fresh faces are here just to amaze the fans, particularly by the casting choices, but two seconds after they come on the screen, it seems like the writer no longer knows what to do with them. The biggest new character here is a teenage girl named America, who has no personality aside from having two moms, but even then, she doesn’t act distinct from any kid raised by a heterosexual couple.
This is screenwriter Michael Waldron’s feature film debut, and boy does it show; he doesn’t bother to give Doctor Strange a motivation behind his actions nor an arc to have him change by the end. The plot is composed entirely of coincidences, throwing in random new superpowers for Strange simply because. Furthermore, there’s plenty of cartoon physics at work, be it the way a car tumbles on its side or the fact that nobody ever breaks any bones in the many times they fall on hard surfaces. The dialogue is nearly as bad, with exposition and painfully unfunny jokes used to describe how the multiverse works, even throwing in a scene where the characters just ramble on about Spider-Man to toss around some humor during a serious scene. Many important moments try to suggest that dreams are our windows into other multiverses, but nothing justifies this absurd claim. With that said, thank goodness the overly dramatic music is played loud enough to drown out the overacting of Benedict Wong and Chiwetel Ejiofor.
Oh yeah, the acting’s just atrocious, the worst offender out of the whole cast being Elizabeth Olsen. There are many times she even appears as if she’s glancing off to the side to read from a cue card; at least she doesn’t have that awful fake accent anymore, which really just makes her performance worse because that means there’s no consistency to her screen presence across all these movies. The only consistent thing about her is how the hair and makeup team has always made her look like a photoshopped fashion magazine cover. So overall, this is possibly the worst acted movie in the entire MCU—even the mo-cap actors in the background are terrible!
Although, there are times this garbage makes a distinct mark amongst the Marvel canon with it utilizing the concept of the multiverse. The first glimpse of that shows a different Doctor Strange with a new hairstyle, which raises all these questions about this man’s true identity. There’s also a parallel reality to New York City where the buildings are covered in vivid plants, which fits the mood of these important character moments for both Doctor Strange and America. It’s also pretty cool to see Strange and America travel across dozens of multiverses in under a minute, and how all these environments and styles can be composed so expertly and so impactfully in such a small timeframe! They may not be traveling to many multiverses, but this brief moment gives a clear enough idea of how broad this concept really travels. Yet here’s the best part: Sam Raimi, the director of The Evil Dead, shows his chops by implementing horror movie elements; Scarlet Witch pops out from walls and creates jump scares, creating some chilling special effects that all feel like they’re from a 1970s midnight showing.
Then again, those scary scenes just resort to the clichés that every other work in that genre has done, right down to the broken music box that plays in only one scene. Those decent components are less than ten percent of what makes up this slog, when there aren’t any scares or multiverse explorations, the cheap excuse for entertainment includes these bland monsters and digital backgrounds that the actors are so horribly composited onto. Many of those graphics look exactly like they came from a video game, and that’s not even an exaggeration. The amateurish lack of control is evident also in the practical special effects as the onscreen violence is at times cut away from, more likely so the MPAA wouldn’t give this movie an R-rating. The special and visual effects are seriously that distracting.
Hopefully, all this is enough to convince you as to why watching a movie by Marvel at the end of the day is not worth the time. Stop setting yourself up for disappointment. If you want a truly great movie about the concept of a multiverse, don’t watch Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. Watch Everything, Everywhere, All At Once instead.
If there is a specific movie you’d like to see graded, or if you are interested in guest blogging for my site, please email me at Trevor@TrevorsViewOnHollywood.com for your recommendations.
Have a great weekend, and happy watching!