“We will see what kind of Doctor Strange you are.”
Story: Okay, so we’re all on the same page with the MCUniverse, right? Magic, monsters, multiverses, time travel, yada yada? Cool. Because after everything Doctor Strange, Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch, and your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man have been doing lately, there seems to be some craziness going on in all the universes. Time to universe hop, do other things here in 616, and meet all sorts of new folks Our Gang can ask for help, or need help overcoming. Want more? Sorry; Kevin Feige is breathing down my neck, making sure I spoil nothing. Like, I can feel his breath…how does he do that? (And seriously, walk into this one with all the MCU 411 you got prior, but otherwise as blind as possible, for maxi-moff enjoyment.)
Genre I’d put it in: Crazy Sequels That Gear You Up for A CHANGE IN THINGS
Release Date: 2022
Remake, Sequel, Based-On, or Original: Based on Marvel comic book characters. Part of the MCU.
Gotta say: If I can tell you one thing about this film – and believe me, there is A Lot I’m not really allowed to – it’s that this film really should be titled Scarlet Witch and the Mountain of Issues. Because though the doc is name dropped in the title, it’s his fellow Avenger who’s got the bulk of the character arc in this film. And yes, before you see Madness, you need to be up on your WandaVision and What If Disney Channel knowledge to get the maximum payoff when things go nutso.
Because oh my friends and oh my foes, director Sam Raimi absolutely goes off the chain here. And it’s pretty damn glorious when he does. Yeah, there’s the requisite slog as the dominos are set up… But when they start
exploding bleeding winking out of existence falling? Damn y’all. It’s so much fun. Fair warning for my faint-of-heart friends; although all this talk of “this is horrifying Marvel being horrific”? My horrorhound tuchas didn’t see anything really scary. But as my soul beat feet years ago from sheer disgust? I may be too numb to blood, gore, and spooky stuff to have MCU horror-lite affect me. But you more delicate creatures might be creeped out when Sam goes Full Raimi. (And yes, keep an eye out for That Chin. He’s here. Of course he’s here. And that’s all the spoiler you’re gonna get from me.)
There’s a lot of fun cameos here as well, so make sure you get your screaming-in-joy voice ready. There’s [REDACTED], and [CLASSIFIED], not to mention the big reveal when [A CHARACTER] sees the [NOT THIS DAY]… Well, I’m sure you get the picture. Feige is definitely setting things up, and it’ll be interesting to see where this overall story goes,, and what performers will be around for future films. I’m really excited about the possibility of seeing [NOPE] and [SIKE] onscreen together, and oh hello [STOP IT DENISE] and [THIS GAG IS GETTING OLD] would be fun onscreen together as well.
Do I have a few nits to pick? Of course I do. Soulless, remember? The plot is a bit messy, even for the bonkers story on offer. The dialogue can be a bit too simplistic and borderline silly here and there. And many characters introduced are only around for a moment or two. I’m happy they don’t overstay their welcome, but I’d have liked to have seen a wee bit more before these particular characters exit stage left. But I love the little things, like how a certain character wears a jean jacket with “Amour es Amour” on their jean jacket. Try taking that out of the film for China! (Who am I kidding; they’ve probably already done that. SIIIIGH.) The chemistry between more established characters and newly introduced characters is well done, which is why I’d like to see several of these MCU newbies on the big screen again. And while the CGI is a bit lesser than the gorgeous Kirby-esque Ragnarok or the trippy OG Strange – think cable-worthy rather than award-worthy – there are moments where it’s absolutely breathtaking. Grab a huge popcorn and enough of a beverage to keep your mouth from becoming a salt desert (see #Protip), and enjoy. This is the start of a new, post-apocalyptic, Multiplex Summer. And I’ve missed it.
#Protip: There’s the usual midcredits scene that hints at more to come…and a fun tidbit after the credits for Raimi fans. So if you want to check those out, go easy on that large drink, cowpoke.