REVIEW: Watching a film from any Marvel Cinematic Universe means that you already sign up for a few standard issue tropes that every fan and now even the non-fans are well aware of. So, the fun is always in getting the surprises that come along the way, in any form. Director Sam Raimi (The Evil Dead franchise, Spiderman trilogy) knows this only too well and smartly works his way in organically building a narrative that can be executed with exciting elements of horror, fantasy, colourful visual effects and a clash of the superheroes. It’s a recipe that cannot and doesn’t go wrong even when it’s built on a simple comic-book premise of saving the world (multiple worlds in this case) from someone who has the absolute power. Of course, we’re making it sound too simple and easy but ‘Dr Strange in the Multiverse of Madness’ does have its share of complex characters with real emotions and shades of grey that one could argue are ‘reasonable’.
It’s a tightly knit screenplay with little space for verbose, lengthy scenes. Instead, Raimi cashes in on his expertise to make this one his strongest and the most vibrant film, visually with unmissable elements of horror. As Dr. Strange travels the multiverse and tackles new challenges, we see a gamut of unexpected cameos that collectively make for a thrilling face-off with the enemy.
Benedict Cumberbatch ably carries the film on his strong shoulders as the dapper Dr. Strange, dutifully going about making the hard choices and sacrifices for the larger good. However, this time there is more to Dr. Strange and his brand of justice, which is perhaps the only layered aspect in this otherwise straightforward story. Elizabeth Olsen’s wise and sagely persona works very well in convincing the audience of her cause as Wanda Maximoff aka Scarlet Witch, who emerges as a force to reckon with. Olsen’s pitch-perfect portrayal of her character’s conviction is one of the key highlights of this film. Benedict Wong as Wong and Rachel McAdams as Christine Palmer provide good support. Xochitl Gomez is a welcome addition as the confused yet formidable America Chavez – a teenager, who possesses the ultimate power to switch between universes.
This edition of the Dr. Strange franchise balances the influx of action, adventure and a seamless narrative, in a way that it never feels overstuffed or forced. Raimi and his writers ensure the plot is well paced out and give ample scope for it to be immersed in colourful special effects and elaborate set designs (especially the Kamar-Taj) with an unparalleled visual finesse. Danny Elfman’s soundtrack adds heft to the grand spectacle.
Director Sam Raimi works his magic by giving the audience an entertaining multiverse saga by packaging it smartly with the elements that he believes can cast a spell on them, irrespective of their love for the MCU.