I would be lying if I said I wasn’t just a little disappointed. I have been excited to see Multiverse of Madness for months, especially with all the build up from the various Disney+ shows that tie into this film. However, something just felt off to me and I have yet to figure out what exactly.
Directed by Sam Raimi, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness brings back all the favorites: Doctor Strange, Wong, Wanda Maximoff and even Christine Palmer. Added to that mix is America Chavez, played by newcomer Xochitl Gomez. The story follows Strange as he encounters America Chavez, finding out that she can jump through different universes but has no idea how her power works or how to control it. And, as one can imagine with the word “madness” in the title, madness ensues.
I’ve always been a fan of Sam Raimi. He is a master of camp and horror. However, something about this film just didn’t “fit”. The performances Raimi pulled out of his cast were on the campier side, which would usually be fine, but it was so drastically different from anything previous. It jarred me a bit. The performances from certain proven strong actors just felt lackluster, which really is a disappointment. The only performance that truly stood out to me was Elizabeth Olsen as the Scarlet Witch. The emotion that was in everything she said, I felt that.
The horror aspect I did like. However, it wasn’t what I expected necessarily. There were some truly horrifying deaths in this film. Some, I can’t stop thinking about because they were so brutal. It felt a little like I was watching parts of another Sam Raimi film, Drag Me to Hell.
I desperately want to talk about Wanda Maximoff and the Scarlet Witch. I have long been a fan of this character. From the moment she entered the MCU, I was waiting for her to reach her full power (one of my biggest complaints has been that she is the most powerful and was, seemingly, barely used). And that is finally happening. Now, do I think Wanda should be villainized because of her actions in this film? Absolutely not. This is a woman who has been through hell. She literally killed the person she loved and it turned out to be for nothing. That shit sticks with you. On top of that, everything that happened to her in WandaVision, specifically her and Vision building a life that she thought was real with, what she thought were her real children. And then having the realization that she’s fabricated this whole thing. Wanda has been through the ringer and is struggling with some serious trauma. Double that with the fact that Doctor Strange is repeatedly hypocritical to Wanda with what he says vs his own actions, I do not blame her for loosing her damn mind and being burdened with so much grief. Not to mention, she has been using the DarkHold to fully become the Scarlet Witch, and that sucker takes a toll on whoever dares use it.
For those that are deeming Wanda a villain, I’d like to remind everyone that Loki, at one time, killed thousands of people and we all still forgave him. There is no 100% good or 100% bad in this, I don’t think. After all, it’s all a gray area. Hell, Thanos taught us that.