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What’s Wrong with Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness


Contains: SPOILERS

As I see it, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is a phenomenon when peak direction meets prosaic writing.

 

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The Biggest Perfections of Multiverse of Madness:

The Biggest Perfections of Multiverse of Madness

You can say anything about this film, but there are some scenes in Multiverse of Madness that will go deep on the list of the greatest moments in comic-book movie history. It’s just the truth, and sooner or later, you’ll realize that, and it’s such a slow-burning process. The more I remember those moments, the more I adore them. I’ll let you guess which specific moments I’m talking about. I’ll talk about them shortly.

Direction

There’s no doubt that Sam Raimi has given his entire best to the film. It’s evident on the screen, and you can say that’s sam raimi’s move. Just as I was saying before, this film holds what I think, some of the greatest moments in comic-book movie history.

Below are scenes I believe are among the best, some great, some jaw-dropping:

  • In a scene where Scarlett Witch attempts to come out of mirror dimension; that is peak WITCH stuff
  • The whole sequence of Scarlett Witch and Professor X, twisting his head in the end; Real jumpscare moment, GEEZ
  • OG Doctor Strange vs Sinister Doctor Strange Musical Feud; That was so ingenious
  • Scarlett Witch confronts Wanda in a different universe with her kids who get terrified by Scarlett Witch; there’s complexity in that scene that I really liked
  • Scarlett Witch in Wanda’s body chasing down Dr.Strange, Chavez, and Christine.
  • The way Scarlett Witch butchers the Illuminati.
  • The whole sequence in Kamar Taj with Wanda
  • When OG Doctor Strange dream walks into Defender Strange’s Corpse and how he exploits souls of the damned; made me say Sh*t
  • There are some more…

All the above scenes are only possible because of Sam Raimi’s eye, and his ambitious direction elevated those moments that otherwise would have been ordinary.

Performances

It’s safe to say that Elizabeth Olsen’s outstanding performance as Scarlet Witch dominated every character in the movie, and I can say she’s Thanos in Multiverse of Madness which feels like a mini-infinity war. On the other hand, Cumberbatch’s portrayal of Doctor Strange, the titular character is equally impressive, although it does not possess the same range of emotions as Scarlett Witch’s character, which is more powerful, thereby making the scope of Doctor Strange’s character less. Benedict, however, excels in portraying four variations of his character, and it feels as though you’re watching four different people. Moreover, Xochitl as American Chavez, Wong as Wong, Chiwetel as Mordo, Rachel as Christine, and every other actor in their respective characters have performed well.

Visuals and 3D

In terms of visuals and 3D, this film is up there with the finest I’ve seen from Marvel movies. It’s one of my favorite theatre experiences, and I couldn’t fathom how beautiful the film looks on the big screen. Credit should be given to the visual effects team, as well as 3D artists who enhanced the existing content into a visceral spectacle.

What’s Wrong with Multiverse of Madness – The Imperfections :

What's Wrong with Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

The biggest problem with this film is its screenplay, which often feels rushed, fatigued, unoriginal, and trite. Honestly, It’s hard to say who should bear the blame; it’s either Marvel Studios or the writer; Michael Wardon, who actually did a fantastic job with Loki’s show.

Corny, Messy Writing

There were numerous instances in the film where I felt like “that wasn’t a good dialogue”, rather it felt corny and cringe-worthy, as we have heard those lines in numerous films before. Often, the motives of characters felt off, a bit contrived, especially with Scarlett Witch who spits rather giddy, unconvincing excuses to massacre the innocent lives. Who is to blame here? The dialogue writing has largely undermined the character’s purpose and intentions, which otherwise would have been profound, complex, and fascinating.

In Wandavision, despite enslaving a whole town, you feel empathy for Wanda’s character. There’s an element of contradiction, and complexity to the whole thing, which makes it more engrossing and captivating. However, this film’s script undercut Wanda’s empathetic characteristics and displays her as more of a straight-up villain rather than attempting to portray her as a more complex individual with plausible motivations.

From my standpoint, I believe what makes a villain compelling is when their motivations are convincing enough for the audience. Yes, the perfect example is Thanos, or you could say Killmonger. This is where Multiverse of Madness falls at. Although Scarlett Witch’s intentions are reasonable to an extent, considering the tragic nature of her past and her relationship with the kids, the writing weakened this part of her and made her spout words that felt arbitrary and straight-out bad.

This is applicable to the entire film, the screenplay significantly lowered the standard of the otherwise high-quality film. As such, there were a ton of scenes in the movie that could have been written better, including the scene when Alt Wanda tells Scarlett Witch, “Know that they’ll be loved”. Though I understand the line, it does not persuade me in such a way that it acts as a resolution. It appeared irrational and unconvincing. I mean there’s no way she can be changed and realize what she’s doing is shady by just hearing alt Wanda’s one line.

Further, Dr. Strange’s undying love for Christine could have been better expressed in the scenes with Christine, so that more could have been conveyed;

The following are areas where the film could have been fleshed out and written better:   

  • A little breathing room would have helped build tension and drama in the first act of the film.
  • Interaction between Doctor Strange and the Illuminati
  • The complexities of Darkhold, the Book of Vishanti could have been explored better
  • Illuminati characters
  • Better 2nd act
  • American Chavez character
  • Dr. Strange and Christine’s troubling relationship
  • Scarlett Witch character exploration
  • The ending; is non-sensical

Even though Sam Raimi poured all his talent into the film, there is still some residue left over. The worst part is, that Multiverse of Madness apparently went through six weeks of reshoots, which might have contributed to all the disorder and mess in the end. Whatever the case, I hope marvel studios use this as a lesson and improve on their next installments.

Read: Why Spider-Man: No Way Home is Not The Best Spider-Man Movie

Unfulfilled Story Threads & Loose Ends

As you can probably see, the movie leaves a lot of uninterpreted information up to the audience for their own interpretation, rather than attempting to explain its meaning, its repercussions, and its history. Though I understand marvel is not trying to make a secret wars-level film, it’s still important to make the film as comprehensive as possible for better storytelling, and overall experience. The way I see it, this is where marvel has failed a lot of times. They leave things hanging for future installments, instead of achieving an over-arching film or tv show.

As much as I admire them for building upon an infinity-war-like event, I also believe it’s important to make films that feel “complete”, rather than just films that will act as trailers for future films.

 

More Runtime

There’s no doubt that you’re feeling the same way, and 99% of those who watched the film agree that it would have benefited greatly from more time spent on the screen. Certainly, the statement is valid. I have no idea what Marvel is thinking. On the one hand, they let films such as Eternals and Endgame expand, but on the other, they compress those that require more runtime. Multiverse of Madness most definitely would not have fallen into that mixed-bag category if it had more runtime.

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Marvel needs to recognize that films benefit from longer runtime to tell a stronger story that feels complete.

 

Forced Cameos Appearances

I understand the pleasure of seeing old iconic characters on the big screen, but it must be done in a way that makes sense of their presence and their role in the story. However, t3hat’s not exactly the case with this film. The characters did not have a significant impact on the plot of the film or appear in it to add anything. It was as if they were there just for the sake of it.

The presence of Tobey Maguire and Andrew in No Way Home is reasonable given that they’re the mentors of Tom’s Peter, but the multiverse of madness couldn’t give our characters a practical purpose.

What I Think Of The Film As A Whole:  

As far as I’m concerned, Multiverse of Madness is arguably the best-directed MCU film, which delivers peak ambition, peak visuals, and incredible performances yet is corrupted by subpar writing and aforementioned reasons that undercut the film and detract from the overall experience.

 

Doctor Strange vs Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness :

Doctor Strange vs Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

In regards to direction, and visuals; I will say it’s Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. In contrast, Doctor Strange still carries the storytelling crown in comparison to Multiverse of Madness, which stalls in the storytelling department. If you ask me which is my favorite; It would have to be Doctor Strange, with its harmonious narrative, better screenplay, distinctive dialogue writing, great visuals, and great direction, all of which combine to create a better film than Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.

It’s one simple principle; a film’s quality is determined by its script, which is the heart of every film. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness only faces one problem: the script.

Read: How Hulk Could Become A Better Character In MCU (Fan Theory)

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