Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness ★★

35

It's pretty funny that after months of pre-release chatter such as "it's going to be a full-on Raimi movie, don't worry" and "Sam Raimi is going to be the director to break the MCU mold", we end up with a tireless exposition fest that still struggles with spectacle and character. For a multiverse film, we only see mere glimpses of any creative spark in the limitless possibilities that this story could've allowed. Instead of spending a decent amount of time in a Horror Land or Slime World, we get Not-New-York with pizza balls and swapped colors for pedestrian directions. The supposed 200 million dollar budget has to be some sort of joke. It's blatantly televisual, too, which honestly would be fine if it wasn't for the random inserts of Sam Raimi cross-fades, sprinting POV shots and canted angles, and zombie ghoulies. This isn't a film from the director of Evil Dead II or even Spider-Man 3. It's a film by the director of Oz: The Great and Powerful. His imprint is there, but he never gets a chance to let loose and roam free with the tools at his disposal. It's really fun for the 15 minutes or so of spooky vibes in the third act, but it's so tedious otherwise.

Honestly, it's too bad most of this is typical MCU garbage, with stop-and-start pacing, dreadful levels of homework, actors that *clearly* don't want to be there (and probably weren't in the same room to begin with). It seems to me that the MCU should drop the magic act of trying to lead with a director's vision as a selling point and instead stick to the producer's model. What's the point if they're going to keep them on a leash?

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