The newest American superhero film, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, released recently, as the sequel to Doctor Strange (2016). The film brings back Benedict Cumberbatch, as he reprises his role as the title character, Dr. Stephen Strange, in a story that unfolds with him trying to protect a young traveller with special powers.

The movie based on Marvel Comics, marks the 28th feature film, as part of phase four, in the popular Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), as it follows the characters fans know, while introducing a few fresh faces, in a story that shows the characters navigate their way through a new threat.

The story centred on the title character Dr. Strange, also stars Benedict Wong as Wong, the Sorcerer Supreme, Strange’s trusted ally, Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda Maximoff (Scarlet Witch), a powerful former avenger, who has gone rogue, now has a new plan, and will do anything to get her hands on the powers she wants. Wanda’s character follows the events of Wanda Vision (2021) and shows that she has acquired the Darkhold. Rachel McAdams stars as Christine Palmer, the one woman Strange has feelings for but did not pursue in the previous film, and now regrets his decision, as he sees her move on.

Xochitl Gomez stars as America Chavez, a teenager from the universe known as the Utopian Parallel, who holds the power to travel between dimensions. Strange takes it upon himself to protect her, from danger, with the Scarlet Witch, on her trail, trying to acquire her powers. Meanwhile, Chiwetel Ejiofor plays Karl Mordo, the Sorcerer Supreme of Earth-838 and Patrick Stewart stars as Charles Xavier (Professor X), in a short but prominent role, alongside several other members of the film’s skilled cast of stars.

The story this time introduces America Chavez, as she is pursued by a dangerous monster, for her power, which allows her to travel through the multiverse, which in the wrong hands, could result in the lives of countless being lost. Strange takes it upon himself to find a way to protect her. The film is filled with action and adventure, as the lead characters travel between the multiverse, encountering friends and enemies along the way, as they try to find a way to survive the clutches of the Scarlet Witch.

The film opens and embraces the infinite possibilities in the multiverse, and explores several realms within it, as each portal in the multiverse features similar characters, living a different reality, with some similarities that make them relatable to each other.

This is a film that shows a threat that emerges and immediately dives into the core plot, with an enemy who is portrayed as being too powerful for Strange and his team to challenge. While the story centres around action, the film has strong dialogue and drama, as America Chavez is show as someone who needs to develop trust, while Wanda is portrayed with more emotional depth, as a character who is consumed by her past. The movie delivers well developed characters in a story that is well-rounded, supported by a dynamic cast.

The 126 minute film by renowned director Sam Raimi, was made together with producer Kevin Feige, working in collaboration with production company Marvel Studios, with a budget of US$200 million. The film proved to be a financial success, easily earning over 229 million in less than a week of itstheatrical opening, with releases dates in several countries still ahead. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness proved to be yet another successful film in the MCU, that is backed by positive reviews, with 75 per cent featured on Rotten Tomatoes, 61 per cent on Metacritic and 7.5/10 on IMDb. The film has received mostly positive reviews, with many praising the performance by the film’s lead cast, visual effects, and director Raimi’s overall direction.

Sam Raimi seems to have made the film his own, with his experience in directing the Spider-Man Trilogy (2002-2007), proving to be an asset, which may have shaped some components of the film, like the first action sequence, which shows Strange spring into action, to fight the octopus demon.

Filmed in several locations in England and in Los Angeles, United States, the PG-13 rated film, takes viewers on an engaging adventure through the multiverse, as it explores beyond the events of Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021), and allows viewers to journey through the multiverse, while enjoying the superhero action that fans expect.

By Nirupa Mohan Dore