The depth of current themes such as trauma, grief, mental illness, prejudice, inclusion, and hope has been at the heart of the stories of Marvel‘s heroes for over a decade now, so they’ve rewritten what was once scorned by “superhero movies.” ” for quality works. That’s right, quality. The complicated and intricate conjunction of this universe, with so many plots and parallel characters, is stitched together with such precision that the metaphor of having the best surgeon – Dr. Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) – “protecting the universe” while posing as a rallying point for Phase 4 is perfect. The entry and exit of characters and sewing of the “multiverses” are, effectively, surgical and the anticipated Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness proves it.
I can’t avoid SPOILERS, but I won’t talk about easter eggs or surprises or just the plot. Here’s the warning.
The celebrated direction of Sam Raimi, whose dark side and horror films end up being his signature, fit perfectly for this moment in history, although it also has – in my view – distracted me with self-references or quotes from classics. It’s an unpopular and very personal opinion, but I agree that Raimi talks to this phase of the Marvel universe, much denser.
Just as we are relearning how to socialize and resume pre-pandemic routines after 2 years, our heroes and people are still dealing with the hole that snapping fingers caused, taking 5 years off people who “died” and returned to a life where they don’t fit perfectly. Those who have lost loved ones, like Wanda Maximoff (the excellent Elizabeth Olsen) sway with grief that brings anger, frustration as well as pure sadness, something Dr. Strange also identifies himself. However, the pain puts them on opposite sides.
The film is, as has been said, the immediate sequel to WandaVision and demands that the series have been seen to understand what is happening, even more than Spiderman or Loki. If you haven’t seen it yet, there are only six episodes and the most original storytelling in recent years.
But, with spoilers, we find Wanda, now the Scarlet Witch, studying how not only can she enter one of the multiverses where her children are alive, but also gain the power to navigate through them (to be able to protect her family ). As her motivation is selfish and painful, it obviously brings chaos to the entire multiverse, leading Dr. Strange to act.
Benedict Cumberbatch is charming as Dr. Strange, yet another arrogant and lonely character. He is a man who also deals with loss, so he has sympathy for Wanda, after all, she lost her parents, and her twin brother and was forced to personally kill the love of her life, Vision (Paul Bettany). After returning from the 5 years he turned to dust, Strange grapples with the charge of his “this is the only way” strategy that saved the planet at the cost of the lives of thousands, including Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr). In addition, he lost his “position” of Supreme Master (which seems fair to me) to Wong (Benedict Wong) and the love of his life, doctor Christine Palmer (Rachel McAdams), who married another. The hero’s journey here is emotional as it speaks to his deepest trauma, reveals his vulnerability and loneliness, his misjudgments but, essentially, his willingness to get it right.
There’s a lot to talk about in the film, but here’s the praise for the Marvel studios that managed to bring fun and reflection to the same scenario, with stars that mirror that depth and at the same time entertain us and take us away from our own pain and trauma for some hours. The film brings together infinite universes, concluding with hope and new characters. That’s for another post!