Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Blandness

Written by on 05/06/2022

Barrett Brief Movie Review – Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Blandness (1 out of 4 briefcases)

Summary: Dr. Stephen Strange casts a forbidden spell that opens the doorway to the multiverse, including alternate versions of himself, whose threat to humanity is too great for the combined forces of Strange, Wong, and Wanda Maximoff.

Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy 

The Marvel Cinematic Universe. I have to admit I was a diehard when Avengers Endgame came out. However, post COVID & with the infusion of “THE MESSAGE” into every single aspect of our lives, the escapism that was once found hanging out with Iron Man, Captain America and the Avengers faded. Black Widow was an uninspired mess, I skipped both Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings & The Eternals and enjoyed Spider-Man: No Way Home for the nostalgia. Now comes the tentpole for the summer for the MCU, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, the first forte for the MCU into the fabled “multiverse”. While there was some nice cameo’s and some ok performances, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is all over the place and ultimately fails under the weight of expectation. 

Despite Infinite Possibilities, Doctor Strange Stays With The Formula

Multiverse movies are not a bad idea. In fact, for the truly talented, it can be a ridiculously good time. Many were expecting this due to the godfather of the superhero genre (Director Sam Rami) taking over the reins after the departure of the previous director. Sam Rami is truly talented, but MCU dictator Kevin Feige has a tried and true formula for his films and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, is no different. When Rami was allowed to bring some of his trademark horror to the film, that is the only time it feels fresh. Outside of that, it fits within the MCU (whether you think that is good or bad). 

So we start off in another branch of the multiverse where a different Dr Strange (all played by Benedict Cumberbatch) and America Chavez (Xochitl Gomez) trying to obtain some magic item while being chased by a demon (remember that for later). When the situation gets rough, this alternate version of Doctor Strange decides it is best to “take her power” for the greater good. Then he dies. The Chavez (who’s power is conveniently enough the ability to travel through the multiverse) ends up in our timeline being chased by the same demon while Strange is at the wedding of Dr. Christine Palmer (Rachel McAdams). Strange & Wong (Benedict Wong) intervene and save her. We get some explanations about her plight (btw Chavez is the Maguffin of this film) and as a result Strange seeks out Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) for help. Come to find out she is involved in the pursuit of young Chavez and gives Strange an ultimatum to hand her over “or else”. We cut to Dr. Strange & Wong’s temple where we get a very Marvel CGI fight scene. There are some nice horror elements that are thrown in for good measure, but they are no more that a passing scene here or there. Just before Maximoff can get Chavez, she initiates a portal to travel through multiple multiverses until they get to an alternative title “Earth 815” This timeline sees Strange die heroically defeating Thanos. Strange then bumps into Baron Mordo (Chiwetel Ejiofor) who drugs him and takes him before the Illuminati, a group who in the comics is formed by Strange. This will be, for most, the highlight of the film. The Illuminati consists of Black Bolt (Anson Mount), Captain Carter (Hayley Atwell), Captain Marvel (Lashana Lynch) & Reed Richards (John Krasinski) & Professor X (Patrick Stewart). These glorified cameos don’t last for long and end up being disappointing, as Scarlet Witch runs through all of them. In a last attempt to stop her, Doctor Strange goes to extreme lengths, inhabiting a dead version of himself to confront Wanda. The flight is rather anti-climatic and the movie just ends. It was very disjointed, so any hope of a satisfying conclusion was lost. 

I have to make special mention of how much evil is promoted in this film. We are subject to a woman using dark magic throughout the film and we see plenty of symbols and death. Demons were mentioned multiple times and at one point a character harness evil spirts to help them become stronger. The continued promotion of these ideas throughout this “family” film was rather disturbing. 

Oh and the LGBTMAP scene. Let’s just say when I watched it, I momentarily wished I lived in China, so that way I didn’t have to see it. 

 The Cast

If you seen any other Marvel film, you know what you are gonna get. If you like Benedict Cumberbatch take on Doctor Strange, you will enjoy this film. Elizabeth Olsen was given the most to work with and delivered the best performances. Xochitl Gomez was bland gen z character, not much depth there. Rachel McAdams has more to do in this film as well, but I wasn’t blow away by the performance. Everyone seemed a little checked out of this one, maybe due to the long production schedule or maybe the MCU is just stagnate at this point. We 25 films into it.  

Highs & Lows

Highs: Elizabeth Olsen performance, John Krasinski cameo

Lows: Very generalized multiverse, America Chavez 


While there was some nice cameo’s and some ok performances, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is all over the place and ultimately fails under the weight of expectation


1 out of 4 briefcases 

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