We watched Dr. Strange in the Multiverse of Madness on Saturday night, and I appreciated it for what it was. How do you go wrong, really, with a cast along the lines of Benedict Cumberbatch, Elizabeth Olsen, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Benedict Wong, Rachel MacAdams and newcomer Xochitl Gomez?
I have resigned myself to the fact that the Stephen Strange of my youth has left the building. “My” Dr. Strange would be more likely to shout “By the hoary hosts of Hogarth!” when alarmed, as opposed to “S#!+!” and he had no sense of humor, so some of this character’s wisecracks feel like something out of Tony Stark’s mouth in an Iron Man movie.
Be that as it may, this latest Marvel movie is entertaining — although I’m not sure I would take children to see it, as some of the scarier imagery made Red blanch — and a couple of new characters made my comic-book geek soul soar, played by John Krasinski and Charlize Theron (to keep spoilers at bay).
You need to be at least familiar with the Disney+ series WandaVision to fully understand the plot, which extends the TV show’s exploration of how grief affects a superhero’s psyche. I do hope the denouement of this film brings that episode to a close so that, if Elizabeth Olsen reprises the role, we can go back to seeing her as the powerful force for good that she has been in the past. (Her seething delivery of the line, “You took everything from me,” remains one of my bone-chilling favorite moments of Avengers: Endgame.)
Oh, and that one-eyed monster in the movie’s opening scenes was so spot-on Ditkoesque that I’m pretty sure that delighted childish squeal I heard came from me.