Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness ★★★★½

Upon rewatch - and after having explored a little bit more of Sam Raimi's previous filmography - I can appreciate Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness even further.

It's unquestionably a Sam Raimi film. It feels like a celebration of his career as a whole, with bits from the Evil Dead and Spider-Man trilogies alike. The color scheming of New York, the epic suiting up scenes, the cartoonish effects, the exciting montages, the creature POV shots, rad lines being captured in the raddest way possible, and oh, the dutch tilts. Almost every signature he has as a director visibly shows up here at one time or another. And even some of the classic iconographies, such as undead decaying corpses rising up from their graves, horrifying and agonizing deaths, sassy ever-taunting evil spirits, scary reflections of oneself, and malignant books end up making appearances. Even Bruce Campbell fighting his own hand! It's very much a love letter to his own filmography.

Was he in complete creative control? Obviously not. Is this sanitized from his vision? Maybe a little. Ol' Kevin's High Budget Heavens have their content machine's maximum-numbers philosophy to tend to, and letting Sam go full R- or X-rated splatter horror in a franchise that has 10-year olds included in its target audience was never going to happen. However, saying that his name is only a decoration here is willfully ignoring every signature he leaves in the movie. His artistic vision is present through and through. Honestly, given how much this goes back to his horror roots, I'd argue that it is more of an auteuristic display than the Spider-Man films.

And, as stated in the previous review, Multiverse of Madness does tell compelling stories, even shoved within The Big K's Superhero Buffet hype machine. Especially as this is one of the biggest set-ups for this theatrical TV Show's next season, having to do plenty of mechanics explanations and introduce big players. Still, it has interesting directions for every character involved, journeys that do feel like they will have a lasting impact on them.

Among some of the other awesome things it has, are: One of the best performances in the franchise in Elizabeth Olsen's terrific (and terrifying) Scarlet Witch; Killer visual and sound effects; Extremely entertaining dialogue and action; Some solid jumpscares; Some chilling and brutal kills; The editing being hilarious every now and then; An insanely good comic-bookish aesthetic and sceneries; and a darn awesome Danny Elfman score.

But most importantly, it's just a great time.

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is one of the MCU's strongest outings. And heck, it's this close to being my favorite. It actually improves with a rewatch, even without the key marketing points of hype for cameos and the novelty of a crowded, rabid theatre experience. It's a very high 4.5, and that is me... Being reasonable.

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