This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
philip_dt’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
On a rewatch... this is actually a very good Marvel movie and I think it might be under-appreciated...
Like many people (I'm sure), on first watch I spent way too much time trying to see what it what was setting up. With hindsight, turns out it wasn't setting up anything! Who knew?! Who WOULDN'T think that a movie with the word multiverse in the title was pivotal to a mooted "multiverse saga"?
KF has come out recently and acknowledged that they've messed this up. That they're mismanaging audience expectations in relation to this absolutely packed slate of movies and TV shows. Just what is "relevant" to the current "saga"?
To be honest, there were plenty of Infinity saga movies that did little to further the overarching storyline (Ant-man) and plenty of story threads (Mordo in DS1) that were never going to be revisited. Coming off the back of the conclusion of the Infinity saga, where the movies all tied together very closely, I think maybe audiences forgot this.
So, what we actually got here was a GREAT comicbook movie, that actually gave us some top tier sorcery action, amazing visuals, and a very neat little arc for our main character.
On the downside, we're supposed to understand that Wanda is traumatised to the point of psychosis by the loss of the children she never had (which is a big thing in the comics) but it's woefully under-developed here and she just comes across as "irrational woman". This is very bad, not just in terms of writing, but in stoking recent criticism of the MCU that boils down to "too many women".
Because this aspect of her is badly under-written, it feels like it takes a very long time for her to "come to her senses". I mean, if you hadn't seen Wandavision (again cursed with "but what is this setting up") you'd really have very little basis for understanding the extent to which she's flipped. As a result, her side of the story is a bit of a drag.
By contrast, the scenes in which Strange's character is fleshed out are really satisfying. It happens in this wonderful safe space (for Strange) via "838 Christine" and neatly avoids uncharacteristic sentimentality.
We also got to see even more of Wong, which was undoubtedly one of the best things about She-Hulk too.
I really loved the tone of this story. Some people might find the moments of levity jarring but, again, we're passed the poe-faced seriousness of Endgame. Lighten-up people, this is supposed to be fun! This guy made Evil Dead, which despite the name and reputation, is almost a parody of the sub-genre it invented! Take the Illuminati: they're just there for the coolness of it! Don't take it so seriously or try to read things into it!
I revelled in the later decent into full on Raimi-ness too. Again, I found it weird the first time around, but this time I really "got it". Zombies and evil spirits? Fantastic!
I was also impressed with how neatly the story gave itself carte blanche to do some of these whacky things through the Darkhold and an unleashed Scarlet Witch. Previously there was just a lot of allusion to her potential but this time we really got to see how over-powered she truly is and why she needed to leave the MCU.
Also, some might call it lazy writing, but introducing a MacGuffin like the Book of Vishanti, an artifact powerful enough to defeat Thanos, and then destroying it immediately seems, again, more like parody to me!
Overall, I'll look forward to watching this again and I'll look forward to seeing Strange, Wong and America return in the future.