The Doctor Strange sequel is one of the worst of the year

The Marvel Cinematic Universe has officially left the Stark.

Its shaky phase four (“Eternals” was mean, “Black Widow” was OK, “Shang-Chi” was a lot of fun) was accompanied by one of the worst films in the bloated 27-film franchise – not to mention one the worst of the year – “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness”.

Incredibly, this is a movie title and not a 250-page graduate student dissertation.

Movie review

Running time: 126 minutes. Rated PG-13 (Intense sequences of violence and action, terrifying visuals and some language.) In cinemas.

Now we have a firsthand idea of ​​what it was like to witness the fall of the Roman Empire. Marvel was once one of the safest things in Hollywood, qualitatively. A lousy movie was released here and there, sure, but in general there was a basic standard that was usually met. Black Panther was nominated for an Oscar for Best Picture in 2018.

Now, with the money-hungry studio pumping out endless TV shows and annual movies like Instant Pots at Christmas, the MCU has sunk into a mindless parade of overstuffed clothes.

A film as incompetent as Doctor Strange 2 could only result from executives being too thinly distributed to actually read the script. Anyone who tells you the story makes any sense is probably a family member of writer Michael Waldron.

Benedict Cumberbatch returns as the magical Doctor Stephen Strange "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness."
Benedict Cumberbatch returns as the magical Doctor Stephen Strange in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.
AP

Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) is back, enchanting Bleecker Street, jumping through magical circles of fire with Wong (Benedict Wong) and performing his crazy trick that was way more entertaining in the 2016 film.

This time he meets America Chavez (Xochitl Gomez, personalityless), a superhero who can hop between realities in the “multiverse” – a word that should make you cringe. The goofy “multiverse” turns into Marvel’s pesky houseguest who doesn’t want to leave. Once again we visit a series of alternate realities, meet bizarre versions of the main character and are overcome with confusion.

At one point towards the end of this film, Strange says, “There could be another, another, other me.” That’s the conspiracy and dialogue that you get for $200 million.

Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) wants to blow up the multiverse.
Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) wants to blow up the multiverse.
AP

The different versions of Earth are pretty lame too. An alternative Manhattan is covered in flowers for some reason, and damn it you drive through red lights and stop on green.

The kind of villain is Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen), who wants to live forever in one of the multiverses because she’s a mother there with two cute little kids.

Wanda and Strange drop comic book terminology rapid fire: the Book of Vishanti, another competing tome, the Darkhold, the Illuminati. A few cameos get that sad cheer you hear at sci-fi conventions. Fan service is wonderful, but not if it means everyone else needs a manual.

Wanda's hideout looks like Tao's dining room.
Wanda’s hideout looks like the dining room in the Tao.
AP

Many diehards, in their slavish, zombie-like submission to the MCU gods, will tell you that Sam Raimi (brilliant in 2002’s Spider-Man) directed a horror film. Lie! It’s as creepy and visually arresting as Van Helsing, Underworld, and Hellboy 2. There are inexplicable ogre minions, a flying bird made of corpses, and Wanda’s evil lair is just Tao’s dining room. Everything, including the overabundance of CGI, is ugly as sin. Wanda transforms into Carrie White for a spell, but it mostly comes down to insulting Brian DePalma.

Strange is by far the least likable character in the MCU because he shows little to no emotion and magic is too formidable a power. Even though his lover Christina (Rachel McAdams) is back to give this talking block of dry ice something to fight for, there’s no drive for the character and her incomprehensible story. All Cumberbatch can do is deposit his paycheck with Chase.

As much as Raimi and Marvel try to make Doctor Strange epic, on a larger scale he’s smaller than Doogie Howser, MD

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