What do the critics think of Dr. Strange in the Multiverse of Madness?

(Courtesy Marvel)

Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness officially hits theaters on May 6, 2022, with some showtimes in some markets as early as May 5. Fans waited, and waited, and waited for this movie to finally come out.

The Covid-19 global pandemic threw a wrench on all our MCU plans, knocking release dates further and further into the future. The film, which stars Benedict Cumberbatch as the titular Doctor Strange, was initially supposed to hit theaters in 2021.

The pandemic brought a whole host of problems for the film and there were some delays in filming, which caused the first release delay to be announced in April, 2020. The movie was initially delayed until March 25, 2022, and then in October 2021, it was announced that Multiverse of Madness was delayed again until May 6, with no further delays. 

In Spider-Man: No Way Home, Doctor Strange cast a spell for Peter Parker, which accidentally cracked open the multiverse. We thought that Strange was able to fix the issue by the end of the film, but it seems the multiverse is causing some issues for our hero.

Strange partners up with Sorcerer Supreme Wong (Benedict Wong), Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen), and new friend America Chavez (Xochitl Gomez) to help him battle a “mysterious adversary.” Multiverse of Madness was directed by Sam Raimi and written by Michael Waldron.

The wait is almost over, but some very lucky critics caught the film at the Hollywood premiere. Multiverse of Madness premiered at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood on May 2, 2022, and will be released in the United States on May 6, as part of Phase Four of the MCU. At the time this was written, Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness is ranking 81% Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes based on 142 Reviews Here’s what critics are saying:

Richard Roeper from Chicago Sun-Times says, “With the deadpan-great Benedict Cumberbatch effortlessly sliding back into the role of the brilliant and immensely powerful but sometimes shortsighted and narcissistic Doctor Stephen Strange and a bizarro plot that serves up philosophical, ethical and spiritual mind games in between the sometimes repetitive but slick and exhilarating action sequences, this is one of the weirder Marvel movies yet.”

Alonso Duralde from TheWrap said, “The follow-up to 2016’s Doctor Strange hits the ooh-and-aah marks we expect from a well-crafted Marvel adventure”

Richard Lawson from Vanity Fair believes, “Multiverse of Madness hurtles its characters from one reality to another, shedding the blandness of its opening stretch and giving Raimi, bless him, room to do things his way. As the film unfolds, Raimi’s hiring proves ever more inspired.”

Dan Jolin from Empire Magazine said, “The Multiverse Of Madness” is noisy, frantic and at times a little messy, but it’s never less than entertaining. The MCU faithful will cheer its numerous call-backs; Raimi-heads will groove on its Raiminess; and we suspect even those bewildered, unprimed viewers will at least appreciate the way it 100 per cent lives up to its title.

Brian Truitt from USA Today said, “While the Marvel-ness of “Madness” will make your head spin, Raimi’s signature style, penchant for the macabre and sense of humor oddly ground the film. Scenes that feel akin to his Tobey Maguire Spider-films of the early 2000s – and the zombies, demons, monsters and schlocky weirdness reminiscent of “Evil Dead” and “Drag Me to Hell” – almost seem nostalgic.”

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Justin Chang from Los Angeles Times says, “There are also some deliciously pustular visions, including a few zombie- and wraith-like denizens who wouldn’t look out of place in Raimi’s “Evil Dead” movies. If Scott Derrickson, the director of 2016’s Doctor Strange, teased out the altered states and Far East mysticism in Steve Ditko and Stan Lee’s original comic books, then Raimi has found in this sequel a surprisingly accommodating vehicle for his ecstatic love of horror filmmaking (to say nothing of a darkly exultant score by Danny Elfman).”

Stephanie Zacharek from TIME Magazine declared, “And even in the midst of its typically (for Marvel movies) convoluted plot, The Multiverse of Madness has a Raimi-like sense of bleak humor: Dr. Stephen Strange, a flawed superhero who often does the wrong thing for the right reasons, is again played, as in the 2016 movie preceding this one, by Benedict Cumberbatch. Again, he plays the character with one eyebrow perpetually arched, as it should be.”

Owen Gleiberman from Variety said, “What they did to the physical world Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness does to storytelling. It’s a movie set in several universes at once, and it keeps shooting off into ever more insane dimensions of alternate reality. Its story doesn’t develop so much as it multiplies. In theory, this should multiply the fun, though that’s not necessarily the way it works out. Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness is a ride, a head trip, a CGI horror jam, a what-is-reality Marvel brainteaser and, at moments, a bit of an ordeal. It’s a somewhat engaging mess, but a mess all the same.”

Of course, if you’re unfamiliar with the MCU’s phase 4, and you have no clue what the heck is going on, it’s possible to totally hate the film. Here are a couple of critics who didn’t especially love the film. 

Johnny Oleksinski from New York Post said, “The Marvel Cinematic Universe has officially jumped the Stark.

Its wobbly Phase Four (Eternals was vile, Black Widow was OK, Shang-Chi was a lot of fun) has been joined by one of the worst films so far in the bloated 27-movie franchise — not to mention one of the worst of the year — Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.

That, unbelievably, is a movie title and not a doctoral student’s 250-page dissertation.”

Jocelyn Noveck from Associated Press agreed, “After Infinity War and Endgame, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness feels a little bit like wheel spinning. Cumberbatch has fun with his character, but his limitless ego seems to have been a little muted here as he grapples with his own happiness. And that invites more questions, like do we ultimately care about whether or not Doctor Strange is happy? Does he? Could everyone just use some post blip therapy instead of these interdimensional bottle episodes?

Perhaps the Marvel universe is finally starting to feel like a long running comic book series. Or maybe Phase 4 just hasn’t kicked into gear just yet.”

True believers will be flocking to the theaters this Mother’s Day weekend to see Doctor Strange and his merry band of witches, wizards, and surprising newcomers save the universe, once again. We will also stay until the end of all the credits because there are TWO post credit scenes. Once again Marvel’s Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness hits theaters May 6, 2022. 

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