“Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” has officially concluded its world premiere and the first reactions for the new entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe are pouring in online, with film journalists calling the long-awaited sequel everything from a film that “fully goes horror” to “a mixed bag.” One thing almost everyone seems to agree on is that it’s nice to see Sam Raimi back in the director’s chair.
Benedict Cumberbatch reprises the title role in “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness,” which is helmed by Raimi. The film picks up after the events of “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” in which Stephen Strange changed the face of reality by opening up the multiverse. Now, Strange is forced to team up with old and new allies as he ventures into the multiverse to face a new enemy. The film co-stars Elizabeth Olsen, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Benedict Wong, Xochitl Gomez, Michael Stuhlbarg and Rachel McAdams.
Variety’s senior awards editor Clayton Davis said Marvel fans “finally got their horror movie,” teasing a bit of body horror involving face displacement.
Welp! Marvel fans finally got their horror movie. #DoctorStrangeInTheMultiverseOfMadness is a dark & wildly imaginative creation from the twisted and brilliant mind of Sam Raimi. Dug the hell out of it. Study up on your comic book knowledge…Superhero fans will lose their faces! pic.twitter.com/TkwwInCz4W
— Clayton Davis – Stand with 🇺🇦 (@ByClaytonDavis) May 3, 2022
Critic and Variety contributor Courtney Howard highlighted MCU newcomer Xochitl Gomez as “a scene stealer.”
#DoctorStrange is filled with hugely entertaining sequences, character-driven heft & kaleidoscopic, trippy visuals. Xochitl Gomez is a scene stealer. Elizabeth Olsen owns. Benedict Cumberbatch, superb. Doubles as a good entry point for Beginners Horror. Has Raimi signature. pic.twitter.com/0S6tF9dP9h
— Courtney Howard (@Lulamaybelle) May 3, 2022
Gizmodo and io9’s Germain Lussier couched his praise by saying the film is “wildly disjointed, partially on purpose, so it doesn’t always work,” before highlighting the “huge surprises” it has in store.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is the weirdest, grossest Marvel movie yet. It’s wildly disjointed, partially on purpose, so it doesn’t always work but the horror, and especially Wanda, work incredibly well. Plus wow. What huge surprises. pic.twitter.com/HwZUZ4Nygw
— Germain Lussier (@GermainLussier) May 3, 2022
Critic Alex McLevy wrote that the strongest aspect of the film is Sam Raimi’s direction, implying it stands in contrast to Marvel’s usual house style.
My thoughts on #DoctorStrange 2 mostly involve my delight at Sam Raimi’s direction. That’s fun and not at all an indictment of marvel’s assembly line bs, right?
— Alex McLevy (@alexm247) May 3, 2022
The Wrap’s Drew Taylor called the sequel “totally madcap and insane” adding that it’s “easily the scariest MCU entry thus far.”
#DoctorStrange is totally madcap and insane. It’s 100% a Sam Raimi movie (which is very much appreciated), easily the scariest MCU entry thus far. Go in knowing as little as possible. Your journey to the multiverse will be much more enjoyable. 🌀 pic.twitter.com/YgbMhi1k3e
— Drew Taylor (@DrewTailored) May 3, 2022
Critic Karl Delossantos especially loved Olsen’s performance as Scarlet Witch, suggesting it might be time to kick off an Oscar campaign.
Don’t worry, Sam Raimi fans. DOCTOR STRANGE IN THE MULTIVERSE OF MADNESS fully goes horror—jump scares, body horror, and a smattering of diabolical kills. It fits in the MCU but has Raimi’s deranged creepy campy groovy DNA all over it. Start the Elizabeth Olsen Oscar campaign. pic.twitter.com/jIVheGQfoY
— Karl Delossantos 🔜 Cannes (@karl_delo) May 3, 2022
Brian Tallerico, editor at RogerEbert.com, kept his apathy simple, writing “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Mehness.”
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Mehness
Back to working on my review…
— Brian Tallerico (@Brian_Tallerico) May 3, 2022
For Marvel movie fans, “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” is a much-anticipated event, not only for the MCU twists it has in store (see all the discussions around the inclusion of the Illuminati) but also because it marks Raimi’s first superhero film since he wrapped up his “Spider-Man” trilogy.
“Marvel allowed me complete creative freedom,” Raimi recently told Rolling Stone. “However, it had to follow so many things in Marvel lore, [so] even though I had complete freedom, the previous movies and where Marvel wants to go in the future really directed the path in an incredibly specific way. Within those parameters I have freedom, but I’ve got to tell the story of those characters in a way that ties in with all of the properties simultaneously.”
“Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” opens in theaters nationwide May 6.
Check out a handful of first reactions for the latest MCU tentpole in the posts below:
#DoctorStrange #MultiverseOfMadness is a spectacle but this mid-table Marvel is a mixed bag. Kicking off summer movie season, the sequel delivers rich visuals and a pretzel-esq narrative, throwing up some neat surprises. Raimi embracing his horror roots is welcome and bold win. pic.twitter.com/E7PpUY0NJ3
— Simon Thompson (@ShowbizSimon) May 3, 2022
I most enjoyed how ambitious #DoctorStrange is. How it swings for the fences & how it’s lighter on humor & leans more into the evil of it all. That’s where Raimi really has some fun. Ultimately a film about being pulled toward darkness & the fight to keep it from engulfing us pic.twitter.com/wiwkw5yKjm
— Erik Davis (@ErikDavis) May 3, 2022
Some fun Raimi shtick in that crummy looking mostly incoherent slog.
— matt lynch (@colonelmortimer) May 3, 2022
#MultiverseOfMadness very much feels like a both a Sam Raimi movie and a day in the life of #DoctorStrange
It’s the MCU formula perfected IMO: despite the franchise/multiversal implications and reveals, the film is very much self-contained and focused on its own story and style. pic.twitter.com/OTNhBbGpbI
— Eric Italiano (@ericitaIiano) May 3, 2022
#DoctorStrange: MARVEL MADE A HORROR MOVIE! It’s weird, scary and earns the title “Multiverse of Madness.” If you were at all concerned this movie wouldn’t feel Sam Raimi enough, fear not! I can’t imagine a more Sam Raimi MCU film. My genre loving heart is bursting right now. pic.twitter.com/9we5vMpXhy
— Perri Nemiroff (@PNemiroff) May 3, 2022
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