Pulsating, emotional, spectacular, and filled with non-stop action and jaw-dropping special effects, Sam Raimi's sequel shows that Marvel isn't done with wowing fans just yet.
Benedict Cumberbatch and Elizabeth Olsen are simply awesome in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. As the title suggests, the insanity of what plays out dazes the senses, and it is only balanced by a riveting script with touching moments to spare.
While Scott Derrickson introduced fans to the mind-bending world of the mystic arts in the first part, Raimi goes totally bonkers here, unloading visual spectacle after visual spectacle, adding a little element of horror along the way.
The film opens with an other-worldly fight sequence and from then on, sucks the viewer into this immersive world of powerful sorcerers, enchanting creatures, and a stupendous antagonist.
Doctor Strange and Wong are forced to protect a young girl named America Chavez (Xochiti Gomez) when she comes crashing into their universe, with a foe more powerful than anyone could have imagined hot on her tail.
The protagonist enlists the help of Wanda Maximoff (Olsen) to help him in his quest as Kamar-Taj mounts a defence the likes of which the world has never seen before.
Strange unwittingly journeys through different multiverses, meeting some unforgettable characters and fighting for his life the way he has never had to.
Even though he has become more powerful, the hero realises that his enemy this time around is one who may never be defeated and he must be ready to make the ultimate sacrifice if it means defending the entire multiverse.
Sam Raimi employs some old-school techniques here while taking fans deep into what is unarguably Marvel's darkest movie yet.
There is the signature humour but that is almost insignificant compared with the overall tone, which is most welcome by the way.
The villain is unveiled early on and is someone I never expected. Which brings me to this; a lot has been revealed in the trailers but fans should get ready for a lot more.
As is the MCU tradition, some notable individuals from the comics appear here; some I expected given the trailers, while a few blew me away.
Amid the chaos, visual slugfest, and colourful worlds, this film also shines when it takes a breather to focus on its dramatic moments. This is where the antagonist comes in.
It has been said that Loki and Thanos are the best villains in the MCU. I make bold to say that the baddie here deserves a spot in the pantheon of villains as the person's journey and character arc is well-written and fleshed out.
Cumberbatch effortlessly plays Strange like he was born for the part (which I think he was!), showing the hero's conflict, victories, failures, weaknesses, and doubts. I just love watching the dude do his thing.
The actress who plays America Chavez does a commendable job but I was disappointed with her powers which were touted to be something great but ended up being limited somewhat.
Benedict Wong as Wong does more here than he did in the first part, providing the much-needed comic relief at intervals and kicking some major ass a few times.
Doctor Strange's love interest Christine Palmer (Rachel McAdams) also has a more pivotal role here. As in the previous chapter, she saves the hero at a crucial moment.
I won't forget the amazing Olsen whose depiction of Wanda/Scarlet Witch is even more awe-inspiring than in the WandaVision show. She is one of the most important pieces in the plot and the actress nailed her role.
Saying more than I already have will only lead to me revealing spoilers (something I refuse to succumb to), so I will try to add a few more words.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is replete with OMG moments and a particularly haunting score. The entertainment value is off the charts and Marvel fans will not be disappointed.
One of the two post-credits scenes will only whet the insatiable appetites of fans. I regret to say the other is just there to waste your time.
With pulse-pounding action, a resonating theme, stellar performances, unbelievable visuals, and a director who knows how to make you spell-bound, this sequel is one that lives up to expectations.