"Doctor Strange: In the Multiverse of Madness" Feature Talkback (Spoilers)

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Fone Bone

Matt Zimmer
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Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness

Jaw drops. Do I have I have this right? A Marvel Cinematic Universe movie showcasing Doctor Strange traveling the Multiverse, AND directed by Sam Raimi is... getting a negative review? Checks head to make sure I don't have a fever. I don't. I guess this is happening.

Normally, when I take on a beloved franchise or sacred cow I tread a bit lightly. Deep down, in my heart of hearts, I am a coward when it comes to standing by my opinions. It's part of my Asperger's no doubt, but that doesn't justify the amount of weasel words I tend to use to placate fans of a movie I didn't like. Tell me if I'm wrong here. I don't think that will be necessary for this review. I have a sneaking suspicion I will not be the only one unhappy. I don't think this is the worst MCU movie. But for sure after all that build-up, it's the biggest let-down. I think this is the MCU's Phantom Menace. Now Phantom Menace heralded a HUGE decline for Star Wars, that many fans argue it never recovered from. I don't think that will be the case with the MCU, but I am well aware Eternals sucked butt too.

What went wrong? Everything. Let me tell you a messed up thing, and you'll think it's messed up because it's true. Marvel needs to take after DC regarding the Multiverse. The hell of it is, they clearly WERE in the excellent Spider-Man: No Way Home, and I expected this movie to be THAT on steroids. Not only is it far less epic and meaningful, Raimi doesn't seem to get or understand the selling point of doing the Multiverse in the first place. In his defense, the Marvel cartoons that have explored it before this have this specific movie's weaknesses about that (And Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse IS beloved, even by me, won't deny it). But No Way Home impressed me so much because I thought it was going to be a turning point for Marvel and the Multiverse.

Why is DC's Multiverse so much more compelling than Marvel's? Because DC has the versions of different continuities interact with each and cross-over in a huge memorable event, more often than not declining to hit the Total Reset Button at the end too. Basically, DC's Multiverse builds up and strengthens each project that participates in it. And everything that happens counts in the various Universes, adding to their continuity totals for as much of the Multiverse the crossover can actually get to.

Marvel on the other hand, in Spider-Verse, Ultimate Spider-Man, and now this, instead of crossing over beloved continuities and different versions of characters, they use a new and different continuity as a "representation" of the beloved ones. And these new continuities don't matter because we haven't seen them before really. This Patrick Stewart is not OUR Professor X, and does not tie the MCU to the Fox X-Men-verse's continuity at ALL. Basically, Spider-Man: No Way Home was awesome enough to make the Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield Spider-Man films (as well as Venom) MCU canon, but Raimi can't even keep the continuity of the animated "What If...?" straight. It's SO freaking frustrating. I was salivating at the idea that OUR X-Men and Deadpool exist somewhere out there. I would even tolerate Ben Affleck as Daredevil to see that (but that rumor was untrue) although not Tom Cruise as Tony Stark (another untrue rumor, this one fortunate for being so).

MCU is the franchise that gives the fans what they want. Its entire selling point is making movies that you can actually enjoy and have a good time at. If the movie had only one of these next myriads complaints, I'd deal with it and tolerate it. But it kept pissing me off bit by bit and a death of a thousand cuts of suck.

-I am not cool with making Wanda the Big Bad, much less a murderous Big Bad. Why? Because it makes me feel like I wasted my time caring about her on WandaVision. This is a plot turn that hurts the MCU at large, and it's not the only one in this film to do that.

-Paul Bettany does not appear. He's the elephant in the room, and it makes no sense for him not to be present in Wanda's dream scenario. It was clearly a case of them being unable to contract the actor, but him being entirely absent damaged whatever little credibility Wanda's violent pathos could possibly have held.

-Oh, look Captain Carter's Universe from "What If...?" is canon! Oh wait, they just coldbloodedly killed her and everyone else important in that Universe off instead, so that episode now means MUCH less in hindsight. Another example of this movie making the MCU at large worse.

-This movie gives credibility to the horrid Inhumans TV show by casting Anson Mount as Black Bolt. Granted, Mount was actually good in that role (and very little about that show was good) but really, Feige needs his head examined for reminding us that hot mess even existed.

-Mr. Fantastic is ripped to shreds. Why would I be happy to see this? I'm excited it looks like it's gonna be John Krasinski for the MCU reboot, so why bum me the hell out like that? For absolutely no storytelling gain. Makes no sense.

-Yay, Patrick Stewart as Professor X! Wait, he's not OUR Professor X? So apparently Raimi feel perfectly comfortable having Wanda snap his neck like a punk. I don't actually give a crap about what Raimi feels comfortable with there. That moment sucked. I CARE about Charles Xavier, damn it. He's not a character Raimi should ever be using as a Multiverse Red Shirt / Army Cannon Fodder Guy.

-The Darkhold Stephen here utterly contradicts "What If...?'s" version. Not only was that version looking for redemption, but he was unable to find any SURVIVING Sarahs in any Universe he encountered, which is what drove him off the deep end in the first place. You can argue that "What If...?" episode boxed in Doctor Strange's canon in the Multiverse a bit. I won't disagree. And I DO think that episode sucked. But it was considered MCU canon and can't simply be retconned or ignored because Raimi wants to go in a different direction.

-The tag with Bruce Campbell is probably gonna be widely liked however, and I'll go against the grain about THAT at least, and rag on it. It's a tribute to Evil Dead for sure, but what I don't like about it is it reminds us we are watching a movie. It breaks the reality of the franchise. Sometimes, that okay, and I would have tolerated it if the movie itself have been great, and this was a nice respite from that. The movie WASN'T great, and instead of finding it cute, I thought it damaged the world's credibility even further for one final time.

I'm shocked. I did not expect to dislike this movie. They probably also might have done better not to have billed it to us as being as consequential to the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Avengers: Endgame. Absolute Crazytalk. Set unrealistic expectations there too. Which it, of course, did not meet. **.
 
Joined
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About the film's writing, I'd like to point out that Raimi didn't write the screenplay. It was actually by Loki season one showrunner Michael Waldron, so if you have a problem with the film killing off the alternate universe versions of Professor X, Mr. Fantastic etc, blame Waldron for that.
 

Fone Bone

Matt Zimmer
Joined
Jan 19, 2004
Messages
32,686
Location
Framingham, MA
About the film's writing, I'd like to point out that Raimi didn't write the screenplay. It was actually by Loki season one showrunner Michael Waldron, so if you have a problem with the film killing off the alternate universe versions of Professor X, Mr. Fantastic etc, blame Waldron for that.
Are you suggesting Raimi had no final script approval? Because I don't buy that. I simply believe he doesn't care about those specific alternate Universe characters as much as we do. I doubt Feige does either to be honest, but the third Holland Spider-Man WAS still a loving Valentine to the first five Spidey films. This was an actual failing on the writers, producers, AND directors.
 
Joined
May 13, 2016
Messages
12,362
Are you suggesting Raimi had no final script approval? Because I don't buy that. I simply believe he doesn't care about those specific alternate Universe characters as much as we do. I doubt Feige does either to be honest, but the third Holland Spider-Man WAS still a loving Valentine to the first five Spidey films. This was an actual failing on the writers, producers AND directors.
I'm not suggesting anything as all I'm saying is that Raimi didn't write the film's screenplay plus I'm not even saying that both he and Feige are blameless on this, so there's that.
 
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