“Multiverse of Madness” brings horror to MCU

Sam Raimi directs Marvel’s darkest movie yet

Mason Brooks, Staff Writer

Disney’s new Doctor Strange movie, directed by Sam Raimi and starring Benedict Cumberbatch, is now showing in theaters. (Shianne Heeraman)

Once the hysterical hype surrounding the Infinity Saga died down, the Marvel Cinematic Universe was left with one question: “What’s next?” 

Luckily for fans, the MCU was far from finished. After taking a few films to regain composure, the comic book king returned to its throne with December’s “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” a record-smashing film that united fans and critics alike. Fresh off the “Spider-Man” train, “Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness” once again brings the mystical magic of Marvel to the big screen.

Marvel fans were ecstatic when English actor Benedict Cumberbatch joined cinema’s highest-grossing franchise in late 2016. Debuting in his solo film, “Doctor Strange,” Cumberbatch wowed audiences with his new take on a classic character. The 2016 film offered a competent origin story and out-of-this-world visuals. It did not take long for fans to clamor for a sequel. Just under six years later, that sequel arrived.

This film follows Dr. Strange and his allies on an inter-dimensional adventure – aimed at stopping a powerful sorceress from stealing the power to travel to other universes for herself. 

“Multiverse of Madness” delivers all the action you have come to expect from these films, but this time with a much more somber tone, one that resembles the sorrow of “Infinity War.” Each lead explores the demons they have endured over the last few films. Wanda faces the intense sorrow of losing her sons, while Strange deals with doubt over his decisions in “Infinity War.”

The film’s intensity does not end on an emotional level; this movie is violent. Heads explode, bodies are impaled and one character is even cut in half…Darth Maul style. Of course, the violence is creatively covered to keep the ever-important PG-13 rating, but that does not mean these scenes will not make some fans wince. For many comic book fans, this may be something to be excited about. As the Marvel audience ages, many consider it time for the more mature themes to enter the MCU.

If violence and sorrow were not intense enough, maybe the horror will do the trick. “Multiverse of Madness” boasts Marvel’s darkest concepts to date. 

In classic Sam Raimi style, the film features some truly horrifying sequences. Witchcraft takes center stage in this story as the film’s main villain employs the use of a demonic book known as the “Darkhold.” This ancient evil text allows the reader to cast spells of possession and even control the dead. Dr. Strange and his allies find themselves battling all kinds of terrifying forces, from the spirits of the damned to ten-foot-tall demonic brutes. 

“Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness” does an excellent job at shaking up the Marvel formula, while remaining true to what makes these movies so much fun. The dashes of horror and intense action go a long way to making this film a memorable addition to the ever-expanding MCU archive. 

Dark elements aside, this film offers excellent action, superb magic and a surprising amount of emotional depth for a film about scary witches and interdimensional portals. Whether a Marvel fan or simply someone who enjoys blockbusters, this is one adventure not to miss.

“Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness” is rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, frightening images and some language.