Continuing from where we last left Doctor Strange from Spider-Man: No Way Home, Steven Strange is attempting to move forward with his life. While attempting to stay positive and move forward, he deals with the aftermath of his involvement in the fight against Thanos. Now his desire to live a perfectly normal life is soon interrupted by a huge discovery in the city, leading to him further questioning the multiverse. Based on new clues and evidence, he accepts that he cannot tackle this new mission on his own and is forced to work with both new and familiar faces. Doctor Strange is about to go on a journey unlike anything fans have seen in the Marvel cinematic universe.
I have purposely provided a vague plot outline to avoid spoilers, especially because the film makes major reveals early on. Firstly, this Marvel film has taken a big, bold step and, in my opinion, is the darkest and most violent film in the Marvel universe, mostly due to its new element of horror. When it comes to the horror aspect, the film introduces many creepy moments that may cause some viewers to jump out of their seats with fright or perhaps feel scared and disturbed. The horror aspect is something new and fresh that most fans will find joy and pleasure in; however, some families with a younger audience will be more shocked at how dark Marvel has decided to go with this new addition. The level of violence is also increased, and the film introduces a new level of dark themes, such as the supernatural, magic, dark arts and witchcraft.
While watching this feature, one thing is certain; one man has his signature written all over it. Director Sam Rami is known for his work on titles such as Drag Me to Hell, Evil Dead and the original Spider-Man series. Here, the director feels like he’s combining Evil Dead and Spider-Man into one. Some moments feel like an Evil Dead instalment, but the director still reminds the audiences that they are watching a superhero film by bringing touching moments and comedic gags to the screen.
The performances here are pleasing. Once again, I loved seeing Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange. The actor delivers a fun yet highly confident character to life and even extends his character to a whole new level. Elizabeth Olsen was also great, and many moments from the actress feel genuinely heartfelt, heavy and filled with various emotions and struggles. Visually, there are plenty of stunning moments here. Some scenes are highly wild and creative, especially aspects relating to the multiverse, creatures, and the action sequences. Composer Danny Elfman delivers a solid score that feels fitting.
Overall, this is the darkest, most violent, supernatural film from Marvel I have seen yet. I admire the film pushing new boundaries thanks to Director Sam Rami, who goes back to his roots to make a film that feels like Evil Dead and Spider-Man combined. The film has strong visuals, a solid music score and a plot that delivers plenty of surprises, unpredictability, wild creativity and heartfelt moments; however, the film’s dark and heavy tones aren’t going to fit all audiences who see it, and the same could be said about the main plot. The plot has its moments where it feels slow and slightly drags on reaching its conclusion. Some lines of dialogue are packed with magic babble, such as talking about books and spells, which isn’t going to please everyone. As a sequel, it’s extremely different and loaded with shocking yet disturbing moments, which in the end, is a welcome addition to an experience best seen on the big screen.
4th May 2022
Written by Peter Walkden
Peter Walkden at the Queensland Red Carpet preview screening at Event Cinemas Chermside
Photographer Credit: Jared Vethaak @vethaakmedia