Right, this one I’m going to have to make a much more vague and shorter review because I think it’s best to go into this film with minimal spoilers. I think the team has done an excellent job at not giving away too much about the film..
This is now the second Doctor Strange movie and takes place after the events of Spiderman: No Way Home. But this film doesn’t have a returning director, so this time the directing duties go to Sam Raimi, who has directed films like the original Spiderman trilogy as well as Evil Dead. Personally, considering his pedigree and his career to date, I actually thought that he was an excellent choice to do a Doctor Strange film because I think he’s really good at visual storytelling.
Other than that, most of the cast do return from the previous Doctor Strange films including Benedict Cumberbatch, Benedict Wong, and Rachel McAdams. I will say that I think they all gave great performances, and I even think that this is Benedict Cumberbatch’s greatest MCU performance to date!
Obviously, the fact that this movie is going a bit further into the multiverse aspect (similar to No Way Home), means that there is a lot to obviously talk about.. But that would involve giving away spoilers, so I’m not really going to go into spoilers of what characters appear in it or even really what the plot line is- I saw a few trailers for this and the plot line still took me for a loop. The only one I’ll talk about in particular is the fact that the Scarlet Witch is in this film and is of course still played by Elizabeth Olsen.
Now, let me put it to you this way in regards to if you need to see WandaVision on Disney Plus prior to seeing this movie: No you don’t.. You can follow this movie- But it helps, since part of her character arc is tied into the events of that story. In fact, this is kind of a double sequel, kind of a sequel to WandaVision as well as Doctor Strange. But as a whole, it’s really kind of its own story.
The acting as a whole is really good, and the special effects are amazing. Sam Raimi is an excellent visual director and he does a great job with this one. There are a few new characters introduced in this one, but the only one I’ll go into is the MCU’s introduction of America Chavez, played by Xochitl Gomez. I think they did a pretty good job bringing her into the MCU, she’s actually probably stayed the most intact compared to her comic self. I really think they did an excellent job with her introduction. I actually kind of like the fact that she was brought in, especially considering she’s kind of a new character even in the comics. Hopefully she’ll get into more event comics after this, because in all of the recent Marvel event comics that I have read, I don’t recall her playing a role.
I did think that Doctor Strange worked as a whole this time around, and I do think that it’s a better film than the first one overall. Though, I did have a couple of issues. I think that this film is a bit too dark in tone during some points. You can really tell that the director behind Evil Dead is working in this one. There are moments in this film that feel like they were right out of a horror movie! I also think that tying this is with WandaVision is a mistake since not everyone has or can afford to have a Disney Plus subscription, and as of right now there hasn’t been a DVD release of the series. So you are cutting out some of your audience from understanding Wanda’s motivation in this film. Like I said, you can come into this film having not seen WandaVision, but it helps.
The other issue I have is that there is a bit of a retcon, a small one, but it also brings into question some scenes from previous marvel films with this knowledge. Those of you who have seen this film might know what I’m on about. I hate to be vague but I’m doing this so people have a lot more to look forward to- it really is worth seeing. I rate it really highly. I will say that my opinion might put it in the middle portion of the overall MCU ranking. But I still think that it’s a better film than the first one, and it also puts forward some great potential ideas for Disney to put into the MCU going forward, especially considering that there is a more loose connection between movies in a post-endgame MCU.. though, I am aware that supposedly the next big team-up movie is going to be based on Secret Invasion.
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