[Review] Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness invites a darker twist to the MCU

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Benedict Cumberbatch and Elizabeth Olsen co-star in “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.” (Marvel Films/TNS)

Tatiana Ortiz, Editor

The collaboration all Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) fans have long waited for was finally released in theaters on Friday, May 6. This movie displayed Doctor Strange’s magic evolving and growing stronger with new characters that were previously mentioned in the Disney+ series “What if…” But instead of the lighthearted Doctor Strange fans have seen before, this movie showed the darker side of the MCU bringing with it a thriller-like film.

The movie follows Doctor Strange, played by Benedict Cumberbatch, as he gets introduced to a young girl who can travel through the multiverses, America Chavez, played by Xochitl Gomez. When trying to find help for Chavez, he immediately goes to Wanda, played by Elizabeth Olsen, as she has powerful magic that benefits Strange.

However, he soon finds out that Wanda has been using the Dark Hold, as was mentioned at the end of WandaVision. Soon after, it becomes well known that Wanda is searching for Chavez and hopes to use her power in order to travel to a universe where she is with her children, whom we saw in WandaVision.

This new version of Wanda, self-proclaimed the Scarlet Witch, is extremely powerful and determined. Doctor Strange recruits the help of Wong, now a Sorcerer Supreme, played by Benedict Wong, and the other magicians in Kamar-Taj. This movie explains the multiverse in complicated ways as Doctor Strange explores it when running from Scarlet Witch. Many theories and characters from “What if…” make their debut in this movie.

What interested me the most is the way that they displayed Wanda in this movie, as Wanda is my favorite character in the MCU. Since she was using the Dark Hold, she became more like Agatha Harkness from WandaVision, with her fingertips black and her new heightened magic. The strength of Wanda’s power was shown in this movie, with her destroying everything in her path and inventing dark, creative ways to reach Chavez.

The lighthearted, “reasonable” Wanda that many remember from past movies and WandaVision no longer exists in this movie. There are multiple scary scenes as Wanda is painted as the villain. I would not recommend this movie for little kids to watch as it produces eerie, thrilling scenes that may be frightful for kids. The recommended rating for this movie is set at PG-13.

Elizabeth Olsen’s performance was incredible as she took on a dynamic role that showcased the hurt and pain that Wanda has been through. Benedict Cumberbatch also displayed an epic performance as he explored his magic and feelings for Christine, played by Rachel McAdams, from the first Doctor Strange movie. The cinematography and special effects were incredible and really added to the ambiance and aesthetic of the movie.

Although sometimes complicated and confusing, as they use multiple magic terms from past movies that people may have forgotten, this movie was everything and more for Marvel fans. I, like many others, am very excited to see where Marvel takes Ms. Marvel and Doctor Strange’s journey next. And for all the Marvel fans that want more content, Thor: Love and Thunder releases Jul. 8, 2022.