Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is based on the Marvel Comics superhero of the same name. The film is a sequel to Doctor Strange and tells us the further adventures of Dr. Stephen Strange, the Master of the Mystic Arts. It is the twenty-eighth film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) and the fifth film of Phase Four. With this film, the MCU unlocks the Multiverse and pushes its boundaries further than ever before.
In July 1963, Doctor Strange made his first appearance in the Marvel Comic “Strange Tales,” issue #110, at the hands of artist Steve Ditko and writer Stan Lee. It would take 53 years before the Master of Mystic Arts would be given a Super Hero’s welcome to the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) in the 2016 film aptly titled “Doctor Strange.”
Welcome to the Multiverse
Now comes Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. This film is a sequel to Doctor Strange, but the character has meantime become a mainstay of the MCU, appearing in Avengers: Endgame, WandaVision, Spider-Man: No Way Home, and a crossover/sequel to the first season of Loki.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is different from the other films of the series in the fact that it is pushing the fantasy genre into a darker, more foreboding place.
Strange was forewarned at the very beginning of his journey into the mystic arts by The Ancient One who told him, “If I were to tell you everything, you would run from here screaming in terror.” At the time no one could have imagined how prophetic her words were, because five years later Sam Raimi, the master of terror and wizard of thrill, took the helm of the second installment of “Doctor Strange.”
Raimi is no stranger to superhero movies. He directed and produced Darkman in 1990 and the original Spider-Man trilogy. So, what brings him back to the superhero genre almost 15 years later?
Bring a little bit of horror
“When Kevin Feige announced that he wanted to bring a little bit of a horror element to ‘Doctor Strange,’ that was interesting to me,” explains Raimi. “Horror and suspense have always been fun aspects of moviemaking to me. One of the reasons I’m interested in Doctor Strange as a character is because he’s a magician. Growing up, I was a magician for kids’ parties and weddings. I really enjoyed creating illusions. A superhero who is an illusionist and a magician is of particular interest.”
Giving a hint of what’s to come, Raimi offers, “The first Doctor Strange film really opened up people’s minds, and in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, we are going to push it further. This film takes us on a journey through different realities in the Multiverse.”
The Multiverse Raimi speaks of is a series of infinite parallel universes, each home to everything that already exists, but in a different reality. Imagine many different versions of yourself living in three different versions of the reality you know, leading different lives with different outcomes to the one you are living. That is the Multiverse.
Now, with the introduction of America Chavez (Xochitl Gomez), who has the power to cross into different universes, those possibilities have increased tenfold, giving filmmakers a passport to explore the Multiverse in a way never before conceived. With that power comes all sorts of opportunities.
If Spider-Man: No Way Home was the first MCU film to bring characters from the multiverse into our universe, then Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness will be the first MCU film to send characters from our universe into the multiverse.
As in all Marvel movies, there are two post-end-titles scenes: one after the animated credits and one at the end of the credits.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness picks up a few months after the events of Spider-Man: No Way Home, and it pits familiar Marvel characters like Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) and Wong (Benedict Wong) against their greatest enemy so far… altered versions of themselves.
Wanda Maximoff has uncovered and studied a book of forbidden magic, and she begins to threaten the Multiverse as she seeks to reunite with her children. As America Chavez possesses the power to travel across the Multiverse, she becomes Wanda's target, forcing Doctor Strange into a dilemma of good and evil in order to protect America and the Multiverse.
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