‘Dr. Strange’ delves into loss, horror

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Photos courtesy of Disney

Benedict Cumberbatch (center) stars in Marvel’s “Dr. Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.”

Ramona Shekhar, Assistant Entertainment Editor

In 2016, Marvel Studios released “Doctor Strange,” which explored the journey of an idiosyncratic individual who grows past his arrogance and fear of failure to help those in need and become one of the most powerful sorcerers in existence.

Six years later, the sequel “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” takes a new approach to the franchise by integrating multiple genres and moods into one movie. The film sends viewers on an emotional roller coaster while also introducing a host of new heroes and complex characters. Along with all these intriguing elements, “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” is a complicated and messy plot that manages to stir up a thrilling narrative.

The film picks up after the finale of “WandaVision” and the ending of “Spider-Man: No Way Home.” It opens up into a segment of Doctor Strange’s (Benedict Cumberbatch) nightmare where he is found rescuing America Chavez (Xochitl Gomez) from an inter-dimensional demon.

Strange meets this teenager once again after he finds her dangling off a balcony in Manhattan from another squid-like monster. Chavez informs Strange that not only was his nightmare real but took place in an alternate universe. She reveals that she has the ability to travel through different multiverses.

Strange considers consulting and discussing the matter with Wanda Maximoff, who in reality is tempering with chaos magic through the Darkhold.

Directed by none other than Sam Raimi, “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” infuses emotional aspects that can also be seen in Raimi’s “Spider-Man” trilogy. Maximoff is undergoing psychological turmoil after experiencing the loss of her two sons. Peter Parker also endures a similar type of trauma where he sees Uncle Ben’s death, inspiring him to follow his path as a hero.

Raimi also incorporates a few horror elements through Wanda’s character that can be seen in his earlier works such as “The Gift” and “The Evil Dead.” The film includes some occasional jump scares here and there, use of dark magic, demonic entities, and alarming scenes of bringing the dead back to life.

In spite of its flaws and rather disappointing finish, I do believe that the film did a phenomenal job with the CGI and visual effects, skillfully illustrating every transition Strange and Chavez make through various multiverses. But I would have hoped to see the film connect Strange’s faults with Maximoff’s suffering as opposed to Strange’s fixation on his complicated relationship with Christine Palmer (Rachel McAdams).

The multiversal trope has opened new doors for Marvel’s Phase 4 future blockbuster movies. “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” serves as a rendition of eccentricity for the Marvel universe. It leaves viewers bewildered in the process which only makes it stranger.