This particular Doctor Strange movie is an odd duck. It infuses traditional Marvel/MCU superhero stuff with a psychological horror vibe–and zombies–which is great if you’re a fan of director Sam Raimi’s horror franchise The Evil Dead, and not so great if you aren’t. I’m a huge fan of Benedict Cumberbatch in most any role, including Stephen Strange, so I can cut the film some slack. But horror’s really not my thing. I prefer my Avengers more grounded in reality–even if that ‘reality’ involves parallel universes and alternate versions of themselves (see: Spider-Man: No Way Home).

Doctor Strange in the MoM picks up a few months after the events of No Way Home. In that flick, a fun assortment of Peter Parker/Spideys from alternate universes show up to help fight the latest villain to threaten humanity. In Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, it’s Doctor Strange’s turn to do some universe-hopping with mystical allies and adversaries, old and new. Among the roles reprised: Sorcerer Supreme Wong (Benedict Wong); Master of the Mystic Arts Karl Mordo (Chiwetel Ejiofor); Strange’s former colleague Dr. Nic West (Michael Stühlbarg); Strange’s former flame Christine (Rachel McAdams); and Chaos Magic-maker Wanda Maximoff/The Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen). New to the scene: America Chavez (Xochitl Gomez), a plucky teenager who can travel across the multiverse and hold her own against the stuffy sarcasm of Dr. Strange.

The trailers give away glimpses of what some may consider to be spoilers; but they are vague, so I will not elaborate. I will, however, say it helps–a lot–to watch the limited series WandaVision (Disney+) before hitting the IMAX. And of course, the more Marvel films and characters you know, the better.

Bottom line: Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is worth the watch for Marvel fans, but brace yourself for a new level of darkness and quite a few moments of sensory overload. And yes – if you sit through all the credits- there are a couple of bonus scenes!

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness opens exclusively in theaters May 6.


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