Multiverse channels Oz in Marvel-ous ‘Dr. Strange’



Rated PG-13. At AMC Boston Common, Regal Fenway, AMC South Bay, Landmark Kendall Square and suburban theaters.

Grade B+

A surprisingly amusing, if additionally sometimes overlong and expository addition to the MCU, “Dr. Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” is the brainchild of its director, the comic-book buff and style veteran Sam Raimi of these traditional “Evil Dead” movies and the Toby Maguire “Spider-Man” movies. It ought to due to this fact come as no shock that this entry boasts a rotting zombie and different flamboyant, genre-film touches. This consists of a gap involving the fabled Book of Vishanti that’s so paying homage to “Lord of the Rings” that I anticipated Strange to intone the phrases, “You shall not pass.”

If you may take your eyes off of Cumberbatch’s phony hairline, you’ll discover that Master of the Mystic Arts Strange is given the care of a younger lady named America Chavez (Xochitl Gomez), whose superpower is that she will be able to leap from one universe within the multiverse to a different, an influence she can not management.

But it’s one coveted by Wanda Maximoff aka the harmful, super-powerful Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen, an enormous asset). Wanda needs to seize America a lot that she raids Dr. Strange and fellow sorcerer Wong’s (Benedict Wong) fortress and lays waste to a lot of it, killing Wong’s sorcerer troopers within the course of.

Strange and Wanda can not leap to different universes. But they’ll “dreamwalk” another person in one other world, even their different selves, utilizing the opposite particular person as a “puppet.” Strange additionally accompanies America when she opens a portal. In Wanda’s case, she makes use of one other model of herself, who’s the mom of two younger sons (Julian Hilliard and Jett Klyne), as her puppet. We hear a reference to Westview, N.J., the fictional city Wanda lives in within the TV sequence “WandaVision.”

Written by Michael Waldron (TV’s “Loki”), “Dr. Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” is a remodeling of the 1939 traditional “The Wizard of Oz” with America as a contemporary Dorothy Gale of Kansas, Wanda because the Wicked Witch of the West and Dr. Stephen Strange because the Scarecrow, the Lion and the Tin Man all rolled into one. You could recall that Raimi directed the 2013 “Oz” prequel “Oz the Great and Powerful.”

Just in time for the universe-leaping, indie hit “Everything Everywhere All At Once,” the witch chases America and Strange throughout Oz-stand-in variations of Strange’s New York City hometown, together with one by which pedestrians cross streets on the purple gentle (they try this right here, too).

Dr. Strange’s “sentient cloak” makes a superb case for being the true stand-in for Ray Bolger’s floppy-legged Scarecrow. Rachel McAdams’ love curiosity Dr. Christine Palmer is again, though she is barely essential in the beginning and finish. Also returning is Chiwetel Ejiofor as Baron Mordo, who right here leads a secret society to little impact. Cameo appearances by different characters from the Marvel universe are usually not rather more than fan service.

Considering all of the portals America and Strange fall into, it’s no marvel that Wanda’s large henchmen recall the horned demon canines of “Ghostbusters.” The steadily thundering rating is by the nice Danny Elfman. Keep an eye fixed out for a cameo by a fan-favorite Raimi common. I received’t argue for those who assume Wanda turns into the Terminator within the third act. Strange and Wong have good chemistry as soon as once more. But Wong doesn’t determine as a lot he ought to.

In one little bit of supernatural whimsy, Dr. Strange hurls notes from piano sheet music at Wanda like razors, whereas she recombines them and hurls them again at him, making the sound of Bach’s Toccata & Fugue in D Minor.

I say the true wizard of this fortunately demented “Dr. Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” is its director.

(“Dr. Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” comprises violence and disturbing pictures.)

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