I have been reticent to shell out any money for a Marvel movie after BLACK WIDOW failed to impress and ESPECIALLY after learning about how Disney employees keep getting arrested for grooming.
However, any reservations I had about supporting a company filled with child-sex offenders were alleviated and I felt more comfortable going to see Doctor Strange In The Multiverse of Madness because a friend became manager at a local movie theater and let me see it for free.
Take that, pedophiles!
When MCU producer, Kevin Feige (Elektra) rejects the urge for diversity hires and brings in unique talents, like director Sam Raimi (Xena: Warrior Princess) they are often able to take D-Level storylines and make chicken-salad out of chicken shit.
Or in otherwords, the MCU isn't dead, yet - so long as they can continue to attract top level talent and allow them the freedom to operate within the universe that Feige has created.
So, what to think about this 14th entry into Disney's Marvel Cinematic Universe?
Unfortunately, even Sam Rami's wit and direction couldn't save this movie. Its an absolute mess. It was always going to a fucking mess after the decision was made to take the MCU out of the believably-unbelievable of stories grounded in the established universe and into "the multiverse".
Multiverses are why comicbook franchises are often forced to reset the in story universe - characters die, characters become gods, characters start banging other characters . . . everything gets too way too convoluted.
And folks, let me tell you, this movie makes things real convoluted, maybe not to the point where the entire MCU needs to be reset, but it's on that path.
Now, despite being an overcomplicated mess, the movie isn't totally without merit - for example, unlike Doctor Strange (2016), this iteration does NOT champion a white supremacist world view.
That's a good thing!
Also, without getting into any spoilers - Marvel finally acknowledges what the rest of us have known for years - White Woman Wanda Maximoff is a villain and the biggest threat to society imaginable. Because Wanda cannot control her emotions or her entitlement she brings existence itself into grave peril.
Like every crying white woman, she's willing to wreak havoc upon anything and anyone standing between her and that for which she feels owed (power that is not hers to possess).
Such a white woman move.
The film also introduces us to America Chavez, a Latinx superhero so powerful it can travel through time! Something that would've been extremely useful when the Avengers were fighting Thanos! Too bad she must've been unavailable at the time! Chavez is played by Xochitl Gomez (G.I. Jose), who brings a modicum of levity to a film that is about as charming as an evening with people who work for Disney.
In the end, not even the effervescence of a fresh-faced Latinx Superhero can save this film from its own self-inflicted wounds.
**SPOILERS AHEAD BUT SCROLL DOWN TO THE END FOR THE FINAL SCORE**
The MCU finally gives fans what they've been clamoring for - the introduction of the MCU version of "The Illuminati" (what is it with this company and associating with groups known for questionable behavior with children?). So it was doubly painful to get to see Patrick Stewart as Professor X and John Krasinski as Mr. Fantastic as part of "The Illuminati", only to have Wanda to kill them all off with only about two minutes of screen time.
What the hell? Why even have them in the movie then?
What's even more frustrating is that it appears that Marvel censored Sam Raimi by refusing him to cast his long-time friend and collaborator, Bruce Campbell for a cameo appearance. For those unaware, Campbell always shows up in Rami pictures but Marvel appears to have said "not this time" potentially because of Campbell's work to arrest people who attempt to groom minors.
It just makes me sad that the MCU has become fairly incomprehensible and the in universe canon only appears to be getting worse from hereto forth.
This film might not be the final nail in the coffin for the MCU, but it sure feels like a nail in the coffin.
Score: Utterly forgettable
Performances: Xochitl Gomez is a great addition
Cinematography: Even at his worst, Rami is still a visionary
Length: Just over 2 hours but it fucking drags
Final Score: I actually didn't see this movie.