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  • Imprint of Raimi’s horror poetics


  • Visible CGI trick scenes

Six years ago, a new adept of the master of mystical arts entered the Marvel University Doctor Strange. Now this universe, in the sequel to this comic book superhero, is turning into a multiverse, as alternative versions of acting characters meet in parallel worlds.

The animated Spider-Man: Parallel Worlds has already come up with a similar multi-universe concept, and last year Spider-Man: Homelesswhich brought together actors from all three Spider-Man series, the last of which he closed.

Serial exhibition

The director of the first of these, the Spider Man trilogy with Tobey Maguire in the lead role, was Sam Raimi. A horror director, famous for his three films about Deadly Evil, who also started a wave of superhero titles. Now, in the duo of Doctor Strange, he returns to both genres and manages to imprint a piece of his poetics on this fabric. Whether it’s an atmosphere reminiscent of a scary nightmare or your sense of black humor.

Originally, the sequel to The Wizard’s Adventures was to be directed by Scott Derrickson, who was number one, but was replaced by Raimi, who lost the opportunity to shoot a fourth Spider-Man years ago due to creative disagreements. The launch of Doctor Strange’s second year ago in May was delayed by the pandemic and the postponed prime minister of Spidey Homeless, which precedes him in time.

Screenwriter Michael Waldron (Rick and Morty, Loki) throws us in the middle of the story as he moves us from what looks like Doctor Strange’s dream to a reality that is a continuation of that dream, or rather another version of it in another reality.

The exposition is missing, the creators rely on the knowledge not only of previous films within the MCU, but also of the Marvel series. Intertwined with the animated series What If …? through the evil version of Doctor Strange, Lokim and especially the mini series WandaVision is present here and in the latter case it will allow viewers to better understand the behavior shown by former Avengers member Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen).

The desire to be a mother

Suffice it to mention the events in Vestview and her two children, and the visit of Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) to her after the invasion of demons pursuing his new protégé, Americas Chavez (Xochitl Gomez), turns into a threat to him and her. Hispanic teenager America has the gift of traveling between dimensions and Wanda wants to fulfill her crazy desire for motherhood through her.

It is the Wanda line that proves to be the key one for the story. The tragic heroine from the WandaVision series turns into a torn, humiliated negative, driven by sadness and irrational emotions. The struggle with internal evil is mirrored to her in Doctor Strange through his multiple versions in parallel universes.

The universe in its multiplicity thus becomes a place that serves the main characters to deal with their traumas and pains. What he does not succeed in one, he tries to save in the other, which is also the case with Strange’s relationship with his former colleague and partner Christine (Rachel McAdams). The film returns to the question of the intersections of our decisions and the consequences of the chosen paths.

Possibilities of the multiverse

Raimi uses the possibilities of the multiverse for the genre changes of the film, from fantasy to zombie horror, as well as stylistic ones, where we get from the animated introduction to the vision of floral New York. The flight through parallel dimensions and their interconnection depends on the telepathic abilities of the individual actors.

The passage through them allows screenwriters to include characters who became part of Disney’s acquisition of 20th Century Fox. Until now, they have appeared in separate comic books or series and now serve as fans of popular cameo roles.

These members of the Illuminati council also take part in action sequences that are nimble and clear, but their digital origins are too visible. Sam Raimi orchestrates fights across dimensions with the help of camera overflights and eye-catching rides.

He does not forget his horror roots, so we will see a number of scares and brutal deaths. The accessibility of the PG-13 and the movement in Marvel’s family intentions do not allow him to play a bloody gore spectacle, but he can evoke a distressing, disturbing feeling. The soundtrack of Danny Elfman, who composed the music for his first two Spider-Manes, also helps him create a haunting atmosphere.

The result is such a compromise between Raimi’s horror concept and a studio contract that commercially sells just that horror flavor. It also includes a humorous self-referential reminder by Bruce Campbell from the Deadly Evil trilogy.

The concept of a parallel universe tries to cover the simplicity of the plot and a bit of screenwriting laziness in how to work with it. It is obvious that the escapades are just beginning with him, and I firmly hope that it will not be used only as a colorful attraction.

Doctor Strange in a multitude of madness

  • Genre: comic book adaptation
  • Original name: Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness
  • USA, 2022
  • Screenplay: Michael Waldron
  • Director: Sam Raimi
  • Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch, Elizabeth Olsen, Benedict Wong, Xochitl Gomez, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Rachel McAdams, Julian Hilliard
  • Distribution: Falcon
  • Distribution premiere in the Czech Republic: 05. 05. 2022

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