Movie Review: Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

Robbie Maisch, staff writer

It’s nearing a month since the release of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, and there’s so much to be said about this thrilling film. Without going too deep into detail, the film is centered around the sorcerer Dr. Stephen Strange as he traverses the multiverse in order to protect a mysterious girl and her powers. In doing so, he encounters a dark and dangerous magic that he must seal away. 

Magic and the mystic arts have been a prominent theme throughout the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and especially so since the introduction of Doctor Strange in his first movie. In Multiverse of Madness however, an entirely new spin is taken on this theme. Instead of focusing on the benevolent powers of magic, such as teleportation, time travel, flying capes, etc., this film focuses largely on the much darker sides. Though once an immensely present theme in Marvel’s history, the darker sides of characters have largely been lost in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, as Marvel films have gradually moved away from serious, intense conflicts to more lighthearted and easy-to-watch ones. Multiverse of Madness breaks this trend entirely however, and is unafraid to delve right into the dark side of Marvel. Where Marvel movies typically have witty one-liners or lovable comfort characters, Multiverse of Madness has scenes that would be expected of a thriller, and displays of mystical power that truly show their destructive capabilities. If you’re someone who enjoys darker fantastical films, but still wants the same excitement of Marvel movies, then this film is absolutely for you.

Yet much of this movie’s thrill also comes not from the story of the film itself, but from the many references and implications that the movie hunts at for the future of Marvel. Much can be predicted in regards to how Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness will shape the direction that Marvel goes, but beware that these predictions will contain spoilers.


The primary topic in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness that fully shapes the course of the story is the concept of the multiverse and its capabilities. This film isn’t the first time that the multiverse has been touched upon in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, as the most recent Spider-Man film, Spider-Man No Way Home has a large focus on its existence. Multiverse of Madness, however, goes much further into depth. The idea of traversing the multiverse began with the introduction of America Chavez, a young girl with the ability to travel to alternate universes when threatened, but with a lack of control over her power. In an attempt to escape Scarlet Witch, Chavez travels alongside Doctor Strange to a seemingly utopian universe, where Strange is first acquainted with an organization known as the Illuminati. Besides the exciting prospect of seeing all the members in an MCU film, this scene sets up what could be a whole new era of Marvel movies. Mr. Fantastic’s inclusion, being played now by John Krasinski, indicates a whole new Fantastic Four that’s being made for the MCU. This likely means a new Invisible Woman, Thing, and Human Torch are in the future as well as possible conflicts with icons such as Doctor Doom or even Galactus. What’s also interesting to note is the seemingly unimportant line in Mr. Fantastic’s brief talk with Scarlet Witch when he tells her that he has children. This of course means that—at least in that universe— Mr. Fantastic’s son, Franklin Richards, exists. If Franklin is to come into the MCU, he would no doubt become one of the most prominent figures in the films, as he has been confirmed by Marvel themselves to be the single most powerful of all mutants. 

But that’s only having to do with the Fantastic Four’s potential. The introduction of Black Bolt means the “Inhumans” TV show is fair game for the MCU, meaning characters like Medusa, Karnak, and Lockjaw are potential entries. Captain Peggy Carter’s introduction is very interesting as well, because she was a character referenced only in the show “What If?” prior to her appearance in Multiverse of Madness. Though it’s hard to say if that actually means anything, it does mean that it’s at least possible that various other characters from “What If?”, such as Infinity Ultron or Oatu the Watcher could come to the MCU as well. But the character in the Illuminati who I believe will have the greatest significance in the MCU’s future is of course Professor X. Though it’s sadly very unlikely that we’ll ever see Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine fighting alongside Earth’s mightiest heroes, Professor X’s inclusion means that the entire cast of every X-Men movie in the past is a possibility for future MCU films. Cyclops, Beast, Storm, Nightcrawler, Magneto, even Deadpool, are now all candidates for who we could very well see in Marvel films to come. And what makes these characters’ inclusions even more likely is that the Darchyld, the book of dark magic that corrupted Scarlet Witch, has great significance in the X-Men world, primarily with the character Magik. Doctor Strange made it very clear at the end of Multiverse of Madness that the Darchyld was destroyed “in every universe”, meaning there was no doubt an effect on the X-Men somewhere out there.

While it’s hard to say which— if any— of these theories will come to fruition in the future of the MCU, there is no doubt that Marvel has given themselves plenty of fresh content to work with, and it’s thanks to Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness for setting it all up.