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Our first impressions of ‘Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness’

By Kara Santos Published May 04, 2022 10:56 am

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is set to hit theaters in the Philippines this Wednesday, May 4 (11:00 am local time).

With movie screenings usually delayed in the country, it’s one of those rare instances where Pinoy moviegoers actually get a chance to watch the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) flick earlier than the rest of the world.

While the film made its world premiere in Hollywood on May 2, it will only start screening in regular cinemas in the United Kingdom on May 5 and in the United States on May 6.

PhilSTARL!fe was lucky enough to get to watch a special screening on Tuesday (May 3) ahead of the regular screening in SM Megamall’s IMAX Theatre. 

The screening marks the reopening of IMAX theatres in the country for the first time after two years. The version, filmed specifically for IMAX, offers a truly immersive experience that will make you feel like you’re diving right into the different multiverses along with the superheroes. 

The picture quality is crystal clear that you can see tiny details like the textured fabric on Doctor Strange’s cloak and falling snowflakes up-close, while the landscapes look expansive and epic in the maximum wide format.

In case you've never watched a movie in an IMAX theatre, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is a great choice, as the movie offers a wild, action-packed visual joyride from start to finish that deserves to be experienced on a massive screen.

Since the end of the Infinity Saga, the MCU Phase 4 films and series have been exploring a lot of new concepts when it comes to space, time, and reality and introducing new superheroes following in the Avengers footsteps.

The Doctor Strange sequel delves deeper into the concept of the Multiverse, allowing Marvel Studios to use variants of characters from alternative realities and break the cracking gateway wide open to unleash infinite possibilities for future MCU films and series.

Following the events of Spider-Man: No Way Home, which brought together three versions of Peter Parker from different films, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness continues the trend with several variants of Stephen Strange from different realities.

Anyone who has seen the trailers knows that the film involves several incarnations of Strange and Wanda, but what part they play exactly in the story is best experienced when watching the movie for yourself.

Benedict Cumberbatch returns as the titular master of the mystic arts from the 2016 solo film who was last seen in 2021’s Spider-Man: No Way Home, while Elizabeth Olsen reprises her role as Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch.

In case you haven’t watched the 2021 MCU miniseries WandaVision yet, I highly recommend you binge it before watching the Doctor Strange sequel, as Wanda’s storyline in the movie is tied to the events in Westview. It’s essential viewing to really understand Wanda’s motivation and appreciate her powerful performance.

In WandaVision, it is revealed that the Scarlet Witch's Chaos Magic makes her more powerful than the Sorcerer Supreme, as she manages to keep a whole town under her control just to fulfill her dream of having a family.

Aside from Cumberbatch and Olsen, the cast also includes familiar faces from previous MCU movies and series including Wong (Benedict Wong), Chiwetel Ejiofor (Karl Mordo), and Rachel McAdams (Christine Palmer) with newcomer Xochitl Gomez joining the cast as teenage dimension-hopper America Chavez.

Sam Raimi, who helmed the Spider-Man (2002-2007) trilogy which starred Tobey Maguire, as well as the Evil Dead franchise, delivers a marvelously twisted visual spectacle and strong horror influence to the superhero film. 

Matching the dark visuals is the film’s mysterious scoring set by legendary composer Danny Elfman, who previously worked with Raimi and is known for his frequent collaborations with Tim Burton.

Unlike previous Avengers films that had epic battle scenes with multiple superheroes fighting all at the same time on screen, the battles with sorcery and witchcraft felt very intimate and personal. 

The settings become darker and more evil as the film progresses, with key moments reminiscent of certain horror films.

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is not bound by rules and realities seen in earlier MCU films. It isn’t afraid to get weird and experimental when it comes to the visuals and editing and exploring the limits of the character’s powers and consequences of their actions.

Overall, the movie is an action-packed visual feast that will leave viewers mesmerized and entertained from start to finish.

A lot has happened in the various MCU films since they began production in 2007. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness marks the 28th film in the franchise, with at least 11 more in various stages of development. 

We’re just halfway through MCU Phase 4, but the Doctor Strange sequel could potentially be one of the most instrumental installments going forward. Be sure to catch it in theaters and find out why.

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness will premiere in Philippines cinemas on May 4, 2022.