Marvel is now heading into parallel universes. “Doctor Strange’s Multiverse of Madness” kicks off Friday in the US and sends the magician, played by Englishman Benedict Cumberbatch, to leap between strange, colorful and terrifying new dimensions, with the help of teenage newcomer America Chavez (Zochitel Gomez).
The film explores the concept of a “multiverse,” made famous by superhero comic books, where the infinite universes and infinite versions of each character, hero or villain, coexist side by side. “Yes, we opened that door wide,” Cumberbatch said during the world premiere in Los Angeles.
“And I’ll tell you something, it’s beautiful, it is very beautiful.” But has the Hollywood franchise that thrived on making the world of animation accessible to mass audiences become so complex? “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” is full of references not only to the films that preceded them, but also to TV series on the Disney + platform such as “WandaVision” and “Loki”.
A review in The Hollywood Reporter says that the concept of parallel universes “is beginning to feel like a catchphrase for the franchise.” John Defsor wrote that the recurring story is a “fantastic idea” but it might be too much for a universe like the Marvel universe, “which already contains an infinite number of characters and events.” Variety considered it the kind of movie that forces “even the most ardent fans to apply themselves to be able to follow it.” “It’s an attractive mess, but it’s a mess nonetheless,” wrote Owen Gleiberman of the trade publication.