Doctor Strange: Multiverse Of Madness (2022)

From Necromonicon To Darkhold, Raimi remixes CBM’s x horror origins 40+ years later: wild, hyperimaginative, avant garde multiverse haunted house w. epic [drug/acid VFX] scale, caviar Olsen SW, malevolence, adv. technique, yt-america|depression allegory, MCU R-auteurism. 8/10.

Plot Synopsis: Dr Stephen Strange casts a forbidden spell that opens a portal to the multiverse. However, a threat emerges that may be too big for his team to handle.

*Possible Spoilers Ahead*

The Official CLC Review

The Greatest MCU Project Of All-Time

Anti-Franchise Creative Avant-Garde Innovation On New Medium, Wandavision+: CBM Mystery/Sci-Fi/Comedy/Romance/ Horror/Fantasy of Ignis Fatuus, Phantasmagoria, Witchcraft, Grief, TV-Nostalgia, Medium-Deconstruction/Analysis

Photograph Courtesy Of: Disney+ x Marvel Studios

‘The Marvel Cinematic Universe,.. on TV?!’ Almost 30 movies of mediocre quality (yet hyperconsistency in fandom-service and insatiable manifest destiny built on a foundational bedrock-layer of exploitable formula) engineered a blockbuster/shared-universe zeitgeist in the 21st century: one that changed the movie industry.. predominantly, for worse. Legends from Martin Scorsese [Taxi Driver, Goodfellas, Raging Bull, The Departed] to Francis Ford Coppola [The Godfather Trilogy, Apocalypse Now, Bram Stoker’s Dracula] amongst the greatest directorial forces of all-time (alongside The Academy, pseudologically, by the absence of even nominations besides a performative Black Panther anti-#OscarsSoWhite Best Picture nod) came together to pen a heartbroken elegy to the artform of limitless possibility and audio/visual/literary synergization they’d spent lifetimes on to call out the fast-food/factory-line franchise – as well as modern audiences [+ critics] for prioritizing dumbed-down pop-bubblegum over cinematic artistry and neo-stigmatizing studio attitudes towards any type of movie that actually takes creative [non-calculable] risks or has IQ. Maybe it was the bad PR and irreparable brand damage that rejection from mythological beings in their very field had on their bottom-line or insatiable psychological hunger to prove them wrong, but the very next project to release in the Marvel Cinematic Universe went 180 against-type/formula on everything the filmography was – even down to the medium: television.

Doctor Strange

Trippy In Striking VFX W. Perfect Casting & Medical Diversification, But Formulaic Origin, Boring Protagonist, White-Washing, Tonal Inconsistency, Joke Of A Villain Wasting Both Cumberbatch And Mikkelsen

Photograph Courtesy Of: Disney+ x Marvel Studios

The Greatest MCU Project Of All-Time & type of creative avant-garde innovation we craved by Marvel for nearly a decade beyond safe blockbuster formula, WandaVision+ was a chef d’oeuvre love-letter to TV history w. breathtaking nostalgia and complex deconstruction/analysis of a new medium pushing the franchise’s boundaries and identity – a hyperimaginative, über-meta CBM mystery/comedy/romance/horror/sci-fi/fantasy/CSI series of ignis fatuus, phantasmagoria, masterpiece production design, pure joy of cinephile watching experience, domestic life, grief/escapism themes, slow-burn classical storytelling, vaudeville dark magic villain, cutting-edge ambition, & master-characterization/performance in Elizabeth Olsen’s Scarlet Witch. The Limited Series was the #2 Best TV Show Of 2021 [only below Squid Game], and promised new for a collection who’d built an empire on stale flavor-of-the-week interchangeability… only for the franchise to revert/backpedal barely a month or two later, in worse: hyperdrive capitalism of 6+/year releases by the same franchise. The Return Of The Scarlet Witch 1.5+ Years Later, The Multiverse Of Madness pairs the Marvel Magicians with a CBM directorial legend promising new creativity, antiformula, and diversification; could it recapture and do the legacy of WandaVision+ proud? Yes. From Necromonicon To Darkhold, Raimi conjures a wild return to CBM’s, Marvel, and early career filmography origins 40+ years later in a multiversal haunted house on the biggest and most epic scale in the history of the horror genre – able to honor WV+-legacy & evolve/diversify the fast food MCU factory-line w. a caviar Olsen SW performance, batsh*t crazy drug/acid-like VFX hyperimagination, fixes of ~every 2016 DS flaw, real complex avant-garde cinematography technique, pure [body-count heavy] malevolence, layered YT America allegory x masculinity deconstruction x mental illness destigmatization, R-auteurism, dark score, and fandom service – despite a flawed Chavez, one badly-written scene, and choppy exec-mandated quips diluting the prestidigitation.

Horror… In The MCU?

The Genre And Typification Of Storytelling Giving Mankind Dark Thrills Since Days Of Shadows Cast By Cavemen’s Fires: Easiest Way To Fuel-Energize Primal Intrigue / Entertainment Value, As MoM Does W. Doctor Strange To Fix ~All Of 2016’s Flaws

Photograph Courtesy Of: Disney+ x Marvel Studios

Let’s begin with the protagonist: Doctor Strange. Trippy in striking VFX with a perfectly-cast Benedict Cumberbatch as the mystical arts neurosurgeon, 2016’s DS origin film failed to live up to its hippocratic oath of genre-innovation/evolution: a formulaic origin, boring one-dimensional protagonist, whitewashing of Asian foundations, tonal inconsistency, and entirely-forgettable joke of a Kaecilius villain wasting a sizably-pedigree cast led by Cumberbatch and Mads Mikkelsen. Though Marvel’s character still boasts unoriginality in comics origin/creation (copied, like ~all of their heroes/villains from DC; e.g. Doctor Strange: 1963 from Doctor Fate: 1940), his cinematic incarnation has been comprehensively fixed now – along with nearly every flaw of the original film [we gave a 4/10, btw]. 10x amplified was the intrigue of the character by giving him supremacy narrative importance in the biggest-ever MCU movies: IW/Endgame and No Way Home – erasing the memory of his bad origin film by letting Multiverse Of Madness [hereby abbreviated: MoM] pseudo-sequel his arc through those better movies just as much as it does the 2016 one. The Dr. still references and lives within the overworld created by Derrickson’s original film: a wealthy, acclaimed, love-estranged, cocky neurosurgeon whom permanently loses his ability to operate crashing his Lamborghini and turns to mystical arts with the power to heal paralysis, only to get engulfed in mystical warfare threatening the apocalyptica of the world and finding a new identity as sorcerer.

The King Director Of Marvel Is Back

The Master-Craftsman Producing The Greatest Live-Action Marvel Films [Raimi’s OG Spider-Man Trilogy] To-Date Even 20+ Years, 37 Movies/TV-Shows, And Billions Of Dollars Since Returns To Genre Of CBM’s He Major Crux Role In W. New Red/Blue Hero

Photograph Courtesy Of: Disney+ x Marvel Studios

Mordo, Wong, Christine, Sanctums, and Kamar-Taj are back – all improved, even down to fixing the [especially-offensive, given we’re Asians ourselves] whitewashing by heavily-fueling a cast of POC extras alongside interracial marriage and LGBTQ+ representation features. Strange is confronted with his own demons before the ones of his antagonist: he grapples with his ego, god/superiority-complex, and megalomaniacism along with the depressive state [symbolized by the broken watch he finally learns to piece back together again by the finale, himself metaphorically] of having to watch the wedding of the woman he loves yet can’t tell from sidelines (and self-gaslight into saying he’s fine/’happy’) by the cruelty of fate, being dusted in the hail-mary longplay to stop Thanos’ ecogenocide. Worse, he’s confronted with fellow-dustees who also lost family and loved ones – and blame him for not being able to find another way, whether-or-not [we’ll never know, the opening scene of MoM and plot of NWH do ~hint maybe he did take the easy way out or was irresponsible w. magic; even that is fixed by the finale he learns to work with and get the best out of Chavez instead of killing and taking her power like in the prologue dream] it was his fault or in his power to change or not. MoM pushes Strange to the edges of his limits (& even sadistically forgoes a set-up happy ending for darkness in cliffhanger) as the best CBM’s do, fighting a dark remix and even literal versions of himself Cumberbatch acts fantastically to prove why he merited award noms for 2021’s The Power Of The Dog, while being de/reconstructed to his crux without powers characterizationally by a master-director finally returning to the genre of superheroicism decades later: Sam Raimi.

Groovy: 40+ Years Later

Raimi Goes Back To The Beginning And First-Ever Career Feature The College Project x ’80’s Classic Evil Dead; From Necromonicon To Darkhold, A Remix Of CBM’s x Horror – Evolving & Synergizing Both Genres W. Hypercreative Auterism

Photograph Courtesy Of: Disney+ x Marvel Studios

The King Director Of Marvel is back. Patriarch of The Greatest Live-Action Marvel Films [to-date, even 20+ years, 37 movies/tv-shows, and billions of dollars in revenue since]: The Original Spider-Man trilogy, Raimi finally returns to the CBM genre he played a major role in unlocking the potential and elevating to the world stage back in the early 2000’s – better, <1 year after No Way Home hulk-smashed every nostalgia bone in our body crying at the sight of Tobey on the big screen again to gush in the memory of his Parker films’ legacy (SM2: easily still holding the crown of Best Marvel Live-Action Comic Book Movie, and Top 5-7 in the overall genre). Raimi doesn’t just make a new-age revisitation ironically from one red-and-blue suited Marvel hero to another; he proves he wields the magic of directorial artistry to go complete-180: from the most grounded/relatable superhero ever in high school NYC teenager Peter Parker to the least: a mystical arts fraction-paralyzed neurosurgeon able to incise holes in the fabric of space-time & universes with a repertoire as endless/limitless as the imagination. Somehow, he still manages to craft a gem reminding the world who the mastermind behind the original CBM trilogy was: doing so while also de/reconstructing himself as a filmmaker to his crux by amalgamating and going back to the early career roots and college project that first began his journey: the horror genre and 1982’s The Evil Dead.

The Biggest Horror Movie Of All-Time

Conjured Demons, White Possession Eyes, Zombies, Kaiju Monsters, Witchcraft, Devil-Walks, Red Sky Apocalypse, Pagan Ritualism, Souls Of Damned, Crypt/Mausoleums, Blood Splatters, Purgatory, Eden, Corpses Killed Only To Be Revived Just To Be Killed Again

Photograph Courtesy Of: Disney+ x Marvel Studios

The first-ever feature length project of his filmography and one he reportedly had to ‘beg’ family and friends to secure even a shoestring budget to produce, The Evil Dead was a cult/splatter masterpiece of paranoia, demon-zombies, cabin-in-the-woods trope creation, and starmaking talent-over-resource exposition for bromance’d childhood friends and icon-duo Raimi x Bruce Campbell – since becoming a cult-classic amongst the most critically-beloved ’80’s and horror movies of all-time [Top 50 In CLC’s Ranking!]. From Necromonicon To Darkhold, Multiverse Of Madness is the perfect vehicle to go back to the macabre that cinematically birthed him – a full-circle love-letter hijacking/possessing the MCU franchise brand-recognition and multiverse hype train to honor the dark arts and showcase how far he’s come by aggrandizing Evil Dead 1M+x: The Biggest Horror Movie Ever Made. Conjured Demons, White Possession Eyes, Zombies, Kaiju Monsters, Witchcraft, Devil-Walks, Red Sky Apocalypse, Pagan Sacrifice Ritualism, Dementor Spirits, Wings Made Out Of The Souls Of The Damned, Black Magic Forbidden Crypt/Mausoleums, Corpses Burned Alive, Splatterfest Noses, Purgatory, Fall Of Gods, Slavery, Eden-Vs.-Hell, And [Sizable] Body Count of Cold-Blooded Murder Even Resurrecting Dead Corpses Just To Kill Them Again, MoM is one of the most perverse, twisted, comprehensive, and encyclopedic iconographical horror projects ever made: a summarization of everything scare junkies love and have dearly back since 1920’s ‘The Cabinet Of Dr. Caligari’ invented the genre/archetype.

A Multiverse Haunted House Of Misc. Ref.s

The Witch x Evil Dead II x Lovecraft x Indiana Jones Temple Of Doom x Carrie x Drag Me To Hell x The Shining x Empire Strikes Back x The Matrix x Harry Potter x Night Of The Living Dead In CBM Cover

Photograph Courtesy Of: Disney+ x Marvel Studios

This is FAR from the cringeworthy shwarma jokes of Avengers 1, hulk butt-cheeks of Thor: Ragnarok, penis parker puns in SM: Homecoming (bcuz penizes r funy!), or dance-offs in GOTG… We had not even been told it was rated PG-13 before going in, and outright refused to believe it afterwards by how inexorably dark and messed-up the imagism is, literally watching hundreds of people get brutally murdered [even neck-snapped and turned into string cheese] in front of our very eyes – 10x more awe-striking by the fact it’s within a franchise as famously safe-playing, risk-avoiding, corporate-driven, and formulatized-to-a-science as the MCU. MoM is the darkest, most hard-R, and [*gasp*] ~only auteur MCU movie – proving it’s possible and what the franchise of irreparable damage/sin to the movie industry could/should have been at maximum performance, perhaps for a brighter tomorrow. Multiverse Of Madness is The Witch x Evil Dead II x Lovecraft x Indiana Jones Temple Of Doom x Carrie x Drag Me To Hell x The Shining x Empire Strikes Back x The Matrix x Harry Potter x Night Of The Living Dead – a demonic summoning-circle of incalculable wild creative ambition somehow snuck as a wolf-in-sheep’s-clothing mega-blockbuster Comic Book Movie under exec-noses for release to the general public, tricked into a horror history 101 class! The MCU fans and their first-grade IQ/maturity-level shills, critics, and diehards do not deserve nor want a movie like this, all the better SR manipulates and hijacks the franchise he paved the way for but gets no credit or compensation on to paint a big ‘F*** You’ and do whatever he wants! Raimi puts his fingerprints all over this one: down to the epic-cheese classic ’80’s one-liners, electric guitar notes, puddy gore, and a predictively-epic cameo from Bruce Campbell as Pizza Poppa [the self-fighting hand in the movie + post-credits is literally an exact reference to Evil Dead II; how could you not love that!?]. Groovy.

The Most Visually Striking MCU Movie

The Batsh*t Crazy And Hyperimaginative Acid Trip Druglike Visual Daze Of The First 2016 DS, 1-Up W. Real Cinematography Technique [Splice, Jump Cut, Rotational Pans, Superimposition, Overlay, Linear Burns, POV, Zoom, Iris In|Out, Stop-Motion]

Photograph Courtesy Of: Disney+ x Marvel Studios

Raimi further proves his classicism and pedigree as a filmmaker by the fuel-injection of *gasp* real filmmaking technique and cinematography into an MCU ~wholly-devoid of any cinematic flavor/language. Multiverse Of Madness is – easily – the most visually-striking live-action Marvel movie ever made. The batsh*t crazy and hyperimaginative drug/acid-like visual daze (predictively, by how even the first 2016 Doctor Strange did so despite its other flaws) wows beyond comprehension – feeling like every last penny of the quarter billion dollar budget was used in the worldbuild and next-level/gen VFX craftsmanship by legions of behind-the-scenes artisans taking us – for example – through 27+ multiverses of every possible chroma, key, aesthetic, and style of animation in a split 5-10 second fall in one scene alone. The CGI Mayhem is 1-Up’d with *gasp* actual filmmaking cinematography technique.. in a Marvel movie?! Raimi and John Mathieson, CAL BSC – a bizarre choice being a cinematographer far out of his era and the public eye: besides a few minor projects of vastly-diverse palettes from Logan to Detective Pikachu, peaking with Oscar-nom’d career-heights of Gladiator, Kingdom Of Heaven, Hannibal, and The Phantom Of The Opera in the early 2000’s he must’ve known Raimi from and was asked to come back for one final hurrah. They utilize real camera magic lifted directly from filmmaking textbooks to the biggest stage of movies (sorely in need of some classicism): Superimposition, Iris In/Out, Linear Burns, Rotational Pans, Jump Cuts, Graphic Matches, Splices, Extreme Long Shot Vs. Zoom Contrastive Juxtaposition, Overlay, Stop-Motion, Etc. to only further ecstasize the nightmare/mystical acid trip of an eon.

Academy Award Veteran A/V Pedigree

The Score Brings Yet Another ~Forgotten Old-Timer Of Raimi’s Circle Back: Danny Elfman; A Dark, Mysterious Orchestration Of Choral Omens, 808 Booms, Thunderous Horns, Minor Key Piano, And Slasher Violins

Photograph Courtesy Of: Disney+ x Marvel Studios

The Score also employs another old-timer whose seen better [& more plentiful work-hour] days in the early pre-/2000’s Raimi cherrypicked from strategically: Danny Elfman. The 2x-Emmy, 1x-Grammy, 4x Oscar-nom’d Composer – of major importance: the Academy Award, old-school pedigree of MoM’s team across every department Raimi assembles like a (geriatric) Avengers – epically-failed with Warner Bros.’ Unholy Frankenstein Epic Failure Of A CBM On The World’s Greatest Heroes: 2017’s J[oss]stice League. However, the maestro of influence from Hollywood’s Golden-Age and Jazz/Minimalistic Origins has been Raimi’s go-to composer for his ~entire filmography – and he trusted Elfman could bounce back to his early ’80 Batman x Edward Scissorhands x Charlie And The Chocolate Factory x Good Will Hunting x The Simpsons x Nightmare Before Christmas x Alice In Wonderland x Spider-Man 1/2 glory, and the hedge-bet pays off. Elfman crafts a dark, mysterious orchestration of choral omens, booming 808’s thunderous horns, tribal drums, electric guitar powerchords, minor key piano, and slasher violins – one that pays homage to horror icons/history while creating an overwhelming atmosphere of palpable doom and dread. There are even fun meta-scenes where the score crew were able to get as experimental as the visual department: a scene where Doctor Strange has a (literal) battle of the bands throwing musical notes off sheet-music as magical weapons as the score improvises to match the actions. Amazing!

‘Every Night, The Same Dream; Every Morning, The Same Nightmare’

Caviar In A Fast Food Franchise: The Most Advanced Performance, Complex Themes, And Tragic/Fascinating Character Gets Yet Another Epic, Twisted, Hyperimaginative Cinetization Whose Acronym Matches Her Crux [Villain x Emotion] Motivations: MoM

Photograph Courtesy Of: Disney+ x Marvel Studios

‘Every Night The Same Dream, Every Morning The Same Nightmare’. The inexorable darkness and pure, ghastly, unspeakable horror of the iconography and A/V package is just as much psychological and metaphorical: handled primarily through a god-tier characterization/performance Scarlet Witch. Caviar In A Fast-Food Franchise, Olsen has consistently been one of [if not THE] best characters in the MCU – acted with precision, nuance, grace, and once-a-franchise talent. She’s able to be a cold-blooded murderer evoking pure fear with chaos black magic taking down entire legions of sorcerers and reveling in the agony of her victims she rips through like butter with a cheshire grin (if anything, she’s *too* OP here, but it makes for damn good entertainment value, comparable but sublevel by less intelligent satire to Homelander from The Boys) one second, yet fully translate the tragic mortalization of Wanda’s existence another: a goddess who grew up in a cold dark cell as a lab rat hunted for powers she never wanted, having lost everything and everyone she’s ever loved in life to a perverse society and cruelty-of-fate. Despite what Reddit/4Chan bro incels who’ve never even kissed a girl or been on a date [let alone have kids], her motivations are understandable; *motivations =/ actions*. SW just wants to hide away from a world whose given her nothing but death, carnage, grief, pain, and depression instead of keeping fighting a losing battle wherein the gods seem to treat her suffering as a joke for their own court jester’s amusement [she has her children and is happy in *EVERY* other universe except hers. Damn.], and is a mother who loves her children (also more clinging and desperate to get to them because of the fact she has no one and nothing left; heck, even her own Avengers ‘friends’ never even once checked up on her after Vision or WestView). Anyone whom has ever had depressive episodes or suicidal gloom can relate.

The Most Powerful Avenger

No Question After MoM; A Graveyard Of 750+ Body-Count, Killed W. Brutality Easy Like Butter By The Most Unstoppable CBM Force And Evil-Version Hero Since The Boys’ Homelander And Evil Superman Archetype

Photograph Courtesy Of: Disney+ x Marvel Studios

Even despite all of this tragedy [The Darkhold obviously amplifying her rage and murderousness, being the darkest and most unholy/manipulative book in existence bringing ash-black burns to the very touch of its hellfire and destroying entire civilizations while not even accessible by the vast majority of witches/sorcerers except top ones who even so become pawn-zombies] and godlike unstoppable-except-by-her-own-vice powers, Olsen & co. still manages to find humanity in the character. The scene where she breaks down in realization of what she’s done as even her own children reject in fear the mother-unrecognizable witch phantasm and monster she’s become is amongst the most heartbreaking and emotional moments in canon and blockbusters of late. She is able to play the possession victim and aggressor simultaneously in the same damn scene and rock both perfectly, even in the face of [purposeful, as we’ll explain next] moral bankruptcy/corruption to the point of feigning damsel-in-distress to someone trying to save her from within her own mind just to lay a trap for them to get their neck snapped in Charles Xavier, somehow making us feel even remotely sorry for a psycho who kills like 750+ people in one film. The fact she was an Avenger first turned to the darkside is some Anakin Skywalker ROTS-level sh*t, we love it: once-in-a-generation villain and one we love the dark trajectory from our favorite MCU project ever in WandaVision+!

The Already-Dark WV+ Grief Arc, x10

Even In Face Of Inexorable Carnage & Destruction, We Feel Twinges Of Sympathy And Humanity; The Most Heartbreaking Scene Of MCU? Even Children & Only Thing Left In Life Reject Her As Witch/Monster

Photograph Courtesy Of: Disney+ x Marvel Studios

‘I’m not a Monster, I’m a Mother’. The obvious hypocrisy of Scarlet Witch in the MoM whose acronym she hides behind while murdering the children of other mothers who don’t and their kids don’t seem to matter except for hers brings to light something we’ve ~NEVER seen in an MCU movie: *gasp* allegory. In fact, Multiverse Of Madness doesn’t just have one; it has three; God bless you, Sam Raimi! MoM thus might just be a horror movie the packs as much punch in the neurons as it does in the gut in its kills – destigmatizing both commonly-lowbrow genres of horror and CBM’s by proving what a good one of each/both looks like. Firstly, there is a gender x mental illness dual-allegory handled within the context of both the film’s major pro/antagonists. ‘Are You Happy?’ It’s a question thrown around quite a lot throughout the (nicely-trim, breezy, and lean without any excess fat and – surprisingly – working for a film this loaded and jam-packed with stuff to analyze) screenplay: and one critical to understanding why it’s so damn good. The existential mystery of life and search for meaning/happiness (a way to decipher emotions: something even a neurosurgeon can’t cut open or cauterize wounds on and master practitioners of thousand-year-old mystical arts nor ancient texts know not the key to unlock) in humanity is given a lens in a damn comic book movie – working again beyond the superficial aspects to further-synergize perfectly with its subject protagonist, seeing as he’s a medical doctor [the most burnt out, highest suicide profession in the world; we can say from real-life experience having gone to medical school and seeing the pervasive unhappiness, debt, pressure, work-life imbalance, expectations, toll, and stress even worse in the COVID-19 Pandemic]. This extends beyond profession to gender too: the highest suicide incidence being men – daily told they’re ‘trash’ and ‘hated’ to viral numbers of likes online in a self-proclaimedly ‘woke’ landscape whose just shifted and reborn the hate-speech they once chastized [hypocritically making, spends millions of dollars to advertise, and releasing to acclaim passion hate-projects like the 2022 horror film ‘Men’ (not *some, because we have to demonize all 3.5B+ of them by verbage implication) when no other demographic c/would] and by a society they pour blood/sweat/tears & sacrifice to build, provide for, protect, and run.

‘Are You Happy?’

A Dual-Allegory Twinge: Gender x Mental Illness; Self-Gaslighting W. ‘I’m Fine’ & Stigmatized Repression Into Mind & Objects Like Strange’s Watch – Worse For Doctors And Men: Two Highest Risk Demographics Of Suicide; Women Capable Of Evil, Blame

Photograph Courtesy Of: Disney+ x Marvel Studios

Civilization further looks down on men who dare express their emotions and sadness on this purgatory of daily rejection and disvalue/unappreciation: ‘suck it up’ and literallyman up’ if you do anything but be a stoic, backbroken-working, muscular walking ATM.. or admit how privileged and great your life has to be as a man when the real-world numbers/data clash with that hypothesis [and even support the antithesis.] We digress, MoM features a masculinity deconstruction through the lens of Dr. Strange: whom can’t even feel the right to talk about his pervasive depression, bow, or say sorry (both by toxicity and social cues reinforced over millennia) and has to gaslight himself into believing and saying aloud he’s okay. There’s also a true-feminist angle in MoM: actually treating women equally and showing they [against what the media tells you, the major news of the Johnny Depp vs. Amber Heard trial coming foremost to mind; AH was proven to be a domestic abuser in court and even verbally admitted so in audio recordings you can listen to yourself, but was still portrayed as an ‘imperfect victim’ – major publications actually saying a woman cannot be guilty and men have to be guilty-until-proven-innocent (and even after proven innocent, still guilty) against the very foundational core principles of the law and free world] can do wrong – taken to extremes here, of course, through SW.

‘I Was Meant To Rule Everything’

A Bold, Complex, [MCU-Evolve] Race Allegory: White Entitlement, Hypocrisy, Xenophobia, Manifest Destiny, Religion, Slavery, Native Genocide, And POC-Theft/Sacrifice For Personal Gain By Lens Of A CBM, (Name-Match) America Chavez

Photograph Courtesy Of: Disney+ x Marvel Studios

‘I Was Meant To Rule Everything’ The most hidden, advanced, and sharp allegory of MoM, though, is race/culture – one foremost of White America, handled through a lens of comic book characters. The manifest destiny x entitlement x megalomaniacal egocentrism angle is analyzed through both Wanda and Strange: both feel they should be the center of the universe and are owed whatever they want, even when not logical or requiring rules to broken / lives lost (Wanda: her kids in a multiversal alternate reality and kills everyone on-sight as the more extreme example, Strange: the alpha male always ‘with the knife in his hand’ – symbolized on a planetary scale by the fact he got to decide the endgame plan against Thanos alone as judge, jury, and executioner; we’ll never know if there was another way or not). This is exactly the type of perspective and rationalization that led to America’s greatest historical shames: slavery and the genocide of Native Americans [both: white people felt / had the audacity to believe they were owed bodies and land from that weren’t theirs, and seizing it]. This allegory is not a reach by any means; the plot shows Wanda literally hunting a Person Of Color [hereby abbreviated: POC] (one that Strange also kills without second-thought just out of convenience to save himself in the opening scene) for her own gain in Chavez, ready to steal from and discard her by placing her on a pagan ritual sacrifice table symbolizing all of the lives ‘sacrificed’ over centuries of white crimes like slavery and Native Am. They even physicalize the allegory with imagery of a POC (Wong) shackled in chains at Kamar-Taj while Wanda dreamwalks, and outright mention a major clue in the fact Earth-838’s Christine and Illuminati throw unknown intruders in cages like lab-rats out of xenophobia and claim it’s because ‘they might have diseases we might not have cures for’ (extreme hypocrisy by white to a POC, clearly flipped in a dynamic referencing the Native Americans who died by the millions due to diseases Columbus and his crew brought from overseas to their homeland). There’s also a historical aspect and modern cultural one in the fact statues and temples were built to oppressors and morally-flawed figures like Wanda (paralleling confederate monuments, also projection/whitewashing of religious figures like the scientifically-likely brown/black-skinned Jesus by Middle East origins to justify superiority-complex attitudes historically), as well as a humorous social commentary/satire in the fact white women partook just as much in centuries of crimes against humanity as their white male counterparts, if not more so like Wanda yet (just like Wanda does) dodging any blame or accountability for it in the end. Absolutely f*cking genius.

Mix-Execution Chavez, MCU Cringe Quips

The Weakest Actress In The History Of The [Already Mediocre-Thespian] MCU, Xochitl Gomez Can Barely Deliver A Line Or Feign Surprise/Fear To Save Life: A Wasted Latinx Opportunity Also Lightskin-Whitewashed; ‘Does S.M. Shoot Webs Out Of His Butt?!’

Photograph Courtesy Of: Disney+ x Marvel Studios

All of this is made even more obvious in satirical intended allegory by the very first word of the name of the major POC character of plot importance: America Chavez. A fan-favorite from the new-age comics, the Latinx superheroine and daughter of LGBTQ+ mothers in a Utopia pre-tragedy joining The Young Avengers was a natural choice for a multiverse film by her power of being able to kick open star-shaped portals between realities. The way she’s used as a crux symbol for POC in the White America allegory aforementioned is brilliant and way she’s written (aside from the mixed/laughable bumblebee catalyzation of her powers) is great; unfortunately, though, she’s played by the Weakest Actress In The History Of The MCU. We love seeing POC diversity (as Asians and brown people ourselves) and way-underrepresented minority groups like the hispanosphere community finally get spotlight in major blockbusters,.. but it is counterproductive and checkbox-tokenism when they have the thespian pedigree/skills of a Disney Channel star. Xochitl Gomez can barely deliver a line or even feign surprise or fear when being chased by monsters or a demon-girl without CGI to cover her; she makes Hannah Montana and iCarly look like Oscar/Emmy-winning programs by comparison. She is also far too lightskinned to match her comics counterparts in what, tragically, can be seen as whitewashing/colorism we thought we’d otherwise vanquished – leftover from 2016 Doctor Strange in an attempt by Marvel (we guess..) to make her less ‘urban’. Rolls eyes. Beyond that, our only other major problem with the film is the [you guessed it] cringeworthy MCU dialogue by corporate exec mandates continually plaguing the franchise. ‘Who’s Spider-Man? / Whoa, does he shoot webs out of his BUTT?!’ (bcuz butts r funny! lolz) and ‘Sup’ are literal dialogue lines Xochitl is given by the writers and says in a dark, complex, allegorical film about demons. Cumberbatch also gives lines like ‘bad breath’ bringing up PTSD of ‘scooby-doo this crap’ from NWH.. HE’S AN OSCAR NOM ACTOR, WHY DOES HE ACT DOWN TO UNFUNNY, SOGGY-QUALITY, SILLY/JUVENILE 5 YEAR OLD PANDERATIVE MCU QUIPS?! Better question, why are the intended audience for these jokes even in the theatre; don’t you think preschool Billy is going to have (a few) nightmares seeing Wanda mass-genocide like 963 people, Karen?. Yikes.

Ralph Boehner, 2.0?

Besides Cringe Juvenile MCU Quips, Mixed Writing Execution In One Scene Of Anticlimax, Inconsistency, Mess: SW vs. [Genius] Illuminati – Yet: Narratively-Inconsequential And Better Than Absence

Photograph Courtesy Of: Disney+ x Marvel Studios

A final flaw comes in the form of a single badly-written/executed scene – but one ~inconsequential in the larger scheme and celebrationally solely designed for zenith fandom-service. The X-Men, F4, Galactus, Hyperion, Illuminati, Hydra, S.H.I.E.L.D., Ultron, Etc. all cameo in a Multiverse Of Madness ostensibly-based on the comics storylines Avengers Disassembled x House Of M – including legacy jaw-drop character appearances like Patrick Stewart’s Charles Xavier and a literal fancast of absolute perfection legions have been campaigned/petitioning for years on: John Krasinski as Mr. F4ntastic! Even f*cking quotes from the original X-Men that paved the way for the MCU are said on-screen in dreamscale fandom-service moments that must’ve melted audiences in cloud nine orgasms. The Signature Of The MCU And Reason They’ve Become The Largest Blockbuster Franchise/Disneyworld [Despite Mediocre Quality Of Movies] Is: Listening To Fans. Who else literalizes fan-castings/drawings just to give their fandom what they asked for, no matter the cost/logistics? All of this after the once-a-lifetime event of No Way Home too… Gosh, DC and the Warner Bros. keeping the World’s Greatest Superheroes hostage are meanwhile too inept/incompetent/immature to even listen to obvious viral hashtag/viewership fan demand on Zack Snyder’s Justice League or present any sort of [cohesive, logical] Cinematic Universe plan besides giving us 75+ more Batman films; we can’t even take it anymore. They won’t even do the most basic actions like firing problematic bad/criminal actors from the franchise: domestic abusers like Amber Heard or child groomers/kidnappers terrorizing Hawaii with slurs and assault like Ezra Miller. Movies like MoM make it absolutely obvious the Grand Canyon-sized gap between the two studios in execution and prioirites/fandom-service: the reason the MCU can release 6+ projects/year while WBDC can’t even get one. Now, just because they do have the cameos doesn’t mean they can handle them. The fight between the Illuminati and Wanda is horrifically-written and wildly-anticlimactic – the ‘smartest man alive’ of 267+ IQ in Reed miscalculates Wanda’s powers, fails to remember his own technology or the device he used within the very same scene, and.. literally tells the villain their heroes’ powers [who defeated Thanos easily but can’t even get a punch off against SW?] so she can rewrite reality and self-implode Black Bolt, slice open Captain Carter with her own shield, crush Lashawna Lynch’s Captain Marvel under rubble, and shred Mr. F4ntastic like play-doh/cheese-grater/spaghetti – all in about 8 seconds flat.

The Fandom Service

X-Men, F4, Galactus, Hyperion, Illuminati, Hydra, S.H.I.E.L.D., Ultron, Etc.; The Signature Of The MCU And Reason They’ve Become The Largest Blockbuster Franchise/Disneyworld [Despite Mediocre Quality Of Movies]: Listening To Fandom

Photograph Courtesy Of: Disney+ x Marvel Studios

The two neocharacters we’ve seen nothing like in powers before: Black Bolt and Mr. F4ntastic are given instant [OP] reality-rewrite deaths,.. while a rando lady with a shield (please, stop trying to make Capt. Carter happen) lasts 7+x longer in a copy/paste fight we’ve seen 50x already – why wasn’t her shield turned into a donkey or something? There are counterarguments like Reed being too cocky and/or compassionate, them not being able to trust Doctor Strange’s warning after theirs’ betrayal, SW’s death could’ve started a war with the X-Men and Magneto (being her father), and them not having any meta-data on 616 Scarlet Witch: a nexus event amplified by the Darkhold making her thus thus 1,000x-stronger than ~any other Wanda in the multiverse, but still. They’re multiversal scientists who would’ve had their interests piqued and prepared for even the possibility they were wrong. Reeds could’ve distracted her for like 2 seconds while Black Bolt burp-annihilated her out of existence, or when their secret weapon dropped dead before their very eyes teleported out and re-strategized, but.. no, we guess? Also, why TF were Carter and Capt. Marvel just standing by while their F4 friend was parmesan-grated live? Yikes. Ralph Boehner 2.0? We can’t fault the scene too much, though, or talk sh*t as DCEU fans in 2022 because it’s a narrative-inconsequential scene purely based out of fandom-service that, let’s be honest, is great that it even exists. Besides the theme park-reminiscence of multiple post-credits scenes shifting focus from product you just consumed to the next one to keep cycle going instead of being able to digest & analyze what you just saw, MoM is still a masterpiece amongst the best and most complex/packed/genre-diverse/avant-garde projects of the MCU – one we are extremely happy with, in awe Raimi came back with a career swan-song WWE bodyslam encapsulating his entire filmography to show what the Marvel Cinematic Universe could be like with real directing and filmmaking auterism, as well as a little IQ and creative ambition. Bravo. From Necromonicon To Darkhold, Raimi conjures a wild return to CBM’s, Marvel, and early career filmography origins 40+ years later in a multiversal haunted house on the biggest and most epic scale in horror genre history imaginable – able to honor WV+-legacy & evolve/diversify the fast food MCU factory-line w. caviar Olsen SW & B.C. performances, batsh*t crazy drug/acid-like hyperimagination, fixes of ~every 2016 DS flaw, real complex avant-garde cinematography/VFX technique, pure [body-count heavy] malevolence, layered YT America allegory x masculinity deconstruction x mental illness destigmatization, R-auteurism, dark score, and fandom service – despite a flawed Chavez, one badly-written scene, and choppy exec-mandated quips diluting the prestidigitation.

Official CLC Score: 8/10