Watching the finale of Moon Knight AND Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness within the same week was a lot to process. There’s certainly a lot for fans to talk about after these two mind-bending stories.
I could probably dedicate two separate, rather lengthy blog posts to analyzing these topics, but here are my quick thoughts on each.
Warning: Spoilers ahead!
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness
What I liked:
- I enjoyed the new character introduced in this film, America Chavez (Xochitl Gomez). Her superpower – punching star-shaped portals through the multiverse – was pretty cool, both in terms of visual effects and storytelling possibilities. I also found it intriguing that apparently there are no alternate versions of herself scattered across the multiverse. She is completely unique – and I’m assuming this will definitely have ramifications in future MCU movies/TV series.
- I just really like the concept of the multiverse in general, and I’m excited the MCU is now playing around in that particular sandbox. I could see the MCU multiverse growing a little too complicated and unwieldy if EVERY movie from here on features the multiverse, but I think it works perfectly for characters like Doctor Strange and Loki.
- The cameos were super fun. It’s always good to see Patrick Stewart return as Professor X, and I loved seeing Hayley Atwell as live-action Captain Carter. I had no idea John Krasinski was going to cameo as Reed Richards. I really hope that wasn’t just a gimmick, and this is his official introduction to the MCU.
- Parts of this movie genuinely felt like a horror film, and I’m glad the MCU was willing to take a risk and let Sam Raimi showcase some of his signature style. Also, I’m impressed that this film forced Doctor Strange to face real consequences for meddling with dark magic. I don’t know what that third eye is all about, but I doubt that it’s good.
- Wanda’s powers were simply jaw-dropping – I know this is supposed to be Doctor Strange’s movie, but she almost steals the show. The film did a great job portraying just how powerful (and dangerous) the Scarlet Witch can be. I love her new costume introduced in WandaVision, and I may or may not be brainstorming how I could cosplay that look for the next con I attend.
What I didn’t care for:
- I don’t have a problem with making Scarlet Witch the villain of this film, but I was disappointed it wasn’t done with more nuance. WandaVision was such a layered, emotional portrait of a superhero dealing with loss and grief, and Multiverse of Madness just immediately took Wanda to full-on villain. It also seemed weird there wasn’t more mention of her relationship with Vision. Her arc in this movie reminded me of Daenerys in the final season of Game of Thrones – I don’t think the turn was out of character, but the moment definitely needed to feel more earned.
- For a big budget Marvel film, some of the special effects in this movie seemed surprisingly dodgy. Like a little too obviously CGI, and it pulled me out of the story. It was disappointing after the beautiful visuals in other phase 4 projects, like Shang Chi and Moon Knight.
- I feel like Chiwetel Ejiofor was underused as Mordo. He was such an intriguing character from the first Doctor Strange movie, but he played only a small role in Multiverse of Madness. I hope they pick up his storyline again in a future Doctor Strange film.
- I don’t know that I loved the score for this film. Danny Elfman did great scores for the original Spider-Man films, but it didn’t feel very Doctor Strange-y. I loved Michael Giacchino’s work on the first Doctor Strange film, and I missed that same musical vibe.
Overall, this movie was exciting and I was never bored, but I don’t love it the same way I love the original Doctor Strange, which is in my top 5 Marvel movies. It doesn’t feel as cohesive as its predecessor. Still, I respect that it takes some big, bold risks.
What I liked:
- Oscar Isaac in the MCU…need I say more? (Seriously, though, what a great performance – playing two reflections of the same character, and carving out unique identities for both Marc Spector and Steven Grant.)
- It’s great to see the MCU dealing with mental illness in a mature, thoughtful manner. The episode that dived into Marc’s past and why the alternate personality of Steven was created was very heavy and sometimes hard to watch, but the depiction of Marc’s past emotional trauma gave this show so much depth.
- I love, love, love the Moon Knight costume – it’s such a cool look, and I loved all the tie-ins to Egyptian mythology. It’s one of my favorite MCU costumes so far.
- The music was great – I really enjoyed the main theme and how iconic it immediately sounds. When I think of Moon Knight, that music immediately starts playing in my head.
What I didn’t care for:
- The hippo goddess character seemed a little too goofy/silly at times to me, which didn’t quite fit in a story that overall felt more serious in tone.
- I wish we could have seen more of the Moon Knight costume in action. I know I’m repeating myself, but it just looks so cool!
- I’ve heard conflicting reports on whether there will be a season 2. I NEED a season 2, and if this is only a limited series, I will be displeased. 😉
WandaVision is still my favorite of the MCU series on Disney+, but Moon Knight is some great TV and I loved how different it felt from all the stuff we’ve seen before. Marvel really is killing it in phase 4. I’m excited to see how they keep this momentum going in future projects!