The problem with the Marvel Cinematic Universe since around 2015 is half of the movies seem to be more about filler material and setting up the next bigger movie. Can anyone really tell me why Ant-Man was so important except introducing Hank Pym and the titular character? And the sequel I can’t remember much of except the notion of the quantum realm to lead to the blip.
Another issue I’ve had is how a subsequent movie kinda nullifies a previous movie. Thor: Ragnarok basically ended with them saying, “Yeah, we spent about two hours of showing you Thor trying to save these people and we’ll just fucking kill them. Tune into Avengers: Infinity War as they are all killed before the movie begins.” And for Thanos to get the stone from Guardians of the Galaxy he probably had to kill a lot of people there. So, the actions of that movie were pointless.
And with Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness commits both these crimes. It really only exists to introduce John Krasinki as Reed Richards/Mr. Fantastic now that Disney has finally obtained the rights to the 20th Century. And we’ll probably have the X-Men to introduce into the MCU now, which is why Charles Xavier/Professor X (Sir Patrick Stewart) appears. But aside from that, this movie doesn’t really need to exist.
If you liked WandaVision, then you won’t like this movie. After sitting thriough all the episodes of Wanda Maximoff (Elizbeth Olsen in a wonderful role) coming to the grief of losing Vision, she basically turns crazy psycho hose beast and decides to kill whoever gets in her way. Her goal is to obtain the powers of America Chavez (Xochitl Gomez) who has the ability to travel through multiple dimensions. Wanda wants to go to the dimension where her sons, Billy and Tommy (Jullian Hillard and Jett Klyne) are real.
Whereas Spider-Man: No Way Home presented the multiple Peter Parkers and the villains they’ve battled in a nice confined structure, this one is all over the place. Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) seems to wander through the movie with a bored unease. When the movie opens, his colleague and love interst, Christine Palmer (Rachel McAdams) is getting married to some guy that is never even made clear and he has to leave a reception to save America from a octupus creature with a huge eyeball with the help of Wong (Benedict Wong) in quite possibly the best role they’ve given him so far in terms of screen time and things to do.
This creature and the title gives off a nice H.P. Lovecraft vibe and the movie does seem to have a more horror angle to it than previous MCU movies. It has a nice set-up as Strange must deal with as his colleague, Nicodemus West (Michael Stulberg in a glorified cameo) says he the hero but not getting the girl. Being a superhero means making sure those close to you must be safe at any costs. But the movie never does really dwell on this. In the multiverse, Strange meets a different version of Palmer who helps him save America.
But the biggest letdown is the Illuminati which consists of Mr. Fantastic, Professor X as well as Blackagar Boltagon/Black Bolt (Anson Mount), Peggy Carter/Captain Carter (Hayley Atwell) and Maria Rambeau/Captain Marvel (Latasha Lynch). It’s almost like the Chris Farlew Show where a bunch of comic book fans are like, “Wow, remember the time when Black Bolt was on Inhumans. That’s awesome!”
This might have been effective if it gave them something to do. But just as soon as the Illuminati is introduced, they’re quickly taken out by Wanda now turned to Scarlett Witch after possessing the Darkhold. And this is the problem. I’m knowing this is leading to something else in a future movie and not just because they introduce another new character in the mid-credits scene. But it seems like the filmmakers want to get through this movie as soon as possible.
And this has been the problem with the MCU now. All they’re doing is introducing characters and plot points that won’t be resolved for at least four movies in the next three years. It’s started to get really irritating. If you watch a regular movie that introduces something and then they don’t resolve it to much later in the franchise, it gets frustrating. In the first Iron Man, James Rhodes looked at a prototype suit and said, “Next time.” And in the second Iron Man, they had him wearing a suit. It’s because fans knew that Rhodes would eventually become War Machine with his suit. But imagine if they would’ve wait until Captain America: Civil War? That’s what they’re doing now.
As director, Sam Raimi does what he can with the material but I feel his hands are tied. Just like what affected Spider-Man 3, Raimi is tasked with doing too much with too little with no leeway on how he does it. It’s not really his fault. I feel Marvel and Disney are looking too far ahead. With a She-Hulk series this summer as well as second season of Loki coming not too long after that along with a fourth Thor movie on July 8, I’m sure we’re going to find out something from this movie.
This is why directors like Martin Scorsese and Francis Ford Coppola are criticizing these movies. They should be self-contained but also drop hints to tease. Instead, they’re just telling people that to watch this movie, you have to have watched this movie and that movie. There’s nothing wrong with dropping plot points or characters in other works. Writers, such as William Faulkner, James Ellroy and Stephen King have done it. But this is too much. I think the MCU has backed itself into a corner it frantically is trying to get itself out of.
What do you think? Please comment.