‘Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness’ begins with the screening (in 3D) of the first trailer for ‘Avatar: The Sense of Water’, which makes it clear that it will be worth paying to see Pandora again on the screen largest possible (and in 3D). I can’t say the same about my beloved Sam Raimi’s last movie, which, coincidentally, is also the last Marvel Studios movie… maybe for me, maybe, it will end up being the last one really. This association is the best thing that comes to my mind about this film: Behind what would be a corporate production, the existence of a director can be glimpsed. At times, not too much, nobody is going to be scandalized. Sam Raimi is noted enough to note that he has not yet retired, even though this new installment of the MCU has more of ‘Spider-Man 3’ than ‘Spider-Man’ or ‘Spider-Man 2’. It is true that they were, also, other times. Times when superheroes were content with their own world, often reduced to a single city. Then came Tony Stark, the other Avengers, Disney, and Thanos. And it seems that a single universe has outgrown them all. Now, a scene in which a superhero runs through New York against the clock to deliver some pizzas would be as unimaginable as a Marvel Studios movie that wasn’t a bridge to infinity. Another episode of a series that charges you as if it were the entire season. It goes without saying that I am not a fan of Marvel Studios, and that except for honorable exceptions such as ‘The Avengers’ in 2012, few of the movies I have seen have made me fall in love. However, ten years later, that one still shines for me for its pragmatic organic simplicity. The same that this “Doctor Strange” lacks, a film determined to complicate its life and then go over those same complications that it uses as a springboard. It’s still like another harebrained blockbuster that seems to have emerged from the clash of various films, sensibilities, intentions and commitments. A determined production in an office whose personality, like that of a politician, seems compromised by a committee based on the many commitments made along the way. Or where the wind blows, since this “multiverse” seems like an obligation rather than a necessity or a choice. As if there was no other choice but to take the Canfranero to go to France. Sam Raimi said that he had had some freedom, but it is obvious that many of his elements were decided and imposed beforehand. That the film was conditioned as without going any further, ‘Spider-Man 3’ was conditioned by the imposition of Venom. So Raimi got carried away and clung to an irregular CGI that, like now, is tiring due to its superfluous and indiscriminate abuse: Marvel Studios is still Disney. And Disney doesn’t usually spare any expense. Even if it wasn’t necessary. When in doubt, this “Doctor Strange” bets on the digital effect, the scripts or the fanservice, as effective as it is ephemeral at the same time. For aborting any subtlety or duplicity and continually explaining himself, in turn leaving nothing to the imagination by showing what he is verbalizing in himself. Always reducing any minimum complexity to the simple and timely, forcing his script to depend on the ‘deus ex machina’. As if the important thing was to be even if it was just to be passing through. I’m not a fan of Marvel Studios, but I can understand that X appearances can brighten the day of one who is. Obvious. And this “Doctor Strange” is saved (or is caught) by (or to) this type of thing: Because they have created a bond with their public that tends to ignore things that, for example, in DC, are criticized without so much lukewarmness. Like they’re half-baked ideas forced to dovetail with each other and wouldn’t be much without special effects. Thus, this film is an unmanageable “monster” that has to deal not only with itself, but also with everything else (without unbuttoning its pants). Serve itself, and also serve as a bridge. Put in a little over two hours several different films, crammed together. A ‘Spider-Man 3’ passed through the filter of ‘Loki’ (the screenwriter is the same) through a helpful multiverse that allows you to use those details that can serve as patches. For example, cameos that, as in the ‘Torrente’ franchise, are not very relevant for what a full-fledged film is intended to be. Sympathetic, but inconsequential. And in the end this “Doctor Strange” ends up looking like a collateral effect of ‘Spider-Man: A new universe’ before which it pales, for how little it takes advantage of what, like almost everything in it, ends up being a hollow and gratuitous Macguffin. In the same way that even its special effects… … yes, they end up pale compared to what is seen in the trailer for ‘Avatar: The sense of water’. Not having projected it before.
By Juan Pairet Iglesias