DVD Movie Guide @ dvdmg.com Awards & Recommendations at Amazon.com.
Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main


Sam Raimi
Benedict Cumberbatch, Elizabeth Olsen, Chiwetel Ejiofor
Writing Credits:
Michael Waldron

Doctor Strange teams up with a mysterious teenage girl from his dreams who can travel across multiverses, to battle multiple threats, including other-universe versions of himself, which threaten to wipe out millions across the multiverse.

Box Office:
$200 million.
Opening Weekend:
$187,420,998 on 4534 Screens.
Domestic Gross:

Rated PG-13.

Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
English Dolby Atmos
English Descriptive Audio 2.0
Spanish Dolby+ 7.1
French Dolby 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 126 min.
Price: $39.99
Release Date: 7/26/2022

• Audio Commentary with Director Sam Raimi, Producer Richie Palmer and Writer Michael Waldron
• “Constructing the Multiverse” Featurette
• “Introducing America Chavez” Featurette
• “Method to the Madness” Featurette
• Gag Reel
• 3 Deleted Scenes
• Blu-ray Copy


-LG OLED65C6P 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV
-Marantz SR7010 9.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD AV Surround Receiver
-Sony UBP-X700 4K Ultra HD Dolby Vision Blu-ray Player
-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness [4K UHD] (2022)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (August 28, 2022)

Back in 2002, Sam Raimi directed Spider-Man, the movie that demonstrated the box office potential of superhero tales. 15 years after his last effort in this realm and with this genre firmly established as the top of the heap, Raimi returns to comic book movies via 2022’s Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.

Doctor Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) encounters nightmares in which he confronts evil forces with a mysterious teen girl at his side. Eventually this young lady – named America Chavez (Xochitl Gomez) – bursts into his reality.

Strange finds out that his dreams actually reveal alternate universes. Along with America, fellow sorcerer Wong (Benedict Wong) and Wanda “Scarlet Witch” Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen), Strange must hop around the multiverse to stop the forces of evil.

We call that a quick and dirty plot synopsis, as Madness gets into a mix of other domains. Some of these enter the realm of spoiler, so they go unstated here.

One unusual aspect of Madness: it assumes that the viewer saw the WandaVision TV series. Whereas prior Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) movies took for granted that the audience knew the other big-screen affairs, this seems to come as the first time an MCU flick demanded understanding of a television show.

Though “demanded” overstates the case. I never saw WandaVision so I felt slightly adrift at times during Madness, but I could connect the dots without difficulty.

While Raimi’s prior Marvel experiences revolved around Spider-Man, Madness feels more in tune with his initial cinematic claim to the fame: the Evil Dead movies. Madness follows a path much more oriented toward horror than its MCU siblings, and Raimi seems to enjoy his return to that genre.

One shouldn’t expect Madness to offer Raimi Run Amok, though, as his tendencies can feel restrained. Face it: no matter who directs an MCU movie, they answer to The Powers That Be, as few filmmakers get handed $200 million and allowed to just do what they want without any studio interference – especially given the massive, interconnected nature of the MCU.

Don’t take that as an interpretation that the MCU movies feel “assembly line” and that the directors don’t matter. For instance, 2021’s Eternals showed the low-key stylistic preferences of Chloe Zhao, while 2017’s Thor: Ragnarok reflected the sassy comedy of Taika Waititi.

Those films clearly reflected their directors, but I suspect the filmmakers still found themselves unable to really cut loose. Too much money gets involved here, so while Madness shows the impact of Raimi, it rarely feels like a true “Sam Raimi movie”, if that makes sense.

Still, the director seems happy to get back into the anarchic vibe of his earlier films. While he may not be able to go Full Raimi, he still exerts enough influence to add spark to the proceedings.

That said, while Madness feels like a story that better fits Raimi’s wheelhouse, his three Spidey movies – and especially the first – come across more as “true” Raimi flicks. Though the 2002 Spider-Man was an expensive investment, it existed in an entirely different universe for superhero movies, one in which the genre hadn’t yet become a box office juggernaut.

With a large budget at his disposal, I don’t believe Sony just handed Raimi a big check and said “have fun”, but I do think it entered a marketplace with different expectations than the one Raimi faced in 2022. In 2002, no one really expected a comic book movie to become the year’s biggest hit, but now MCU movies get viewed as flops if they don’t dominate financially.

Even with these potential constraints, Raimi seems to have fun with the weird and wild possibilities of Madness. MCU fans just experienced a multiverse story via 2021’s Spider-Man: No Way Home, and 2018’s Into the Spider-Verse took them that way as well.

However, Madness differs in that it takes the action to the multiverse, whereas the two Spidey flicks largely remained bound to “our reality”. The alternate characters came to us in those flicks, but Madness sends the Doctor to different dimensions.

That opens up a mix of fun and clever possibilities. Madness manages to make pretty good use of these, as it may not go quite as hog wild as one might hope, but it still seems creative and exciting.

Really, the biggest problems here stem from the messiness of the story and the choice of the main villain. The latter involves a spoiler so I won’t go into it much, but the choices made in that regard don’t really work.

In addition, the narrative can get convoluted at times. Granted, that becomes nearly inevitable when one gets into multiverse tales, but the end result still can feel like a bit of a muddled pie.

Nonetheless, I find a lot to enjoy here, as Madness expands the MCU in a positive way. Doctor Strange was never a favorite character, but this film exploits the role in a positive manner.

Footnote: you shouldn’t need me to tell you this, but extra scenes pop up in the middle and at the conclusion of the end credits.

The Disc Grades: Picture A/ Audio A-/ Bonus B-

Doctor Strange In the Multiverse of Madness appears in an aspect ratio of 2.39:1 on this 4K UHD Disc. A native 4K project, the disc appeared to replicate the source material nicely.

Sharpness remained solid. Virtually no softness popped up, so the movie demonstrated positive and definition.

Jagged edges and shimmering failed to occur, and I witnessed no signs of edge enhancement. Print flaws weren’t a factor, so the movie always remained clean and fresh.

Like most modern action movies, Madness went with a stylized palette that favored amber and teal. These choices seemed predictable, but the disc replicated them as intended, and the multiverse settings allowed for occasional appearances of a wider variety hues, mainly via reds attached to Wanda. HDR gave the hues added range and impact.

Blacks appeared deep and dark, while shadows displayed good clarity and smoothness. HDR brought power to whites and contrast. Overall, I liked this consistently positive presentation.

With its action and magical orientation, the Dolby Atmos soundtrack of Madness also worked well, as the movie boasted a wide and involving soundfield. Downconverted to Dolby TrueHD 7,1, this showed up during scenes both loud and quiet.

During the latter, music offered nice stereo presence. Various environmental elements displayed quality localization and involvement.

The bigger sequences added more pizzazz to the package. These used all the channels in a satisfying manner, as the action scenes created a lot of useful material. From start to finish, the mix used the speakers in a way that gave real life to the proceedings.

In addition, audio quality was strong. Music appeared vivid and full, with crisp highs and rich lows.

Speech was concise and natural, so no issues affected the lines. Effects appeared to be accurate and lively.

Those elements lacked distortion and they boasted nice low-end during their louder moments. Overall, I felt pleased with the mix.

How did the 4K UHD compare to the Blu-ray version? The Atmos audio added some range and movement.

As a native 4K presentation, the UHD disc offered nice improvements, as it seemed better defined and more vivid. While the Blu-ray looked just fine, the 4K became the superior version.

No extras appear on the 4K itself, but the included Blu-ray copy comes with a mix of materials, and we open with an audio commentary from director Sam Raimi, producer Richie Palmer and writer Michael Waldron. All three sit together for this running, screen-specific look at story/characters, the movie’s place in the MCU, cast and performances, sets and locations, production challenges related to COVID, effects, music, editing, photography, and related topics.

This becomes a listenable but somewhat disappointing commentary. At its best, it brings a reasonable view of the movie’s creation.

However, a lot of the discussion tends to feel somewhat superficial, and those involved ladle out a lot of praise. The track still merits a listen, but don’t expect anything better than average,

Three Deleted Scenes fill a total of three minutes, six seconds. We find “A Great Team” (1:30). “It’s Not Permanent” (1:00) and “Pizza Poppa” (0:29).

“Team” gives us a flashback to a younger Stephen and Christine, while “Permanent” and “Poppa” offer slight extensions of Bruce Campbell’s cameo. None seem important, though it’s fun to get more of Campbell.

A Gag Reel spans two minutes, 28 seconds and brings the usual silliness and mistakes. Nothing compelling occurs, but at least it doesn’t last long.

Three featurettes follow, and Constructing the Multiverse lasts 11 minutes, 10 seconds. It offers notes from Raimi, Waldron, Palmer, producer Kevin Feige, visual effects producer Cyndi Ochs, special effects supervisor Chris Corbould, 2nd unit director Jeff Habberstad, and actors Benedict Cumberbatch, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Elizabeth Olsen, Benedict Wong and Rachel McAdams.

“Constructing” covers story and characters as well as cast and performances, sets and some effects. Some insights emerge but a lot of “Constructing” feels superficial.

Introducing America Chavez goes for three minutes, 29 seconds and provides notes from Raimi, Feige, Palmer, Waldron, Cumberbatch, Wong, McAdams, Olsen, stunt coordinator Brycen Counts and actor Xochitl Gomez. As expected, we learn a little about the America character and Gomez’s performance in this puffy piece.

Finally, Method to the Madness occupies five minutes, two seconds with material from Raimi, Waldron, Palmer, Feige, production and development manager Samantha Vinzon, editors Tia Nolan and Bob Murawski, storyboard artist Doug Lefler and actor Bruce Campbell.

“Method” looks at Raimi’s approach to the material. It becomes another fairly fluffy piece, though Campbell offers amusing notes.

Because the 2016 cinematic debut of the character seemed decent but not great, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness enjoyed room for improvement, and it takes advantage of those possibilities. While not a terrific MCU adventure, Madness nonetheless becomes a pretty solid tale. The 4K UHD comes with very good picture and audio as well as a mix of bonus materials. Madness works well enough to make me look forward to a third Doctor Strange movie.

To rate this film, visit the Blu-ray review of MULTIVERSE OF MADNESS

Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main