I went into this film without watching any trailers and with zero expectations. It’s safe to say I went in absolutely blind(which is the recommended way to watch most films, I mean why watch trailers and get spoiled?). The only thing I knew about this film beforehand was that apart from Dr. Strange, Wanda and Evil Strange are in this film. I presumed that the plot of this film would be something like this: Dr. Strange gets in trouble against Evil Strange and he gets Wanda’s help to fight him off. You can probably guess now how surprised I was after I actually saw the film. I am really glad that I didn’t watch any trailers for this film. It highly improved my experience with this film.
Firstly, this film is very scary. The atmosphere and action in this film is very different from what we are used to seeing in the MCU. Sam Raimi finally got to make his dream Superhero film and he went all in. This film is brutal. If you are a fan of Raimi’s horror films, you will love this film. Don’t get me wrong, this film has a lot of issues but Raimi’s direction isn’t one of them. In fact, I would go as far as to say that Sam Raimi’s direction is what saved this film from being a failure. In terms of action, this film is on a whole new level when compared to the rest of MCU. This film honestly feels like a horror movie. The action is very gory. It’s accompanied by the fact that people actually die in this film unlike most MCU films. Characters die like flies in this film. There are scenes in this film that feel like they are straight out of an R-Rated Slasher film. Let me rephrase what I just said, ‘THIS IS A SLASHER FILM’. Because, if you take out the superpowers out of this film, what remains is an unstoppable villain who obliterates anyone and anything in their path. I genuinely felt terrified while watching this film. Marvel picked the perfect director for this film.
Now, let’s talk about the characters. Dr. Strange continues being the most likable MCU Superhero. Benedict Cumberbatch gives another great performance. It’s also great to see him play the role of a villain again after a long time. Evil Strange is very menacing, however he doesn’t really have much of a screen time. Scarlet Witch on the other hand is the crown jewel of this film. She single-handedly carries this film. Elizabeth Olsen nails her performance. However, the way Scarlet Witch’s character arc ended wasn’t very satisfying. It felt predictable but everything leading up to it was amazing. I also liked America Chavez. While America wasn’t as well developed as one might expect, by the end I really liked her and I look forward to seeing more of her in the upcoming films. Christine and Mordo also return from the previous film. Not much has changed about them. If you liked them in the first film you will like them here as well. There are a few surprise cameos (not really surprising if you have watched the trailers). These cameos are not really handled well at all. They feel kind off out of place. Not really that much interesting too (except for a certain casting choice for a certain character which I won’t spoil). This film has some really great CGI(as expected from a MCU film). The scenery is very enjoyable. The soundtrack is good but it could have been even more haunting.
The plot of this film is very mediocre. It pains me to say this but despite getting so many things right, this film gets the plot wrong. Firstly, the plot is kind of predictable. After the surprises of the first hour are over the rest of the film is very straight forward. It’s just the plot of every other Slasher film ever made with MCU clichés added to make things even worse. The character arcs are all over the place. Specially this film messed up Wanda’s character arc very much at the end. It should have been handled better and more realistically. It’s not bad, it’s just predictable. Also, certain characters feel like they have very lackluster reasons for doing what they do. I liked what happened in this film, I just didn’t like the reason it happened.
So far, MCU Phase 4 seems to be very experimental. MCU is now at a state where whatever it puts out will be a sure financial success. It puts them in the position to experiment with new things and create new and more bold storylines like this. While Phase 4 has a lot of issues, I am personally really liking the fact that Marvel is trying different and refreshing things. I appreciate the fact that the MCU is trying to evolve.