‘Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness’ First Reactions Are In

Benedict is back for more multiverse-complicated strangeness, this time with the beloved Sam Raimi in the director's chair. Here's what people are saying.

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Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is out Friday, and as is the case with all mega-sized theatrical releases of this nature, fans are now taking a swim in a vast ocean of first reactions.

Monday, the Sam Raimi-directed sequel to 2016’s Doctor Strange went through the premiere rigmarole, spurring the reactions in question. While it’s always best to make one’s own opinion about a film, or anything, only after experiencing it firsthand, it was a foregone conclusion that any such updates surrounding the latest Benedict Cumberbatch-led Marvel entry would be swiftly consumed and amplified to paint a somewhat cohesive picture of what fans can expect later this week.

In a recent (and quite rare) long-form interview with Rolling Stone, Raimi—who previously went down the Marvel rabbit hole with the Tobey Maguire batch of Spidey films—praised Cumberbatch’s performance in Multiverse. Specifically, the director highlighted how the actor was able to employ “little nuances” that would help in the differentiation of varying versions of his character.

“He really is an actor’s actor, and he uses all the tools at his disposal quite elegantly,” Raimi said, as seen here.

As expected, the facets of Cumberbatch’s uniquely challenging performance receive a great deal of attention among the first round of reviews. In a somewhat mixed review, Variety’s Owen Gleiberman said the character ends up serving as an “addled master of ceremonies to a loopy psychedelic chase movie that never settles down enough to locate its emotional core.”

In a more directly positive meditation on the film, the Hollywood Reporter noted its release is taking place mere weeks after the near-universally acclaimed A24 hit Everything Everywhere All at Once, which also deals in matters of the multiverse. Raimi’s touch, however, was pinpointed by THR’s John DeFore as a highpoint for the Strange sequel:

“Though unsatisfying in some respects, the film is enough fun to make one wish for a portal to a variant universe in which Marvel movies spent more time exploiting their own strengths and less time trying to make you want more Marvel movies.”

See more first reactions below, including raves for “MVP” Elizabeth Olsen, who’s back in the fold as Wanda/Scarlet Witch. The film opens Friday.

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