I have to admit that I am not the biggest fan of the Marvel movie franchise. To me, there was a period of time where all the films seemed to follow the same structure which when combined with the rate at which new films were being produced made them feel very repetitive and tiresome. However, the marvel themed area in universal studios will forever be one of the greatest experiences I have ever witnessed. In the years before COVID (or as I’m going to refer to from now on as BC) my family and I would spend our vacation running around the immense theme parks that America has to offer. While many people prefer to use holiday time relaxing on the beach or reading a book while next to the pool but we prefer a much much more high octane and thrill-seeking time on our holiday. While there are many excellent attractions across the UK they, unfortunately, pale in comparison to their American counterparts! One of our favourite places to visit is universal studios and specifically the marvel themed area which has rides dedicated to some of the most iconic superheroes who sporadically appear in a parade through the themed section with opportunities for photos with the younger audience members. While I personally am a big fan of exhilarating rollercoasters, I think many people overlook how great some of the simulation experiences actually are! As a family, we decided that the Spider-Man ride in universal studios is one of our all-time favourite rides which takes riders on an adventure to hunt down the Spider-Man only to be captured by some of the movie’s most hated villains!
Due to my mixed feelings surrounding the marvel movies and the rate in which new ones are constantly being produced, I do not actively follow every single marvel movie but for this who want to, however, I would strongly recommend a Cineworld unlimited membership where you can watch unlimited movies for a fixed price of just £10 a month. On top of this if you use my code RAF-41UF-82LQ-14EX-70BM then we will both be gifted a FREE month to your subscription and who doesn’t love a free month of unlimited cinema! Even while watching the newest marvel release there were adverts for the next one and with one of these cards, you never have to worry about missing the next instalment! If you have been following this blog for a while you will be painfully aware of my love of the Rocky Horror Picture Show where we have reviewed a screening of the tour hosted by Cineworld (available at https://rhysreviews.com/2021/10/29/rocky-horror-cinema-screening-review/), a live performance of the cult classic (available at https://rhysreviews.com/2022/02/13/rocky-horror-production-review/) and have enjoyed numerous outdoor screening and watched the original and newer adaptation numerous times! I suppose some people view the marvel movies the same way I view Rocky Horror and every time a new addition added we must watch it!
In his sixth appearance in the Marvel movie franchise, Benedict Cumberbatch brings the role of Steven Strange back to life with all his wonderful opulent mannerisms and elegance who is dealing with the aftermath of the world-altering attacks that occurred during Avengers End Game! From his previous performances, it is clear that Benedict has this role down to a tee but is also reveals a new facet of the character with every new film! I would find it very difficult to take on the same role across multiple films as people will become bored very quickly but Benedict is able to add something slightly different to every cameo he makes. While relaxing at a loved one’s wedding, strange is forced to fly to the rescue as one-eyed alien attacks the streets of New York! In doing so Steven discovers an inexperienced, dimension travelling America Chavez (who played by the wonderful Xochitl Gomez) who is being chased by one of the world’s most powerful villains. Recognising the runes of this one-eyed demon, Strange consults Wanda Maximoff only to discover that the darkness has overcome her and it is her alter-ego Scarlett witch who is behind the attack in pursuit of Chavez! The pairing of Steven and America must locate the fabled book of Vishanti to harness the power required to defeat the wonderfully wicked witch. The highlight performer for me in this movie would have to be Elizabeth Olsen who played the dual personalities of Wanda and Scarlett perfectly. The duality of a loving, caring mother and the sadistic villain is not an easy balancing act to perform by Olsen does this with ease while also creating moments where I was personally afraid of the character! The similarity is magical powers between Doctor Strange and Scarlett Witch make for beautiful contrast and mean they are the perfect antithesis to one another making for some very exciting confrontations. Throughout the films, Scarlett discusses how villains and heroes do the same thing yet villains are criminalised whereas the good guys are praised for exactly the same things. This is not only an extremely valid point but was actually proven within the film which was a very clever inclusion!
This movie plays around with some of the most iconic horror conventions despite being billed as an action movie. There is a moment where a blood-drenched Scarlett witch marches through an empty hall which drew instant connections to the iconic Steven king movie Carrie. The combination of blood, supernatural abilities and mass murder with regard to a female character are shared between these two films which may be an attempt at beholding sympathy for Scarlett as she has been wronged by others. Talking about iconic Steven King moments, we also see a homage to the instantly recognisable hand through the grave moment that has risen to fame due to its inclusion also at the end of Carrie. When our characters dream walk they are always situated in the centre of a heavily marked area, that touches on the ideas of a pentagram, while surrounded by floods of flickering candles. Not only is this movie an addition into the marvel cinematic universe but the mods to other films helps to firstly deepen understanding but also helps to create a wider network of movies that should help to promote more viewers to either production. This web of wider films is built upon through the inclusion of Patrick Stewart who takes on his role of Charles Xavier once again. We also see a unique cameo by John Krasinski who interestingly plays the leader of the fantastic four.
Overall, this is a unique addition to the marvel universe with the inclusion of “madness” in its title being extremely apt. The characters travel through dimensions, time frames and locations with duplicate characters appearing in the same scene. It is clear that video and special effects are the main focus of this film with the cameos becoming somewhat of a distraction at times. As someone who is not an avid follower of the Marvel franchise, I could enjoy the movie for what is happening whereas others will enjoy for what has happened before! I personally could have done with the cheesy message of self-empowerment that appeared towards the end of the movie as this was a sudden return to the real world where the rest of the movie deals with supernatural abilities, time travelling and demons. I would rate this movie 4 out of 5 stars!