Sam Raimi’s ‘Doctor Strange 2’ is an anti-awakening masterstroke

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Finally, someone at Disney gets it. “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” is one of the best superhero movies I’ve seen in ages – preserved from superficial awakening and masterfully crafted by the creator of the Spider-Man trilogy movie, Sam Raimi.

While a bit bloody and probably not for kids, the film is not only exceptionally enjoyable, but also has some real dramatic meat on the bone. It features themes of sacrifice, toxic femininity, and even the undead. For those who tire of the woke trash that the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) has become, fear not. Raimi will make you fall in love with superhero movies all over again.

Anti-awakening

“Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” is the MCU’s latest entry and the direct sequel to the 2016 original. While the sequel retains some of the characters and visuals from the first film, “Strange 2” is its own thing – a supernatural horror adventure, continuing the themes of Disney Plus shows “WandaVision” and “What-If.”

Among its pantheon of cool, “Strange 2” features souls of the damned, a Cthulhu monster, dimension-traveling teenagers, and of course everyone’s new favorite Sorcerer Supreme: Benedict Wong. It’s an all-thrush action movie and light-hearted horror flick, a trip down the multiverse’s rabbit hole where anything is possible.

It takes full advantage of director Raimi’s horror and Spider-Man legacy. Best of all, this movie uses those elements and bucks the trend of nearly every other MCU production since “Endgame.” Instead of presenting woke nonsense, the film offers up artistically valid themes, like the moral cost of sacrifice.

The elements of a potentially awakened story are all there, but Raimi uses them to tell a decidedly 99% unawakened story. I would even go so far as to describe it as the most anti-revival superhero adventure ever. Instead of a story about the impossible perfection of the female characters and the horror of the men, we get a conflicted hero, a naïve and scared teenager, and a damaged woman who transforms her deep feelings of love for her lost children. in an unholy crusade to obtain what is his, at the cost of everything and everyone else.

Director fired after Spider-Man trilogy

That “Strange 2” ended up being so original is nothing short of a miracle. Over its six-year production run, it saw several writers and creators take the helm, with the first film’s father, Scott Derrickson, stepping down after being told by Disney of his plans for “a bizarre, gnarly, and frightening”. movie” went against their seamless MCU formula.

Disney also commissioned to cast Wanda Maximoff, the Scarlet Witch, as the title character. This angered Derrickson so much that he reportedly yelled at Disney Marvel movie big boss Kevin Feige, “Why don’t you just call the movie ‘Scarlet Witch’ then!”

So how did things turn out so differently? Because Feige was brave enough to hire Raimi and let him work as Raimi. If you don’t know Raimi’s work by name, you’ve probably seen his stuff. Raimi directed the “Evil Dead” film series and was the director of Sony’s excellent Spider-Man trilogy.

Despite the success of those films, Sony fired him after he felt the critical reception of “Spider-Man 3” was too negative. According to Raimi, the experience was so traumatic that he vowed never to work on a superhero project again. However, in 2020, Marvel needed him again and – I’m guessing here – convinced him with the statement that he would have more side control of the film than any other MCU director.

Are you happy?

What I love about this film is that it plays with the idea of ​​sacrifice and accepts its costs and consequences. “Are you happy?” Dr. Christine Palmer asks a grieving Doctor Strange. The Good Doctor tries to come to terms with the cost of his superhero days, saving the world from Thanos, but losing the love of his life to another man.

To stop the new threat, he is tempted to do an unforgivable act, something all the other heroes around him are willing to contemplate, but not him. Scarlet Witch is a villain because she can’t bear the sacrifice of losing her children and is willing to sacrifice entire realities to get them back. Raimi reminds us: doing the right thing has a price, and we don’t always get the happy ending.

Are you happy? I imagine if you ask Raimi about the pain he went through to get to this point, he would say yes. But for us MCU nerds and the future, the answer is decidedly less positive. Disney has become so overly dependent on the most stereotypical awakening and storytelling in movie history that I wonder if “Doctor Strange 2” is an exception instead of a return to form. However, the MCU reveals itself in the future, for now we can enjoy quality storytelling from a masterful storyteller.


Peter Pischke is a health and disability journalist and reporter. He can usually be found at the helm of the sub-stack and the Happy Warrior podcast, providing commentary on the news and nerdery of the day. You can find him on Twitter: @happywarriorp.

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