‘Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness’ First Reactions Praise Director Sam Raimi’s ‘Brilliant Mind’

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” has officially concluded its world premiere and the first reactions for the new entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe are pouring in online, with film journalists calling the long-awaited sequel everything from a film that “fully goes horror” to “a mixed bag.” One thing almost everyone seems to agree on is that it’s nice to see Sam Raimi back in the director’s chair.

Benedict Cumberbatch reprises the title role in “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness,” which is helmed by Raimi. The film picks up after the events of “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” in which Stephen Strange changed the face of reality by opening up the multiverse. Now, Strange is forced to team up with old and new allies as he ventures into the multiverse to face a new enemy. The film co-stars Elizabeth Olsen, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Benedict Wong, Xochitl Gomez, Michael Stuhlbarg and Rachel McAdams.

Variety’s senior awards editor Clayton Davis said Marvel fans “finally got their horror movie,” teasing a bit of body horror involving face displacement.

Critic and Variety contributor Courtney Howard highlighted MCU newcomer Xochitl Gomez as “a scene stealer.”

Gizmodo and io9’s Germain Lussier couched his praise by saying the film is “wildly disjointed, partially on purpose, so it doesn’t always work,” before highlighting the “huge surprises” it has in store.

In Review Online’s Matt Lynch was fairly harsh in his criticism, praising Raimi’s contributions but calling the MCU entry a “crummy looking mostly incoherent slog.”

Critic Alex McLevy wrote that the strongest aspect of the film is Sam Raimi’s direction, implying it stands in contrast to Marvel’s usual house style.

The Wrap’s Drew Taylor called the sequel “totally madcap and insane” adding that it’s “easily the scariest MCU entry thus far.”

Critic Karl Delossantos especially loved Olsen’s performance as Scarlet Witch, suggesting it might be time to kick off an Oscar campaign.

Brian Tallerico, editor at RogerEbert.com, kept his apathy simple, writing “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Mehness.”

For Marvel movie fans, “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” is a much-anticipated event, not only for the MCU twists it has in store (see all the discussions around the inclusion of the Illuminati) but also because it marks Raimi’s first superhero film since he wrapped up his “Spider-Man” trilogy.

“Marvel allowed me complete creative freedom,” Raimi recently told Rolling Stone. “However, it had to follow so many things in Marvel lore, [so] even though I had complete freedom, the previous movies and where Marvel wants to go in the future really directed the path in an incredibly specific way. Within those parameters I have freedom, but I’ve got to tell the story of those characters in a way that ties in with all of the properties simultaneously.”

“Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” opens in theaters nationwide May 6.

Check out a handful of first reactions for the latest MCU tentpole in the posts below:

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