Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness Parent Guide
This sequel amps up the horror elements and although it isn't terrifying, the story is often unsettling.
Parent Movie Review
Doctor Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) is having a terrible day, attending the wedding of a woman for whom he has feelings. Sadly, the universe has far worse in store for the Master of the Mystic Arts than a little heartache. While he’s making the most of the reception’s open bar, a colossal tentacled monster drops out of the sky and starts destroying New York. It’s just another day’s work for the Doctor.
What the good doctor wasn’t expecting was a young girl with the unlikely name of America Chavez (Xochitl Gomez), and the even unlikelier ability to travel through different universes in the multiverse, to turn up with the corpse of another realm’s Doctor Strange. America is on the run from a terrifying array of monsters much like the one Strange just dispatched, being sent by an unknown entity who seeks to seize her multiverse-shifting abilities for its own purposes.
Without much information to go on, Strange seeks out the help of the next most powerful magic user he knows: Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen), The Scarlet Witch. Far from the help he was hoping for, Strange instead learns that Wanda is the one hunting America’s power, desperate to use it to be reunited with her lost children…and she’s willing to go to any lengths to get it. Doctor Strange will have to test his own mystic arts against the terrifying witchcraft of his former ally if he wants to save the young girl.
While this is very much a modern Marvel film, director Sam Raimi has certainly put his own stamp on things. Leaning away from Marvel’s usual sci-fi/fantasy settings and veering more towards Lovecraftian horror, elements of the film are reminiscent of Raimi’s unhinged efforts in films like The Evil Dead. It isn’t exactly scary, per se, but it definitely manages to be unsettling, and in one or two instances, downright startling.
It also manages to create a remarkably sympathetic villain. Still reeling from her experiences in WandaVision, Wanda is quite clearly out of her mind, but her motivations and expressions are compelling. The downside is that if you, like me, haven’t bothered to watch that particular Disney+ series, you’re going to spend a lot of the movie playing catch up and hunting down the morsels of exposition the characters drop like breadcrumbs across the plot. Marvel is increasingly reliant on an audience which is familiar with all of its previous output, which means Doctor Strange is now much like the mythical turtle, carrying the universe on its back.
Parents should note that this film is particularly unsuitable for kids. The horror elements of the story make this far too dark and frightening for young children, and the PG-13 rating is a pretty good indicator of who should be sitting through the film. Unless you think your 8-year-old can stomach some fairly disturbing necromancy involving the howling souls of the damned trying to drag various characters off to hell, along with The Scarlet Witch descending into a deeply unpleasant madness, this isn’t a great choice for family entertainment. Of course, you might just enjoy dealing with screaming nightmare-riddled kids waking you up in the middle of the night for reassurance that no, the howling souls of the damned are not trying to get in their window, it’s just the wind. This time, at least.Directed by Sam Raimi. Starring Benedict Cumberbatch, Benedict Wong, Elizabeth Olsen, Rachel McAdams. Running time: 126 minutes. Theatrical release May 6, 2022. Updated May 6, 2022
Watch the trailer for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness
Rating & Content Info
Why is Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness rated PG-13? Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is rated PG-13 by the MPAA for intense sequences of violence and action, frightening images and some language.
Violence: There are frequent jump scares and scenes of peril. People are pursued by supernatural entities and monsters and are threatened with magical torture. Demonic beings attack people. People are stabbed, incinerated, impaled, bisected, crushed, and on one occasion, spaghettified (if that’s a word). A decomposed corpse is reanimated. There are fistfights as well as fights involving weapons. A large alien has its eye gouged out with a streetlamp. Burning corpses are seen.
Sexual Content: None.
Profanity: There are three uses of scatological profanity and infrequent uses of mild cursing and terms of deity.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Adult characters are seen drinking socially.
Page last updated May 6, 2022
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness Parents' Guide
Stephen Strange frequently tells people he’s perfectly happy, despite evidence to the contrary. Why does he feel he needs to be ok? How have his experiences fighting Thanos changed his perspective on his decision making? How do his experiences with alternate versions of himself change that perspective? How did Wanda’s previous experiences bring her to where she is now? How does America ultimately stop her? Why is that significant for her character?
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Fans of some of the horror aspects of the film should try H.P. Lovecraft stories like The Nameless City or At the Mountains of Madness.
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Other Marvel films which build to this film include Doctor Strange, Avengers: Infinity War, Avengers: Endgame, and Spider-Man: No Way Home. For darker, more frightening looks at the superhero genre, adult viewers can try Ghost Rider, Constantine, Blade, Brightburn, Hellboy, and Venom.