Note: There are no spoilers in this article beyond what has already been shown or referenced in trailers, ads, and merchandise. (There may be spoilers for previous Marvel Cinematic Universe content, however.)
1. Is it good? Will I like it?
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (DSMM) is much better than its goofy-sounding title might make you think it is. The acting is top-notch: now-16-year-old Xochitl Gomez does a very credible job as America Chavez; Elizabeth Olsen (Wanda/Scarlet Witch) has come a long way, acting-wise, since her MCU premiere in Avengers: Age of Ultron, although every trace of the accent she had then is now gone; Benedict Wong is as fantastic as always as Wong; and Benedict Cumberbatch is, of course, Benedict Cumberbatch. Rachel McAdams (Christine) also plays a much more important part in the movie than she did in the first Doctor Strange film.
The plot is very solid, and keeps you fascinated throughout the movie. Here I must give credit to whoever made the trailers for this film, as they managed to avoid revealing much about the plot while still making it look interesting. Whatever you think the plot is (unless you’ve been spoiled, of course), you’re probably wrong; I was certainly surprised at several major turns. There’s plenty of humor, of course – it is a Sam Raimi film, after all – but there is a constant sense of danger even when it’s going for a laugh. It is a wonderfully entertaining movie, and an excellent addition to the MCU.
Side note for trivia nerds: The first Doctor Strange movie and DSMM are quite possibly the only two movies to star two actors named “Benedict.” I have not researched this to find out if it’s true, but I just had to mention it.
2. Should I take my kids to see it?
Anyone who’s seen most or all of the previous MCU movies will love it. It’s got some gore, and some zombie action (this was in the trailers), and it is full of fraught situations involving a teenage girl, but it’s PG-13 and it doesn’t strain the boundary too much.
3. What do I need to have watched before I see it?
This is always a question when it comes to the MCU. In order to really understand what’s happening in DSMM, you should have seen the first Doctor Strange, of course; Avengers: Infinity War; Spider-Man: No Way Home; but most of all, you need to have seen the Disney+ show WandaVision. If you have not seen WandaVision, I strongly suggest you watch it before you see this movie, because I guarantee that much of it will make no sense if you don’t. It would also be very useful, though not essential, to have seen the Disney+ animated series What If…? There are a few other things that it would be useful to know about ahead of time, but there’s no way I can mention them without spoiling some wonderful surprises.
That being said, that is really all you need. The other MCU Disney+ shows aren’t relevant to the movie, though Loki does cover some similar subjects. Seriously, though, watch WandaVision.
4. When is a good time to visit the restroom?
DSMM is pretty action-packed, so the only really good times to go come right near the beginning of the movie, when they’re least useful. There is an extended scene, however, a fair way through the film, wherein Strange and Mordo (the always-excellent Chiwetel Ejiofor) fight. It’s a cool scene, but it won’t affect your understanding of the plot if you miss it. I was too engrossed in the movie to check the time on my watch, but I think you’ll know when it’s about to happen.
5. Is it worth paying more to see it in IMAX? How about 3D?
It is absolutely worth paying more to see it in IMAX. I saw it in IMAX at a preview screening, and it was just spectacular; I’m sure it’s fine on a regular screen, but if you really want to get the full effect, go IMAX. As for 3D, I usually think it’s a waste of money; I’ve only seen the movie in regular old 2D, but trust me, it is plenty. I think 3D would just distract you from the parts of the screen you should be watching.
6. How many credits scenes are there?
There are two: one mid-credits, and one at the very end. The mid-credits scene is essential; the end one is awesome, but does not advance the plot in any way. If you or your kids need the restroom, I suggest waiting until after the mid-credits scene if at all possible, but the end scene is not worth the anxiety of waiting for it if nature is calling. If you don’t need to leave, though, I highly recommend staying to watch it.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness premieres tonight, April 5, 2022. It is rated PG-13. Go see it! This is one you don’t want to wait to watch on home video if you can avoid it.
Note: Yes, I know that Wanda technically first appeared in the mid-credits scene in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. But she didn’t even have a single line then, so I’m not counting it.
Disclosure: I was invited to a free preview screening of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. All opinions expressed here are my own.