Supes Multiverse of Madness Experience:
Marvel Camaraderie After Covid
By Juliette Boland
Six years since the first Doctor Strange film comes one of the most highly anticipated Marvel movies of the year, Doctor Strange: Multiverse of Madness. Five years since my interview with Benedict Cumberbatch at the age of fifteen, I wish I could turn back the Eye of Agamotto to relive this moment with the sorcerer. Two years since the start of the life-altering COVID-19 pandemic, Marvel fans are no longer cooped up in their houses watching the non-stop Disney+ shows. Restless and hungry for adventure, the people were ready for some Doctor Strange magic, and the “Supes Multiverse of Madness Fan Experience” was the perfect charm. It’s time to Scooby Doo this crap.
BEWARE OF SPOILERS!!!
The Mad Experience
It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s Supes! A fan turned celebrity, Matt Ramos, referred to as Supes, is known for his love for all things superheroes, his complex theories and reviews, and his engagement with Marvel and DC fans alike, gaining millions of followers across all social media platforms. Whether you are loyal to the comics or the films, Ramos caters to everyone, with a superhero encyclopedia for a mind and unfeigned geekiness.
Ramos started The Supes Experience with the release of Spider-Man: No Way Home, where the world’s most passionate Marvel fans gathered together to enjoy the long-awaited film. After a year and a half of what we’ll call “The Blip,” people were clambering to watch No Way Home with like-minded Spidey lovers, an experience that would leave any MCU fan drooling. After hearing the positive reviews of The Supes Spider-Man No Way Home Experience, I kept a keen eye out for the next Marvel film in line.
Tickets for The Supes Multiverse of Madness Experience sold out in a few minutes, and I was one of the lucky winners. Donning my favorite Marvel sweater by Ashely Eckstein’s Her Universe, I eagerly arrived at the experience thirty minutes early to find a never-ending line occupied by hundreds of devoted Marvel fans wrapping around the AMC building, which had begun forming hours prior.
Dressed in Spider-Man, Doctor Strange, and Wanda Maximoff cosplays, attendees enthusiastically interacted with one another, exchanging out-of-this-world theories and chattering about the Marvel content creators and influencers that journeyed through the line to talk to ardent fans. The air was electric, and we hadn’t even entered the theater.
Once people found their seats, which were covered in complimentary Multiverse of Madness t-shirts, Supes began a special interview with none other than America Chavez herself, Xochitl Gomez, one of Marvel’s new up-and-coming stars.
Following Supes’ famous, “LET’S GOOO,” the entire room exploded with screaming and applause, especially as the Marvel intro projected images of Wanda and Doctor Strange within the logo. This initial surprise set the tone for the rest of the evening, pure electricity.
(Can you see me?)
We cheered for almost every moment. Doctor Strange maneuvered his cape onto his back whilst jumping off the side of a building, and we screamed. A subtle reference to Spider-Man, and we hollered. The theme to WandaVision played, and we cried. John Krasinski, Hayley Atwell, Anson Mount, Lashana Lynch, and Sir Patrick Stewart appeared as The Illuminati, and we fell out of our chairs. Captain Carter said, “I could do this all day,” and I slapped my neighbor’s arm with screeching only dogs could hear. This was a fantastic movie to watch with fellow Marvel geeks, and it was well worth the time in line.
The night could only be compared to the feeling of stumbling through universe after universe after universe; it was a whirlwind of emotions. If you long for an immersive viewing experience, buy tickets for the next Supes Fan Experience. The energy in that room is unparalleled.
After sitting through the credits and post-credits scenes, fans could gather in the lobby, meet Supes, and take a photo with him in front of a step-and-repeat, which only goes to show Ramos’ kindness and willingness to greet his fans. A true superhero. Thank you, Supes, for bringing MCU fans together. I look forward to the next experience.
The Mind-Blowing Mania in Multiverse of Madness
Phase 4 is defying the filmmaking traditions set by past Marvel films, venturing into different, unprecedented dimensions of storytelling. Doctor Strange: Multiverse of Madness is no exception. Evil Dead director Sam Raimi unapologetically leans into his horror roots to craft a madly hallucinatory film that will leave Marvel fans bewildered yet exhilarated.
The tone is clear and unique to Raimi’s directing style, and the horror elements were not too startling for the typically family-friendly Marvel genre. The film dips into the right amount of darkness, jump scares, and uneasiness to justify the eerily abstract world Raimi intended to create. A return to the Inception and kaleidoscopic nature of the first Doctor Strange film, Multiverse of Madness revels in its mind-bending trips. You will never not be on the edge of your seat.
The horror approach was strategically implemented but at times overwhelmed the already disjointed character development. As the film crams in all-encompassing CGI, arguably implausible, out-of-character moments, and brief expositions, the heart of the story gets lost in the chaos and does not flow as easily as previous stand-alone Marvel films such as Black Widow or Spider-Man: No Way Home, both better examples of economically balancing action and character.
The time and space provided by the new Disney+ shows are unmatched. With an episodic format, the elevated, Marvel-produced series offer greater insight into our beloved superheroes, as well as antiheroes, delving into these characters’ intricate psyches and exploring traumatic, emotional, and deeply therapeutic storylines, all praise-worthy features of Marvel’s Phase 4. The storytelling is less grandiose and is given the time to be more thoughtful, whereas Multiverse of Madness is allotted a mere two hours to cover three separate character arcs jammed in with a cosmic budget for special effects.
Elizabeth Olsen unveils every ounce of her soul for each performance as The Scarlet Witch. Showcasing a wide range, Olsen was granted the opportunity to display all her talents in the Emmy Award winning miniseries WandaVision, where her grounded performance was able to breathe and blossom into the powerhouse lioness Wanda Maximoff became. Marvel fans traveled beside Wanda on her journey through anger, grief, and acceptance and fell in love with her incredibly relatable character, so the year-long wait only increased the anticipation for Multiverse of Madness.
Relegated to portray the traditional horror monster for a substantial portion of the film, Wanda’s character arc is not as layered and her motives not as cleverly dealt with as in WandaVision. Nonetheless, despite the predictability of the script, Elizabeth Olsen delivers another engrossingly humane and heartbreaking performance that saves the messiness of the film and shows the extent at which a mother will go to retrieve her lost children.
Multiverse of Madness introduces a new essential player to the MCU, universe-hopping teenager America Chavez, played by Xochitl Gomez. Although hastily introduced with little backstory, Gomez brings life to the dark film and harkens back to that familiar, youthful Peter Parker flare that Marvel fans want to see more of. Perhaps America Chavez will receive her own Disney+ show that explains her origins? Gomez is instantly likable and overcomes the absurd controversy surrounding her LGBTQIA+ identifying character. Bravo, Gomez!
Benedict Cumberbatch is one of this generation’s most esteemed actors, and his talent is unforgivably wasted as Doctor Strange. Charismatic and a quintessential leading man, Cumberbatch has tackled a myriad of roles every aspiring male actor vies for, from Shakespeare’s Hamlet, which I was fortunate enough to see in person, to sociopathic and equally lovable Sherlock Holmes to mathematics genius Alan Turing. Cumberbatch will go down in history as an acting giant, and six years in, Marvel has still failed to give him his moment as Doctor Strange, unlike some of his MCU counterparts: Elizabeth Olsen (WandaVision), Tom Hiddleston (Loki), Jeremy Renner (Hawkeye), and newly recruited member of the team Oscar Isaac (Moon Knight).
Cumberbatch’s acting is always fascinating to study, but similar to Hiddleston, he is a classically trained actor with the capacity to deliver a polished and nuanced performance as Doctor Strange, if given the time and a longer format, instead of popping in random Marvel films. The Oscar nominated actor is one of my favorite performers of today’s age; he deserves a true heroic moment in the spotlight. (Note to Marvel: Please don’t wait another six years before we see the next Doctor Strange movie.)
Multiverse of Madness is undeniably a fun watch, especially accompanied by a large room full of avid Marvel-heads. The acting is wonderful, the production design is alluring, the cameos are worthy surprises, and certain directorial choices are risky but successfully creative. In my opinion, the main issue was the rushed script, which would benefit from a thorough revision and a fine tooth comb. Nevertheless, the film is doing exceptionally well in the box office and is perceived as a win for Marvel Studios.
There are enough fan service and crowd-pleasing scenes for faithful Marvel-goers to enjoy the film. If you adore Doctor Strange and WandaVision as much as I do, you will love watching this movie full of cheeky references and all its twists and turns.
Juliette Boland is an award-winning host, filmmaker, and writer and is currently a rising junior at USC School of Cinematic Arts.