The sprawling Marvel Cinematic Universe bends reality with the darkly comedic Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. Sam Raimi takes possession of the franchise for a twisted and gnarly horror/comedy as Bennigans Cucumberpatch returns to square off against Elizabeth Olsen’s Scarlet Witch! For Blu-ray 3D fans, you don’t have to dreamwalk to obtain a three-dimensional copy - you just have to import the Japanese 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray set! With the same reference quality 4K disc, this set includes a fantastic and immersive Blu-ray 3D experience with an equally impressive DTS-HD MA 7.1 track to match. For those willing to import and pay that extra hit on shipping to get a 4K UHD and a Blu-ray 3D disc - Highly Recommended
I enjoyed Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness quite a bit. For the dark themes and ideas presented with this gonzo take on the MCU, Sam Raimi was a great choice to take over the franchise. He took his best sensibilities from his Evil Dead films and Drag Me to Hell and poured them into a Doctor Strange adventure. As much as I thoroughly enjoyed this film, I'll admit it's a bit bumpy. Reportedly Raimi was virtually rewriting the movie on the set and if that’s true it shows. Some clumsy exposition, a rushed pace, and the number of obvious pickup shots of the cast standing in front of a blurry non-descript but vaguely familiar background are all hallmarks. Trouble spots aside, in the Multiverse of Madness works.
While bumpy in a few places, I think Raimi ultimately elevated the potential for the Doctor Strange franchise - should we get any further solo adventures. Raimi’s stylings brought a refreshing visual punch to this world of magic and witchcraft. I loved the film’s horror elements and its embrace of gore, even if it was toned down for a PG-13 audience. Scarlet Witch was genuinely scary and I feel that’s in large part because Raimi instinctively knows how to stage a fright, pull it off, but then make you laugh all within a few seconds. Nine years was a damn long time between movies and I hope we don’t have to wait that long again for another Sam Raimi-helmed adventure.
But with the MCU in a weird flux of setting up a multiverse while also apparently building towards the Secret Wars storyline, I do wish the roadmap to where all of these individual films and Disney+ series were going was clearer. After the fun but also confounding Thor: Love and Thunder, you’re left to wonder how any of what we saw here ties into anything else. Phases One through Three were relatively clear - create The Avengers and set up the Infinity War fight with Thanos. Boom, done. How anything that’s come out since End Game connects to anything else is anyone’s guess at this point. One has to simply trust that Keven Feige has this map all worked out. Since this is a universe of infinite possibilities, I’m very curious to see Blade fighting alongside Doctor Strange for a new Morbin adventure!
Here's an excerpt from E.'s 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Review of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness
"Granted, the entire MCU saga, which will be at thirty movies by the end of 2022 with three more the following year and several others already in the works, has always been a giant potpourri of storylines continuously bleeding into one another. But Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is on another level and the epitome of intertextuality to the maddeningly extreme. It's a prime example of the MCU becoming its own multiverse of filmgoing madness where the audience is expected to be familiar with various characters and their individual threads in order to make sense of the latest installment they are currently watching. And it's to the credit of director Sam Raimi for keeping this universe stable enough to deliver an engaging and entertaining movie while successfully introducing a new, interesting character in the star-bursting, verse-jumping America Chavez (Xochitl Gomez). But even he can't help himself from tossing in the occasional allusion, such as a Bruce Campbell cameo or a floating 1973 yellow Oldsmobile.
None of this is to suggest that Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is a bad movie because it is quite entertaining with incredibly imaginative visuals carrying some awesome horror elements. In fact, there are a few moments that toe the line of more R-rated action, but in Raimi's capable hands, it's kept on this side of family-friendliness while still delivering the thrills balanced with several breaks of humor or some cool psychedelic imagery. Watching two sorcerers explain Spider-Man's abilities is hilarious, and the trippy dissolve edits as Karl Mordo (Chiwetel Ejiofor) talks about the Scarlet Witch are surprisingly impressive while Wanda battling the Illuminati arguably remains the movie's highlight action piece. And in spite of a plot designed with prerequisite backstories to fill in vital details, the fantasy-laden superhero flick nonetheless delivers on its promise of a kaleidoscopic, hallucinatory thrill ride. Only, it's a shame that as this cinematic universe continues to grow, audiences are expected to do a bit of homework in advance in order to better enjoy each new installment to that ever sprawling universe."
Vital Disc Stats: The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray / Blu-ray 3D
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness arrives with a new three-disc 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray + Blu-ray + Blu-ray 3D set in Japan. All discs are Region Free. A BD-66 for the 4K with BD-50 discs for the 1080p 2D and 3D discs. Housed in a three-disc case, the discs get their own treys without being stacked. This also includes MovieNEX digital copy but that’s a regional service and I don’t think it connects to Movies Anywhere. There are also fliers for more Doctor Strange-related merch including looks at the Hot Toys figures of Strange and Scarlet Witch. Each disc loads to animated main menus - the Blu-ray 3D only has a Japanese menu option but it’s pretty clear what’s what and when starting the default language is English so all you’ll need to do is turn off the subtitles.
The 2160p HDR10 transfer and the 2D 1080p transfers are identical to the ones issued in the U.S. - so for full details take a look at our 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray and Blu-ray reviews for a full breakdown. For this specific review, we’ll be focusing on the Blu-ray 3D presentation since it’s unique to this release.
When it comes to Blu-ray 3D releases, Disney is a top-tier provider. While they’re not easy discs to acquire these days, they’re worth it. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is no exception. If you cherish your 3D TV, this is a terrific disc. Much like the first Doctor Strange, this is an incredible 3D experience offering deep z-axis depth with terrific use of background, middle field, and close-up objects and characters. Even in tight quarters like when Strange, America, and Christine are running away from Scarlet Witch in the tunnel - the slow-mo droplets of water create a lovely three-dimensional experience. That fight between the two Stranges with the music notes was amazing stuff! Virtually every scene in the film offers a rich amount of image depth.
I say virtually because those pickup shots I mentioned in the main review are even more obvious now. Without any clear middle field or background objects and just the actor standing there, it does have a bit of a cardboard pop-up book feel. Thankfully those sequences don’t last very long; the scene when Wong and Strange corner America after rescuing her is the most obvious example of this effect. Considering the rest of the film is a visual 3D feast, these moments are only small irritations. The rest of the time the image is clean and clear with bright bold colors, sharp details, and strong black levels for a genuinely exciting three-dimensional experience.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness was the first new film I’ve picked up on Blu-ray 3D in quite a while that felt fully worth the effort to get. The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray is still a reference quality presentation, but for those with equipped projectors or those still holding onto their 3D televisions, this disc is a gas! As a huge 3D junkie, if I’m really going to take the time to sit down and fully engage with a movie, I’m honestly far more likely to grab the 3-D disc than a 4K. But that’s just me. My hope is that the upcoming Blu-ray 3D release of Spider-Man: No Way Home is just as impactful, I got the shipping notice for that the other day and can’t wait to check it out.
Like the 1080p 2D disc, this Blu-ray 3D presentation of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness comes packed with the same excellent DTS-HD MA 7.1 audio mix. Here are E.’s thoughts on that experience from his standard Blu-ray review:
"This Blu-ray edition of the latest MCU installment crashes into home theaters with an awesome and fantastically wild DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 soundtrack that kicks into high gear from its opening moments as Strange and America run away from a fiery demon. Action sequences are layered with various atmospheric effects convincingly panning between the surrounds and filling the room with bits of debris while quieter moments come with subtle ambiance in the distance, generating an immersive soundfield. When applying the receivers' Auro-3D up-mixing functionality, these same effects effortlessly spread to the top heights without ever feeling artificial or forced. Meanwhile, imaging feels continuously broad and spacious with lots of background activity discretely moving across the screen and into the off-screen space, creating a highly engaging soundstage. The mid-range also exhibits superb clarity during the loudest, rowdiest moments with clean distinction in the upper frequencies, and vocals are always clear and precise above the action. Most surprising is a robust low-end with a few potent, wall-rattling moments that will bring a smile to the listener's face."
The same set of bonus features has been ported over and aside from the commentary track they're pretty anemic and basic.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is a bit bumpy in a few places with some clunky plot exposition and a new Marvel hero that doesn’t really enjoy a fully rounded introduction, but the film is still incredibly entertaining. Part of what makes the movie a fun ride is Sam Raimi sitting in the Director’s chair. His visual flair and feel for natural horror/comedy were the perfect fit for this dark MCU adventure. Here’s hoping he stays on for the next Doctor Strange outing - and has a little more development time.
Fans of the film won’t need the Darkhold to get the complete visual experience of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. This set imported from Japan gives you the excellent 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray, the strong 2D Blu-ray, and a fantastic Blu-ray 3D disc that is apparently exclusive to this release. So far I have not yet seen this available in any other country than Japan. If you’re a Blu-ray 3D fanatic like myself, I’m happy to have this disc. I saw this film in 3D for my second theatrical outing and loved it and it's become my prefered way to watch this film. However, that price to import might set some folks back. The higher than normal price tag on top of the cost of shipping is the main drawback. However, if you’re planning on picking up a few discs, that might help justify the overseas shipping costs. If you can find this set at a price point that’s favorable to your finances it’s Highly Recommended for 4k Ultra HD Blu-ray fans and Blu-ray 3D junkies!