2020 had just started, the word Covid-19 was only mentioned by a few scientific media, we were carefree. On the side of Marvel, things turned out to be more complicated. Especially for a certain Scott Derrickson, the filmmaker behind the first Doctor Strange, who was to return for his highly anticipated sequel and explore the now famous multiverse. On January 9, 2020, the American director announced on Twitter that he was no longer part of the project. In question, “creative differences”. Understand: Derrickson had another movie in mind. The man to whom we owe the fabulous Sinister had proclaimed loud and clear that he wanted to make this Strange the first horror film in the MCU. His departure seemed to mean another vision, and everyone began to fear for the bousin’s ambition. And then, Disney found another director for this project, and not the least: Sam Raimi, the gentleman behind the horror trilogy of genius Evil Dead and that of Spider-Man first of the name, with Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst. and bad news. Whether or not you like the Marvel Cinematic Universe launched in 2008 with Iron Man, it is clear that Disney’s vision is more a coherent whole than an aggregate of artistic works marked with the iron of their directors. Where DC allows Matt Reeves or Zack Snyder to be more artistically free, Disney’s Marvel has more visual and storyline uniformity. The proof with James Gunn who, once freed from this shackles, was able to let go with a Suicide Squad. So, necessarily, two questions arose concerning this sequel: would this Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness still be a film? horror? Will Sam Raimi succeed in leaving his mark, not only acting as a “yes man”? Spoiler: yes and yes. Explanations.A Marvel that takes risksLet’s face it, this is a Marvel movie. A good blocksbuster that sweats green screens and cosmic fights of capped characters, which contains its share of cameos, more or less pointed references, catalog exploitation, which some will call “fan service”, humor in less – which feels good, given the tone of the film. Besides, Raimi seems to be bored when the scenes are only intended to advance the artillery of Disney. The framing becomes flat and the editing plan-plan (rarely have shots-reverse shots jumped out at us so much). That’s not what interests him. The proof by the rickety structure. We evacuate the ins and outs of the film as quickly as possible, we send scenes of dialogue to quickly move on to the next one. This Doctor Strange has the smell of the film freshly butchered in the editing room. To spoil nothing, the hero is confronted with his Nemesis and his motivations after twenty big minutes. The rest is therefore a peregrination in the madness of the multiverse, where Raimi can have fun doing what he likes the most: trying things out. The film is teeming with ideas, attempts. There’s more visually happening in one sequence than in some long MCU wholes. The camera moves in all directions, zooms, rotates constantly. With the limited leeway he has, Sam Raimi manages to return to his first love, which is horror that smacks of System D but with the budget and technology to go along with his cravings. On the image, funny demons arrive, horrific and morbid images tickle our retinas. It’s like seeing a fake nanar inside a blockbuster, and it’s refreshing. Refreshing because rare. It’s not common to see an MCU movie released as soon as it can from Feige productions codes, which Raimi even seems to brazenly mock – unbelievable that Disney let that second post-credits scene slip by. We feel the malicious pleasure [attention spoiler] the filmmaker has to massacre certain characters, both physically and psychologically. It is obvious that the most purists may hate the treatment of the protagonists, especially that of Wanda, who moves away from the “subtlety” of WandaVision to confront more frontally what torments the heroine – don’t get me wrong, we love WandaVision , but having two different approaches to the same character does not shock us. A mess at top speedApart from the form, it is also in substance that the film is a real Raimi project. We find themes intimately linked to the subjects that have always been at the heart of the filmmaker’s stories, in particular the Evil Dead. Heroic and tortured characters (Ash, but also Spider-Man or Darkman), facing forces of dark sorcery (Evil Dead, Down to Hell and Oz) and who face evil doubles (Bad Ash and Good Ash in Army of Darkness, Spider-Man and his symbiote in Spider-Man 3). All because of magic books (the Necronomicon), and with zombies (the Army of Darkness, but there is one in Strange that looks like two drops of water to Darkman). In short, you will have understood it : Sam Raimi prints his paw and it is impossible to say that the film is not his. Perhaps a little too much, both the content and the form lead to the formation of a beautiful mess. It overflows, and it is sometimes indigestible. But don’t we prefer this kind of awkwardness to the softness of a lambda blockbuster? Especially if all this is intended to scare. We are talking about a Marvel PG-13 film, because obviously we cannot tend towards pure horror. Remember the digitally erased drops of blood after the release of Falcon and the Winter Soldier. It’s not in the house’s DNA to show too crappy effects. It would be choosy not to recognize what Raimi managed to impose. In the first quarter of an hour, a giant octopus has its big, dirty eyeball gouged out, which we see close up falling to the ground. In all honesty, I don’t think I would recommend the film to my cousin. 10 years old, he who is a fan of the MCU. I know it’s the kind of feature film that would have given me many nightmares at his age. Some will say that the film is not brave enough, that it should have gone further. Others that he’s not quite in the vein of the MCU. No doubt everyone is right, except that this is perhaps the most interesting thing since the last Avengers. From afar.