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Dr Strange review: Elizabeth Olsen's stellar performance is the only part worth watching

rating showbiz 2

Dr Strange in the Multiverse of Madness Certificate: 12 A, 2 h 6 min

Evaluation: rating showbiz 2

wild men Certificate: 15, 1 h 44 min

Evaluation: rating showbiz 4

Eleven days in May Certificate: 18, 1h25

Evaluation: rating showbiz 5

From an awkward opening that could have been straight out of Doctor Who to an early scene involving an octopus gnawing on the bus who are pure ghostbusters, one thing quickly becomes clear: Dr Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is not an adult film.

Yes, that may appeal to hardcore Marvel fans (there’s hardly a Marvel movie that doesn’t) and Benedict Cumberbatch’s most committed finalists, but for the rest of us?

Certainly not so much – I felt uninvolved after 15 minutes and dangerously close to boredom as we entered the second hour.

Yes, that may appeal to die-hard Marvel fans and more committed Benedict Cumberbatch finalists (above), but for the rest of us?  Certainly not so much

Yes, that may appeal to die-hard Marvel fans and more committed Benedict Cumberbatch finalists (above), but for the rest of us? Certainly not so much

And I love most Marvel movies. If it hadn’t been for the fine work of Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda Maximoff – otherwise known as Scarlet Witch – I might have given up.

As one of the most complex female characters in the entire franchise – she’s both grieving and desperate to reunite with children who may only exist in her magical imagination – Olsen is the best thing about her. by… well, a serious Multiverse or Three.

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Ah, the multiverse, that mind-bending notion that in countless parallel universes, alternate versions of our lives are playing out simultaneously.

It hasn’t even been six months since this devilishly clever concept allowed three different Spider-Men to appear in the same film, producing one of the big cinematic moments of 2021.

As one of the most complex female characters in the entire franchise, Elizabeth Olsen's Scarlet Witch (above) is the best thing in this movie out of... well, a serious multiverse or three

As one of the most complex female characters in the entire franchise, Elizabeth Olsen’s Scarlet Witch (above) is the best thing in this movie out of… well, a serious multiverse or three

But here – as Strange (Cumberbatch) and Sorcerer Supreme Wong (Benedict Wong) race from world to world with the help of their new, young, universe-hopping friend America Chavez (Xochitl Gomez) – it’s already an old hat.

Michael Waldron’s script may have some nice lines, but it feels emotionally and structurally flat, while director Sam Raimi, who directed all three of Tobey Maguire’s Spider-Man movies, seems more interested in channeling his previous Evil Dead franchise.

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Frankenstein, Beetlejuice, and Carrie are just three that come to mind as things take a macabre turn.

With a franchise favorite or two returning in alternate roles (this is the multiverse, after all) and a contrived cameo from X-Men star Patrick Stewart, you can see just how hard Waldron and Raimi work.

From an awkward opening to an early scene involving an octopus chomping on the bus (above) who are pure ghostbusters, one thing quickly becomes clear: this is not a movie for adults.

From an awkward opening to an early scene involving an octopus chomping on the bus (above) who are pure ghostbusters, one thing quickly becomes clear: this is not a movie for adults.

But with the American-tinged Cumberbatch on a mundane form and far too much talk of “dark-holds” and “dream-walking,” I walked away tired of visual effects and endless multiverses, but full of new admiration for Olsen.

If you have to go see him, go see him for her.

For those who found The Northman’s brawn, machismo and sheer, uh, Viking-ness a little too much, allow me to recommend wild mena slightly dark Scandinavian comedy that, among other things, gently pokes fun at our newfound enthusiasm for bloodthirsty Nordic marauders.

The film opens with a hulking, fur-clad warrior searching for food. But when he fails to kill a deer with his bow and arrow… he walks into a supermarket and tries to trade one of his furs for food. But they don’t have any of that – it’s money or a card.

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Martin’s midlife crisis, of which trying to live off the land is just the latest part, has had another setback.

From there, we embark on a Tarantino-esque plot that sees Martin (Rasmus Bjerg) team up with a fugitive drug dealer, as they try to stay one step ahead of the pursuing police, the former accomplices of the smuggler and the furious wife of Martin.

What results is both funny and gently moving.

Eleven days in Mayco-directed by Michael Winterbottom, is a harrowing documentary about a series of Israeli air raids on Gaza last year.

Around 60 children were killed in the raids and this deliberately graphic documentary names and pays immensely moving tribute to almost every one of them.

It’s tempting to look away. But as grieving siblings line up to talk about lost siblings, and parents quietly assemble little piles of their child’s favorite possessions, it seems more important than ever that we don’t.

Heartbreaking and extremely powerful.

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