It's that time again folks, with the arrival of a new movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe there are no doubt a few people wondering "What should I watch or re-watch to get ready?" We could no doubt give you a list of Marvel movies that might enhance the experience from a continuity stand point, but like we did with The Batman we think it might be more fun to dig into movies that can only enhance the experience as a first-time viewer or give you that same sort of feeling when all is said and done.
Written by Loki and Rick & Morty scribe Michael Waldron and directed by Sam Raimi (his first movie in over a decade), Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness would be the most ambitious Marvel Studios movie in years if Spider-Man: No Way Home hadn't just become one of the most successful movies of the new millennium. While No Way Home kicked open the door to the multiverse concept, building on the idea of Variants as seen in Loki, the Doctor Strange sequel seems uniquely suited to rip the door off its hinges and set it on fire. Below we've collected movies that deal with alternate realities, meta-narratives, and huge concepts that are thrown at the audience like a pie at a clown show. Take them in to enhance your viewing of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.
(Side-bar: If we were to do a "just watch these Marvel movies list," it would probably be: Spider-Man: No Way Home, Captain Marvel, X-2: X-Men United, Doctor Strange, and WandaVision as the go-to titles. But you're hoping for something that expands your horizons a little more, right?)
The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension
Though the 1984 cult film perhaps has more in common with John Carpenter's They Live than the upcoming Marvel sequel, there is something that the W. D. Richter film and Multiverse of Madness likely do share, trusting an audience to go along with a quick summation of big ideas. The Peter Weller-starring movie quickly establishes a lot about not only his titular hero but his capabilities and the scientific concepts at its core, something that Doctor Strange 2 will also need to do in order to catch up audiences to its many alternate-universe threads that are at play.prevnext
Alex Proyas' 1998 cult hit tells the tale of a man caught in a wild sci-fi world. Rufus Sewell stars as John Murdoch, a man who wakes up with the threat of a police investigation into multiple murders by his hand over his head, plus reality altering superpowers, and a bizarre secret society of men in black outfits following him at every corner. To explain Dark City to you further without spoiling it would be a disservice to viewing it, but just know that the mind behind The Crow created another iconic institution of gothic filmmaking here. Plus, Dark City has a scene-chewing Kiefer Sutherland, Jennifer Connelly, and a slew of "hey, that guy!" character actors holding it up.prevnext
It would be easy to recommend Sam Raimi's Spider-Man or its sequel as a means of seeing his capabilities with a superhero on the big screen, but his 1990 film Darkman shows that he has been executing this stuff for decades and that his originality knows no bounds. Darkman was made as a result of Raimi being unable to make The Shadow as a feature film, showing off his ability to tap into classic comic book tropes and pulp super-heroism when no one else in Hollywood was even considering it. Liam Neeson stars as the title hero, a brilliant surgeon whose synthetic skin invention comes in handy after a mob encounter leaves him hideously scarred and equally as deranged. It's wild, wacky, deeply romantic, and succinctly puts together its own world and rules with efficiency and skill.prevnext
It has been six years since the solo movie debut of the Sorcerer Supreme, the longest gap between a solo film and its sequel in the history of the MCU so far. Considering the wealth of information and concepts that the film introduced, it's probably worth taking another look, especially to recall the dynamics between Doctor Strange and his cohorts at the hospital before he became a magic user. We already know that both Michael Stuhlbarg and Rachel McAdams are set to reprise their roles, and Strange has been through a lot since we last saw either of them interact with the hero on the big screen.prevnext
Everything Everywhere All At Once
If you're reading an article like this with an appetite for film knowledge and recommendations, it's probable that you've already seen this movie, but the multiverse-themed drama from A24 and Daniels has an epic scope and endless creativity that make it necessary viewing. At its core, the Michelle Yeoh-starring film is a heart-wrenching drama about growing up and the despair of disconnecting from your family. Doctor Strange 2 might be showing us a wide variety of alternate universes but will it give us one where everyone has hotdogs for fingers?prevnext
Evil Dead II
Though not his first film, Raimi's horror sequel is perhaps the best entry point into his filmography and the purest example of his sensibilities as a filmmaker. No matter the size of the stage or the amount of tools at his disposal, Raimi is capable of scaring you, thrilling you, making you laugh, and making you care about his characters, and Evil Dead II is him perfecting the formula that he and his collaborators started with the first movie. Plus, if the upped ante that Sam and company delivered with this sequel is any indicator of what they're going to double-down on for Doctor Strange 2, we're in for a treat.prevnext
What does one of Stuart Gordon's many H.P. Lovecraft adaptations have to do with a new Marvel movie? Well, it's literally about scientists peaking between dimensions and features disgusting weird monsters. Considering Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is set to feature the MCU debut of tentacled beast Gargantos, based on the Marvel monster Shuma-Gorath which, despite being a Robert E. Howard creation, feels a lot like a Lovecraft monster. From Beyond is gross and weird and horny, textures you're probably not going to find in Doctor Strange 2, but ones that will enhance your palate as a film fan.prevnext
In the Mouth of Madness
The conclusion to John Carpenter's "Apocalypse Trilogy," Sam Neill stars in the paranoia-fueled feature that bends the line between reality and fiction. Where's the connection to Doctor Strange? We've got evil books, tentacle monsters, and an uncertainty about what's real and what isn't here, this plot seems like it was written for a Doctor Strange comic! I also won't lie to you, there aren't a lot of other movies that have "Madness" in the title, and this is probably the best one, so it's something worth highlighting.prevnext
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness screenwriter Michael Waldron said he had two major inspirations for the film, the late Anthony Bourdain and Harrison Ford's Indiana Jones. There's hundreds of hours of Parts Unknown and No Reservations to watch to get a feel for AB, there's only four instances of Dr. Henry Jones, Jr. to watch, so why not watch the one that is most like a horror movie?
"He's Indiana Jones in a cloak to me," Waldron told Vanity Fair. "He's a hero who can take a punch. That's what made those Harrison Ford heroes so great. Those guys get their asses kicked. Look at Stephen Strange in the first movie. He's really getting beat up, but he's very capable and everything."prevnext
Last Action Hero
The movie satire from John McTiernan and Shane Black might have more in common with Doctor Strange 2 than you think. Built on a foundation of sending up the tropes of the action genre, its star Arnold Schwarzenegger, and, in fact, the narratives of every feature film as a whole, Last Action Hero is in a way a multiverse movie and one that has a lot of fun with the concept and its meta potential. With Spider-Man: No Way Home and now Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness making countless other Marvel movies that Marvel Studios had no hand in a part of their larger canon, the Marvel Cinematic Multiverse if you will, the potential for some fun with the idea seems likely, get started with that tongue-in-cheek winking here.prevnext
Though Terry Gilliam's insane 1995 sci-fi feature is technically a time travel movie and not a multiverse movie, it still tells the story of a protagonist caught in a loop of their own making. There's also the core message of the film, which is about consequences, both of which are something the trailers for Doctor Strange 2 make clear is the driving force of its own plot. While the spectacle of a Marvel movie might be what some audiences are eager to see there is elegance in the storytelling of Twelve Monkeys that will shake you to your core, plus a tactile nature to its practical sets that make it a gold standard of "what movies used to be."
Want to learn more about Doctor Strange and Scarlet Witch's latest adventure in the Marvel Cinematic Universe? Check back on ComicBook CRAM every day leading up to the premiere of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness and click here for even more content to find out everything you need to know about the new movie!prev