"The fate of the universe depends on us," says Sorcerer Supreme Wong (Benedict Wong) in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, now playing exclusively in theaters. Marvel Studios has released a critics spot touting the reception to Spider-Man trilogy director Sam Raimi's return to the Marvel multiverse, scoring a fresh 78% approval from critics on Rotten Tomatoes. Parts sequel to 2016's Doctor Strange, Spider-Man: No Way Home, and Disney+'s Loki and WandaVision, Marvel's latest takes sorcerer Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) and the Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) on a mind-bending trip through strange new dimensions with America Chavez (Xochitl Gomez).
"After years of the franchise incrementally teasing the idea of the onscreen Avengers crossing over with other universes, Multiverse of Madness ambitiously kicks that door wide open, and it does so in a unique and decisive fashion," writes Jenna Anderson in ComicBook's spoiler-free Doctor Strange 2 review. "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is unpredictable, inventive, and undoubtedly mesmerizing — and the MCU is better off for it."
In the aftermath of Avengers: Endgame and Spider-Man: No Way Home, Stephen Strange faces the consequences of his actions — and the actions of Loki (Tom Hiddleston) and the variant Sylvie (Sophia Di Martino) in the Marvel Studios series Loki. In its first season finale, Sylvie unleashed the multiverse when she killed He Who Remains (Jonathan Majors), the timelord ruler of the TVA and a variant of Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania villain Kang the Conquerer.
"There's always a method to the madness, even at the multiverse," Marvel Studios president and producer Kevin Feige told Marvel.com. "Loki and Sylvie did something at the end of that series that sort of allowed all of this to be possible. He Who Remains is gone, and that allowed a spell to go wrong in Spider-Man: No Way Home, which leads to the entire multiverse going quite mad."
Starring Benedict Cumberbatch, Elizabeth Olsen, Benedict Wong, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Xochitl Gomez, with Michael Stühlbarg and Rachel McAdams, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is now playing only in theaters.