Written by on May 9, 2022

The Marvel train just keeps on rolling and putting out hits. There have been only a few dips in the upwards climb of the timeline that represents their releases. Even when you think they have gone a step too far in their storytelling with characters too far outside the normal they make another hit out of it. I know some don’t give credit to the superhero movie genre, but if movies are a form of entertainment then there’s really nothing to complain about. You should definitely cleanse your palette with a movie that may be a bit deeper at times or makes you think or feel a range of emotions, but never feel bad about what entertains you. In this writing of “Cross The Streams” I’m actually going to cross into both sides of my regular topics: streaming and movie theater trips because you’re gonna need some important tips. If you go see the new movie starring Benedict Cumberbatch as the main character, “Doctor Strange In The Multiverse of Madness” (DSITMoM for short) you are going to need some background that the movies can’t help you with.

What is the Multiverse? Think of it this way: every decision you or anyone else has made shapes our reality to what it is. The theory is that there are alternate universes made up of all the different decisions we have all made and if we could see into them we could see how our decisions could have changed our life or the world. Simple right? The multiverse has become the focus of storytelling in the Marvel Universe with the recent “Spider-Man: No Way Home” using it as a plot point. It was touched on in the final “Avengers: End Game”, but not fleshed out in the current manner. In “SM:NWH” Peter wants people to forget he’s Spider-Man after his secret identity gets spilled to the public by an enemy. His life becomes too complicated and it put those he loves in danger. He goes to Dr. Strange to help with a spell, but he interferes with it to the point that it fractures the walls between the universes and they bleed into each other. That recent Spider-Man movie was loved by fans and critics alike so widely that it will be hard to top. If you haven’t seen it you might be lost on a couple points, but can easily catch up. It tells you how we got to this point with the good Doctor since he premiered in his solo movie in 2016. Everything else in the movie will have you lost if you don’t bridge the gaps.

Now in my opinion if you haven’t watched every Marvel movie you might get a little lost and miss out on certain nods, but if you haven’t watched Disney+ you will be lost on some plot points. Here’s a few of the shows you SHOULD watch:

  1. “Loki” to get a better understanding of the Multiverse and how it functions and how Marvel got to this point. “Loki” is like a training manual to help navigate and sort what’s going on in your own mind.
  2. “Captain Marvel” would also be a movie to make sure you’ve seen to understand some of the narrative, but if not you don’t lose much.
  3. “What If…?” is an animated series where characters in the Marvel movies have made different decisions or had decisions taken out of their hands causing their story lines to change dramatically. “DSITMoM” crosses into and references these Universes and it will be helpful to know why you are seeing something instead of bugging the person next to you at the theater.

While those will help you with watching the newest movie there is one series you will almost HAVE to watch or you may become lost. Wanda Maximoff, who is otherwise known as The Scarlett Witch in the comics and played by Elizabeth Olson is a main character in the new Strange movie. While some of her character development can be gleaned from her appearances in the movies her main arc is solely based in the Disney+ series “Wandavision”. Without watching it you may understand a bit of what is going on and learn from the movie, but you may not be able to follow the entire path or really understand what got her character to the point she is at and references that go directly to that show. The interesting thing is that originally Dr. Strange was supposed to cameo in that show, but Covid kept that from happening and it changed the storytelling slightly. I highly recommend you watch it for the full effect of her character.

This new “Strange” movie is really very good, but also scary at times. Sam Raimi (who also directed the “Spider-Man” movies of the early 2000s that starred Toby Maguire) is the director and if you’ve ever watched one of his horror movies you will see his fingerprints all over this film with his style of camera work and jump scares. He also goes for a bit of the gross factor and that has some people surprised this film only got a PG-13 rating. Some scenes may be too much for young kids. There are nods not only to other Disney Marvel movies, but also FOX Movies and to other Raimi films as well. The storytelling is complex and intriguing and really lets you see the continuation of what the last two Avengers movies caused with “the blip” where half the population disappeared for 5 years. Visually the movie is stunning and the action keeps you engrossed with a number of battles and universe crossing moments that contain “Easter Eggs” for the movie fan and the hardcore comic book reader. There is one that was kept well hidden and caused an audible gasp and some cheers from the audience. This is definitely a movie to watch in the theater to see it in a large scope. I saw it in IMAX, but wish I had known there was 3D version for the full effect of the special effects. IMAX definitely gives you the feeling you’re “in” the scenes, but I feel 3D would have been even better. What I loved is that the movie made you think about the decisions you’ve made in life and asking one simple question throughout that may give you perspective on your own life. I do have my concerns about the path Marvel is on because everything is so wide open, and it can cause the casual fan to feel lost, but they always seem to bring it all back around which is what they have become so good at. You should enjoy “DSITMoM” if you’ve been a fan of the Marvel films over the last decade or so, but make sure you’re fully caught up to enjoy it fully. As always, stay through the end of the credits!

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