Haunted Mansion Review

 Ready for a little spookiness in August? I'll be honest the desire to throw on a jumper, buy pumpkins and embrace all things spooky has hit me early this year, mainly due to the depressing summer weather here in the UK. But something still feels slightly off about releasing a ghost movie in the middle of summer but that is exactly what Disney have done with Haunted Mansion. Haunted Mansion is the second film of its name release by Disney, The Haunted Mansion (Rob Minkoff, 2003) was my go-to childhood scary movie, although there is no link between the two films. It is also the second film to be based on a Disney ride, the first being the Pirates of the Caribbean film series. The ride features at five Disney Parks, under three names: The Haunted Mansion, Phantom Manor and Mystic Manor, and the film makes numerous nods to the dark ride. So, join me foolish mortals on a journey to the Haunted Mansion.  Haunted Mansion's opening act is perfect, scary and full of mystery. As we open

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness Review

The latest installation to the MCU is finally here! I have been so excited for this film since it was first announced by Kevin Feige, but all the Covid-19 delays made it feel like we were never going to actually see the darkest MCU film to date. So, despite the fact I've been taking a little blogging break I just had to review Scarlet Witch in the Multiverse of Madness...oops I mean Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. What can you expect from the self-dubbed scariest MCU installation so far? Expect a semi-scary film, full of great moments and weirdness, just don’t expect it to reach the level of the Avengers films. 
There will be spoilers below - but only very minor. 

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness opens midway through an action sequence that features an alternate version of Strange (All versions played by Benedict Cumberbatch) as he attempts to protect newcomer America Chaves (Xochitl Gomez). Just as America faces certain death, she activates her powers and jumps through different universes landing on Earth 616: the location of the MCU and our team of Avengers. Here she meets our version of Strange, who quickly defeats the monster which followed her through the portal with the help of Wong (Benedict Wong). Strange seeking help with America turns to Wanda (Elizabeth Olsen), yet his plans come to a messy holt when Wanda reveals herself as the villain. Her wish: to steal America’s powers so she can reach her children Tommy (Jett Kline) and Billy (Julian Hilliard). As Wanda puts it, if Strange doesn’t hand over America, the Scarlet Witch will come for her and that is exactly what happens. What ensues is a story across universes, although perhaps not enough universes. Narrative wise, the film is a little messy, with random scene cuts, no breathing time and no real builds or falls - however ‘Madness’ is in the title which is why it kind of works.
We waited six years for a second Doctor Strange solo film, only for him to get overshadowed by Wanda. Olsen’s captivating Wanda is the clear MVP of the film, she gets the best scenes, the best lines and she even has the most compelling story. It’s impossible to route against her, so you spend the film routing for both Strange and Wanda who are on opposing sides. Every time Strange gets a cool moment Wanda follows up with something chilling, thrilling or captivating. Wanda is simply too big of a character to act as an antagonist in another film, she should have been the antagonist of her own film and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness should have focused on Strange. Despite that the relationship of trust formed between Strange and America is heart-warming, after almost being killed by an alternate Strange America doubts she will be safe with any version of the sorcerer yet the pair form a beautiful unbreakable bond. America Chaves is a brilliant new addition to the MCU her character fitting right in, her powers ready for the next phase of the MCU, I cannot wait to see more of her. Also making her return is Christine Palmer (Rachel McAdams), it's great to have her back, although I do wonder if we will see her again. 
A lot of discussion surrounding this film focuses upon the darker tone, whilst the tone is darker and there are some clear horror inspired moments, for me the film didn’t go far enough. Now, I’m a big baby when it comes to scary moments and other than being grossed out a points, I didn’t feel scared at any all. But despite this the new darker tone is a welcome one, there are less laughs and more menacing moments that fit with the powers possessed by Strange and Wanda. I certainly hope we will see more of this tone filter through into future MCU films (Although I won’t hold out hope). Danny Elfman delivers an immaculate score, which fits the tone and narrative perfectly. 
Overall, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness provides a welcome tone change whilst opening up the multiverse. Implications from this film will be huge with merges happening throughout the universes, I do wonder if Jane's version of Thor in Thor Love and Thunder will be a result of these merges. Sadly, however I wanted more from this film as a whole, and I want more from the MCU in terms of lead female characters, it's well past time for Wanda to have her own solo films - that should have been the follow on from WandaVision, but just like Black Widow and Wasp and countless others Wanda seems fated for now at least to be squashed into male led movies, even when she dominates the narrative.

Also, just a quick note on those cameos: there was audible gasps in my cinema (and from myself) and I really hope we see at least one of those actors again. 

Let me know you thought of the film and my review in the comments. 

Thank you for reading xx