Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness Footage Reaction: All Nightmares Are Real [CinemaCon 2022]

CinemaCon madness is afoot, and all the upcoming blockbusters are showing footage to assembled press and theater owners. And /Film is on the ground in Las Vegas, writing it all up for you! One of the most anticipated films on the horizon for comic book and superhero fans is Marvel Studios' "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness." All the Marvel Disney+ shows and films like "Spider-Man: No Way Home" have been building up to this moment, and now we have another taste of what we're going to see as the multiverse breaks open and chaos ensues. 

"Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness" is directed by Sam Raimi and features the return of Dr. Steven Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) and Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen), aka Scarlet Witch, who are dealing with the ramifications of the sorcerer's tampering with the fabric of reality. Naturally, the film will also see the return of Wong (Benedict Wong) and Mordo (Chiwetel Ejiofor). We're also getting to see the Marvel Cinematic Universe debut of America Chavez (Xochitl Gomez), a future (we hope) Young Avenger.

Here's a breakdown of what we saw at CinemaCon, where an extended clip from the film premiered. Note: Roughly 15 minutes of the movie were screened, so consider this a spoiler warning for the opening scenes of the movie. 

Doctor Strange footage

The footage kicks off with floating debris in a purple sky, which mirrors some of the chaotic shots we've seen in previous trailers. We then get a glimpse of Strange with a ponytail (a variant within the multiverse, perhaps?) running alongside a new character, the young superhero America Chavez. They are seen hopping across debris before she asks, in Spanish, if they killed a monster. Strange has merely frozen it, not killed it and he replies, also in Spanish, "No, that's how we kill it." The creature breaks out of the ice and ends up stabbing Strange in the leg. Strange once again uses magic to encase it in something other than ice. "It's too strong, I can't hold it" he says. The creature begins to burst out of the forcefield. Strange and Chavez are trying to reach some kind of blue stone, though it's not clear precisely what this is.

Strange then apologizes to Chavez and says "this is the only way" before he proceeds to suck the life out of her. She's terrified. The sorcerer claims he's doing it because he doesn't want this creature to take her power. "You can't control it," he says, and she replies, "But we're friends." Strange then delivers a line explaining that in the grand context of the multiverse, her sacrifice is worth it — just as the creature stabs Strange through the chest. Chavez tries to escape, but she's grabbed by the creature. She screams and her eyes turn blue, and her powers become explosive. Strange, seemingly on the verge of death, launches powerful magic rings to cut off the monster's arms that are holding her in place, and she falls through a star-shaped portal. 

And then Strange wakes up.

After waking from this nightmare, Strange puts on a suit and goes to a church where he meets Michael Stuhlbarg's Dr. West, who you may remember from the first "Doctor Strange" film. They sit in a pew and talk about how they've both been dusted by Thanos for five years. West lost his cats and his brother and he asks Strange if "it" — meaning Strange's plan to save the universe as seen in "Infinity War" and "Endgame" — had to happen that way. "No, I made the only play we had," Strange says. "Of course you did. The best surgeon and the best superhero. But you still didn't get the girl," West says in reply. 

And then we hear a wedding march, and Rachel McAdams' Christine (also from the first film) walks down the aisle. Yep, we're at her wedding and she's not getting married to Strange. Rather, she's marrying someone new named Charlie. Cut to the next scene where Strange watches her dance with her new husband.

Strange customs

Christine and Strange meet at the bar at the reception, where Strange apologizes for making sacrifices to protect her. "I never stopped caring about us," he says. She replies: "It was never going to work out between us." They're seemingly happy for each other. 

At that moment, there's a disturbance outside and Strange puts on the Cloak of Levitation and leaps into action, saving pedestrians from an unseen force that is ripping through cars. It's a tentacled one-eyed creature that we've seen in the trailer, aka Gargantos. Stephen throws his cloak and it catches a falling America Chaz, who was in a bus being held up by the creature. She asks "Do I know you?" which prompts Strange to have a quick flashback to the dream from before.

The creature throws the bus at them, which Strange cuts in half with a magical blade. This is again something we've seen in the trailers. Wong, the current Sorcerer Supreme, as seen in "Spider-Man: No Way Home," comes in to save the day, using a magic whip and looking like a total badass. Flipping and dancing across the tentacles while Strange is knocked out on the sidelines, Wong gets the job done. The cloak helps to save America Chavez, but gets pinned to a fire escape by a motorcycle. Strange comes to and joins Wong in the fight."You know it's an ancient custom to bow in the presence of the Sorcerer Supreme?" Wong asks "Yeah, I'm aware of the customs," Strange says, refusing to bow.

The wedding party is looking on from a balcony, a moment that feels reminiscent of Raimi's work in his "Spider-Man" movies. Strange uses magic to launch a light post into the creature's eye, and yanks it out of its skull in a pretty gross moment. America Chavez stops a piece of the balcony with her powers and a star-shaped piece of concrete falls on the creature. Wong and Strange catch up with Chavez, and she reveals that she's from another universe. This version of Strange does not speak Spanish like the one in his nightmare did. We then cut to a diner, which serves as a place for the movie to deliver an exposition dump from Chavez. "All we knew is that they wanted to take my power for themselves... I can travel the multiverse," she says, revealing that "it only happens when I'm really, really afraid."

We discover that they need to find The Book of Vishaniti, but this book is said to be unreachable. However, in another universe, Chavez and Strange reached it but "then the demon caught up with us. I thought you would protect me, but you didn't." Strange replies, "that was the fight in my dream." But she insists it wasn't a dream. All nightmares are real, she explains. "That recurring nightmare where I'm running naked from a clown?" Wong asks in a moment of humor. "Somewhere it's real," Chavez says. Wong asks her to come to Kamar-Taj, his base of operations, with them. Strange says she's going to have to trust him, even though the other version of him tried to kill her.


They soon realize that this isn't sorcery at play, but witchcraft. "Do we know anyone who has faced such a thing?" Wong asks. "I think I might," Strange replies. 

We then see Wanda Maximoff and her boys in the house from "WandaVision." She tells her sons that "family is forever." Unfortunately for her, it's only a dream. Wanda was smiling when she was asleep, but has a rude awakening when she realizes it isn't real. Later, she's outside, trimming branches from trees, when Strange meets up with her. "I've put the magic behind me," she tells him. "I knew sooner or later, you'd show up wanting to discuss what happened at Westview." Strange says, "I'm not here to talk about Westview.

"What do you know about the multiverse?" Strange asks, trying to recruit her to come to Kamar-Taj as well. "It'll get you back on a lunch box," he jokes. 

And then the footage became a quick montage of the rest of the movie. Lots of wild footage followed, such as an evil version of Doctor Strange with a third eye opening above his forehead, as well as Wanda fighting alongside Wong. Mordo shows up and says Strange's reckoning is long overdue. There are lots of big action scenes and, to top it all off, we see a very fast, very big CGI zombie Strange.

Here is the official synopsis for "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness:"

In Marvel Studios' "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness," the MCU unlocks the Multiverse and pushes its boundaries further than ever before. Journey into the unknown with Doctor Strange, who, with the help of mystical allies both old and new, traverses the mind-bending and dangerous alternate realities of the Multiverse to confront a mysterious new adversary.

"Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness" will hit theaters on May 4, 2022.