Earlier this week, we learned some exciting, unexpected developments regarding Marvel's forthcoming sequel, Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness. Specifically, it was revealed that Sam Raimi was reportedly in talks to take over directing duties from Scott Derrickson, who helmed the first Doctor Strange movie, and return to the comic book genre with this much-anticipated new addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. If you are like me, you have many thoughts, feelings, and emotions swirling in your head now. Certainly, if Raimi agrees to make Doctor Strange 2, we could be looking at one of the most delightful and utterly fascinating filmmaking returns we've seen a great long while. You could say this is all very... peculiar.
Before we get ahead of ourselves, it should be noted that Sam Raimi is one of my favorite directors. Therefore, I'm undoubtedly a bit biased in my firm appreciation of his work and my enthusiasm to see him do another comic book adaptation. Nevertheless, even if you're not as big a fan of Sam Raimi as I am, there are several reasons to be excited about the rich possibility of the famous filmmaker taking on directing duties for Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness — along with a couple reasons why you might possibly want to be nervous. Without further ado, let's take this time to list them!
GREAT: Sam Raimi Knows How To Make Great Horror-Comedy, Even In PG-13 Mode
While Sam Raimi might be best known for his Spider-Man trilogy (at least, to certain audiences), Sam Raimi came to fame through the Evil Dead films. The trilogy, which also includes the more comedic Evil Dead 2 and the time-traveling Army of Darkness, are a staple of '80s/'90s horror and, eventually, horror-comedy. They're creepy and unsettling in the right moments, but they can also be righteously funny in the sequels. In short, Sam Raimi knows both horror and comedy, which will, most certainly, come in handy if he takes over directing duties on Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness.
Much like all the other MCU movies, Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness will certainly be rated PG-13, unlike the R-rated Evil Dead trilogy, but that's no cause for concern. As the writer/director proved with 2009's excellent, undervalued horror-comedy Drag Me to Hell, Raimi knows how to bring the laughs and frights in equal measure — even when he is under PG-13 guidelines. That makes him a great fit for this forthcoming Marvel film.
GREAT: Sam Raimi Has Already Proven Himself In The Comic Book Genre
With both the pulpy Darkman and the vibrant, exuberant Spider-Man trilogy, Sam Raimi makes it very, very clear that he knows comic books, and more importantly, he knows how to translate the feel, look, and excitement of a comic book into a tentpole summer blockbuster. That's a mighty big feather in his cap, especially when it comes to the possibility of directing a movie inside the Marvel Cinematic Universe. With Spider-Man specifically, Raimi made it abundantly clear that he's a perfect fit for translating Marvel projects into big cinematic spectacles, which should bode very well for him here.
GREAT: Sam Raimi Has A Distinct Vision
You definitely know when you're watching a Sam Raimi joint. No matter the genre, mood, or tone of the movie at hand, Sam Raimi is a filmmaker who makes his influence seen and known, and that's certainly a big plus. Even his weaker movies have moments of flair and individuality, and they almost always add to the experience. In short, Sam Raimi has a distinctive vision, which is something that Marvel can sometimes lack (we'll talk about that in more detail later in this article). By bringing Sam Raimi onto the project, there's no doubt that you are going to get one splendid-looking Marvel movie.
GREAT: It's A Good Sign For The Direction Of Future Marvel Movies
The movies within the Marvel Cinematic Universe are very producer-driven. Kevin Feige has created an elaborate cinematic universe that spans many movies and TV/streaming shows, which is certainly no small feat. But in creating such an expansive on-screen world, a creative influence can be lost with the directors hired to tell these stories.
There are exceptions, of course. Notably, Black Panther and the Guardians of the Galaxy movies. For the most part, however, there's very little that distinguishes the look of one Marvel movie over another. That's seemingly intentional, in order to make it feel as though all these different characters could live in the small cinematic universe. But it's hard not to miss the more stylish presentation found in other superhero movies, including Sam Raimi's Spider-Man trilogy. Hopefully, with the potential hiring of Raimi for this new movie, it's a sign that they're allowing their filmmakers to have a little more creative freedom and to impart their visions onto their individual projects. More director-driven Marvel movies would certainly be a big plus.
GREAT: Sam Raimi Could Bring Out The Madness In the Multiverse Of Madness
While Sam Raimi has proven that he can do more contemplative, reserved, subdued affairs when he wants to, as notably seen in 1998's excellent and undervalued A Simple Plan, the genre filmmaker is typically at his finest whenever he can really go absolutely bonkers. His kinetic visual style and his high-energy filmmaking compliment the descent into lunacy that often follows a few of his signature characters. In short, the director's mix of horror and slapstick comedy style is perfect for depicting madness — especially in a vibrant and entertaining cinematic fashion. Which would only fitting if Raimi were to take the reins on an upcoming Marvel blockbuster, especially with Multiverse of Madness right there in the title. That's in his wheelhouse.
With a premise that seems to suggest that Doctor Strange is going to experience a Dante's Inferno-esque descent into a cosmic, mind-melting hell, who better than Sam Raimi to capture the utterly absurd, nightmarish spectacles that will be seen within these outlandish environments? Think about the kooky scenes in Evil Dead 2 where Ash Williams loses his marbles as the cabin furniture laughs at his doomed expense? Imagine if the director of that movie had the budget given by Marvel? The possibilities are positively demented. If done right, this sequel is the perfect project for Raimi's talents!
GREAT: Sam Raimi's Style Is Very Comic Book-Friendly
There are several trademark creative ticks to be found in a Sam Raimi production, including (but not limited to), quick zoom ins-and-outs, POV shots from an object's perspective, extreme close-ups, and flashy montages. All of these influences, along with his colorful visual palette and a zippy pace, are perfect for comic book movies; it's no secret that Raimi's style influenced a generation of comic book films. In short, his style is very friendly for a comic book adaptation. Even when he's working in tight-knit fashion with a studio, as was the case with Spider-Man 3, his influence can still be seen.
GREAT: It'll Let Sam Raimi Direct His First Film In A Decade
Believe it or not, the last movie to feature the words "directed by Sam Raimi" during its end credits came out in 2013. That movie was Oz the Great and Powerful, produced and distributed by Disney, which turned in a neat profit and received mixed-to-positive reviews from critics and audiences alike. At worst, it was forgettable. Nothing terribly offense, but not a movie that met its title's proclamations — or even the filmmaker's previous high standards.
Nevertheless, for reasons that still remain unclear, Sam Raimi hasn't jumped back in the director's chair for another feature film — big or small — since this prequel based on L. Frank Baum's classic fantasy novels. Which is a shame, because Raimi's distinctive vision has notably been lacking lately, especially in an age where big budget movies grow more monotonous in their visual palette. While Raimi directed the Ash vs. Evil Dead pilot and produced a few recent horror flicks, including 2013's Evil Dead remake, 2016's Don't Breathe, last year's Crawl, and January's The Grudge, he hasn't made a movie in close to ten years. Therefore, having him direct Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness (or any movie, really) is splendid news!
Not-So-Great: There's A High Chance That Sam Raimi Will Be Restricted To The Marvel Model
While it's fun to imagine the possibility of Sam Raimi getting carte blanche to do whatever kooky, spooky stuff he wants to do in this superhero sequel, it's more likely than not that Sam Raimi will be straddled into the conventional Marvel Cinematic Universe formula. After all, he's reportedly entering the film as its previous director, Scott Derrickson, left the project over "creative differences." What those differences were is left unclear, but there's reason to speculate that Derrickson (who comes from a horror background, much like Raimi) really wanted to push the horror element, and the studio balked.
If that's the case, there's little chance that Sam Raimi will really get to go nuts with the cosmic property, ultimately working more in Marvel's modus operandi rather than his own signature style. The end product will surely be competently-made and hopefully enjoyable, but if it lacks his creative influence, it'll be a missed opportunity. Raimi knows how to make comic book movies pop, but will Kevin Feige allow the filmmaker to do his thing?
Not-So-Great: Making A Marvel Movie Prevents Sam Raimi From Doing His Own Thing Again
Part of the reason why Drag Me to Hell was such a breathe of fresh air was because it allowed the director to do his own thing, away from the influence of pushy studio-heads and various fan demands. While the Spider-Man trilogy was undoubtedly Raimi's work as well, even the often-derided Spider-Man 3 (which I, admittedly, like more than most people), it was nice to see the genre filmmaker return to his roots and make something smaller, more intimate, yet undoubtedly his own work. One couldn't help but hope that Raimi's next movie would be something that belongs to his own unique style. Something smaller, more specific to Raimi's creative influence. By taking on this huge movie in the MCU, he won't get the opportunity for a little while.
Are you hoping that Sam Raimi enters the Multiverse of Madness? Let us know what you think in the comment section below!