It’s fair to say that Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is the scariest MCU installment to date.
For one thing, it’s directed by horror maestro Sam Raimi – the filmmaker behind movies like The Evil Dead and Drag Me to Hell, along with the Tobey Maguire Spider-Man trilogy – and it’s got monsters, mayhem, dark witchcraft, and even blood.
Considering the film is rated PG-13 in the US and 12A in the UK, though, you might be wondering just how scary the film really is, and if it’s suitable for younger children or those who prefer their superhero fare a little lighter. Well, we’ve got you covered… minor spoilers ahead!
Following on from the events of Spider-Man: No Way Home, Doctor Strange 2 sees the titular sorcerer try to protect teenager America Chavez (Xochitl Gomez), who has dimension-hopping power she can’t control.
It’s not overstating things to say that the film is the most violent entry in the MCU so far. Many characters meet savage ends across the Marvel sequel’s two-hours-and-six-minutes runtime; monsters bleed, and several humans are burned. Later, someone is impaled, and another hero is cut completely in half. One even has their neck snapped, with a nasty crack that’s sure to shock. As you can imagine, this is still a Marvel movie, so the camera draws focus away from the gory details, but if your little ones aren’t so good with onscreen death, you’re right to be cautious.
Outside of its brutality, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness features a number of effective jump scares as well. But, as is usually the case with child-friendly jump scares, they’re fairly predictable, so you could close your eyes in time…
According to the BBFC, other scenes of horror include “demonic beings attacking people” and “frequent scenes of threat, in which people are threatened with magical torture.”
If you’ve watched the trailers, you’ll already know that a zombified version of Doctor Strange makes an appearance in the film, too. While his introduction pays homage to The Evil Dead’s iconic poster, he doesn’t really do anything scary. In fact, the character does a pretty good job of being a “nice” zombie… but his jerky movements and decaying face may prove unsettling for some, although it is still the Doctor Strange we know and love.
Most of Doctor Strange 2’s more suspenseful moments involve Elizabeth Olsen’s Wanda Maximoff, and reference Raimi’s older works. One sequence sees a bunch of doors slam shut before she crawls creepily through a reflective surface. It’s all a bit sinister.
Ultimately, whether or not the film is too scary depends on your youngsters. If they’re okay with the likes of Goosebumps and Stranger Things, they should be fine with Doctor Strange 2. If not, it’s perhaps wise to give this one a miss.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is written by Loki‘s Michael Waldron, and also stars Benedict Wong, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Rachel McAdams. If you’re wondering what to watch before seeing the sequel, check out our guide to the Marvel movies and shows to watch before Doctor Strange 2, and see our complete WandaVision recap.