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Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness: Why Sam Raimi Directing is a Big Deal



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The release of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is almost here, and there is a lot to be excited about for the Doctor Strange sequel. From a multiverse of possibilities in terms of cameos to picking up plot threads left from WandaVision and Spider-Man: No Way Home, one element that has audiences excited is director Sam Raimi.

Raimi has a long track record through the years from the cult classic Evil Dead franchise, his original films like Darkman and The Quick and the Dead, to his Spider-Man films being beloved the world over. Marvel Studios even knows this is a big deal, as the director’s name has been featured prominently in the film’s marketing, which is a rarity for the franchise that tends to put the characters front and center. Sam Raimi is as much of a sell for audiences as the Professor X cameo by Patrick Stewart.

Yet, why exactly is Sam Raimi directing Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness such a big deal? After all Doctor Strange itself was a successful film, but it was not the breakout smash hit that Black Panther or Captain Marvel was, and aside from 2020, the character has made an appearance in one film a year (2016’s Doctor Strange, 2017’s Thor: Ragnarok, 2018’s Avengers: Infinity War, 2019’s Avengers: Endgame, and 2021’s Spider-Man: No Way Home). Plus, Raimi’s past three films Spider-Man 3, Drag Me To Hell, and Oz: The Great and Powerful received mixed reactions from audiences (though Drag Me To Hell did perform better critically), so even the director’s luster may not be so high.

However, one need only look at Raimi’s four-decade filmography and see that Raimi’s involvement upgrades this film from just another chapter in the Marvel Cinematic Universe to a massive event film years in the making. These are some reasons why Sam Raimi directing Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is such a big deal.

Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy is to many still the gold standards of the superhero film genre, with Spider-Man 2 regarded as one of the best. Even the mixed critical reaction to Spider-Man 3 has not taken away from the love the trilogy receives, and Tobey Maguire’s return as Peter Parker in Spider-Man: No Way Home was met with rapturous applause from audiences. Raimi was set to direct Spider-Man 4 but had a fallout with the studio, and plans were scrapped in favor of rebooting for The Amazing Spider-Man film series (interestingly, Spider-Man 4 was set for release on May 6, 2011, and now 11 years later, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness opens on May 6, 2022).

Related: Spider-Man: The Canceled Movies That Never Got Made

Raimi directing Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is him returning to the superhero genre after being away for 15 years, and in his absence, the MCU has risen as the new powerhouse of superhero films. How and what the director who helped launch the genre in the 21st century will integrate and bring to the franchise that now defines it is extremely exciting, and fans can hope that Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness will be just as spectacular as Raimi’s first two Spider-Man films.

Raimi stepping into another Marvel heroes film, especially one in the MCU, seems like the perfect fit for the director. He has openly talked about his love for the early 60s and 70s Marvel Comics, which is apparent in his Spider-Man trilogy which drew heavily from the Stan Lee and John Romita Sr. era of the character. Before directing Spider-Man, Raimi had actually pitched a Thor film in the 1990s. Like Spider-Man, Doctor Strange is also a Steve Ditko creation (and Raimi even included a reference to Doctor Strange in Spider-Man 2).

Part of the reason Spider-Man 3 was so troubled was the studio forcing Venom, a character Raimi had no familiarity with and was created in the 80s/90s, into a film where Raimi favored more classic Spider-Man villains like Green Goblin, Doc Ock, and Sandman, and had plans for Vulture and Lizard. While the upcoming Doctor Strange film is set to include many modern elements of Marvel Comics like The Illuminati and America Chavez, the director also is allowed to play around with not just Doctor Strange but Scarlet Witch, who has been a staple of the Marvel Comics since the 1960s. Raimi is allowed to include many different Marvel superheroes, a dream come true for the director that he was unable to fully realize during his Spider-Man films.

While it seems hard to believe, it has been almost a decade since Sam Raimi helmed a film. While the director had consistent output in the late 80s, ’90s, and 2000s, where he was busy with his Spider-Man trilogy, Raimi’s last film was 2013’s Oz the Great and Powerful. While the director has been attached to a number of films that have yet to make it to the big screen and has been an active producer on films like the remake of Evil Dead, Don’t Breathe, and Crawl (and also television including Ash vs The Evil Dead), Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is his first film behind the camera in a long time, and for film fans that is a big deal. Something about this film captivated Sam Raimi to want to return to the director’s chair.

Related: The Best Sam Raimi Films, Ranked

When Marvel Studios announced Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, they pitched it as Marvel’s first horror film. When Scott Derrickson left the project, many assumed Marvel was backing down from this idea, but hiring Sam Raimi only showed that they were serious about the idea. Sam Raimi got his start with Evil Dead, a low-budget horror film. He later followed it up with Evil Dead 2, which amped up the comedy, and then Army of Darkness created a full-blown horror-comedy fantasy.

One of his latest films was Drag Me To Hell which was a mix of horror and absurdity. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness already seems to be drawing heavily from the Evil Dead films, with the Darkhold having many similarities to the Necronomicon from the Evil Dead films. Various monsters and demons appear in the trailer, but also given Raimi’s flair for comedy in his horror films there is plenty of reason to suspect while there will be scares there will still be enough playfulness to make it enjoyable for all audiences.

Marvel Studios is the biggest franchise in the world, and with that has come some preconceived notions. A common one is that Marvel Studios restricts the creative freedom of the various filmmakers who create the films, strong-arming them into fitting an established aesthetic and tone leading to a sense of homogenization. While this claim ignores statements from Marvel directors who have said that the studio gave them a great deal of creative freedom, and ignores how much each filmmaker like James Gunn, Taikia Waititi, and Chloé Zhao have been able to put their own stamp on the Marvel universe, hiring Sam Raimi bucks the convention.

He is not a director coming off of a smaller film straight to a blockbuster, like Jon Watts or Cate Shortland, and he isn’t a director with a television background like Alan Taylor or The Russo Brothers. Sam Raimi is a long working established Hollywood filmmaker with a clear style and carries a certain amount of creative clout. Marvel Studios hiring him for a movie, and also a sequel to an already established franchises, shows that the studios know what they are looking for and went after the best filmmaker for it. If Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness has all the great camera work and rich color palettes of Raimi’s past films, it will not be in spite of Marvel Studios but because they hired Raimi for the job and knew what they were getting.



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Saturday Night Live to Lose Four Main Cast Members After Season Finale



Saturday Night Live could be about to face one of its biggest cast shake-ups in a long time with four main cast members expected to the leave the long-running show at the end of the current season. Reported by Variety, the end of season 47 is now likely to be the end of the road for Pete Davidson, Kate McKinnon, Aidy Bryant, and Kyle Mooney, with some rumors suggesting that the May 21 show could see a huge send-off for the group.

Reports originally surfaced that Pete Davidson would be stepping away from his role on the show after this weekend’s episode, but it soon became apparent that there were some major changes coming as more names were added to the list of leavers who will make this weekend their last appearance. The four stars said to be leaving have all been with the show for more than eight seasons and are some of the longest serving cast members, with other old-timers including Colin Jost, Cecily Strong, Michael Che and Kenan Thompson, who holds the record as the longest serving cast member in the show’s history.

Of course, stars such as Davidson and McKinnon have been exceptionally busy of late, and have had to take time out of SNL to work on other projects. Davidson has been working on movies such as The Home and the series Bupkis on Peacock, while McKinnon has recently been working on Joe vs. Carole for the streamer. Davidson has been part of the currently huge SNL cast since 2014, when he joined as one of the show’s youngest ever cast members, while McKinnon and Bryant have been on board since 2012, and Mooney made her first appearance in 2013.

While there has been no official confirmation at this time, it looks pretty certain that all four will take their final bow this weekend, although Davidson’s final sketch for the show has already been pre-recorded with rapper Gunna, Simon Rex and Chris Redd.

Related: SNL: Best MCU Actors Who Have Hosted the Show, Ranked

While Saturday Night Live is known for having a laugh at the expense of some of the biggest stories in pop culture, its recent spoofing of the Johnny Depp/Amber Heard defamation trial, which saw many fans reacting negatively on social media. The cold open segment of last Saturday’s show took aim at the ongoing trial, and focused mostly on the allegation that Heard defecated in the bed of Johnny Depp.

“This is really gross guys,” one viewer wrote following the airing of the sketch. “How did so many people approve this and think it’s okay to make fun of an ongoing trial of such sensitivity?”

Another commented, “So y’all saw a case involving testimonies about domestic violence, substance abuse, sexual assault, emotional trauma, mental illness, and medical emergencies including people losing actual body parts… and your first thought was ‘this would be a funny sketch for our comedy show!’”

However, this is all par for the course with the SNL team, and this weekend’s host Natasha Lyonne will help to bring a new wave of potentially controversial sketches to NBC as season 47 comes to a close.



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Movies About Science Experiments Gone Wrong



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Science has been responsible for countless improvements on the way we live. From the curing of diseases to faster transportation and even robotic automation, the effects of science have become ubiquitous in the 21st Century, as reported by Live Science. But these breakthroughs wouldn’t have been achieved without rigorous testing beforehand, and obviously not every test and experiment is a success, a fact that movies and literature loves to play on.

Humans are curious by nature, so it makes sense that many movies are keen to explore where this curiosity could potentially lead them, but as the saying goes ‘curiosity killed the cat’ (or entire civilizations in some cases). Regardless of the intention behind such research, whether well-meaning or not, the ‘scientific experiments gone wrong trope’ has been a staple of science fiction movies for as long the genre has existed. Here are some of the most notable movies that showcase just how wrong it can go.

Related: Sci-Fi Movies That Are Actually Scientifically Accurate

One of two movies on this list to feature the wonderful Jeff Goldblum. This time around, he is playing the role of the guinea pig in an experiment that was intended to finally nail down the science behind teleportation (and forever put airlines out of business). At first, all looks good as Goldblum’s character is successfully teleported from one pod to another. Little did they know, though, that a pesky housefly had entered the pod with Goldblum. The result? Over the rest of the movie, he begins to gradually transform into a hideous human-sized fly, as well as picking up some of its habits. Thanks to director David Cronenberg’s warped imagination and his love of grotesque practical effects, The Fly is a (rather unpleasant) feast for the eyes, to say the least.

At only 20 years of age, in 1918, Mary Shelley had written what would become one of the most well-known and influential stories of all time: Frankenstein. A cornerstone of gothic literature, various stories and adaptations have been brought to the big (and small) screen many times over the century that followed. The story is about scientist Viktor Frankenstein and his attempt to bring to life a being of his own creation, but after disappointment with the product of his experiment, the creature is shunned by Frankenstein and humankind in general. As a result, it grows resentful and comes back for revenge. The first major appearance of Frankenstein and his monster was in the 1910 Frankenstein silent movie. He was resurrected again in 1931 by Universal Studios in what is probably its most iconic iteration, going on to be selected by United States Library of Congress for preservation in the National Film Registry as being ‘culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.’

Like Frankenstein, movies inspired by H.G Well’s Victorian sci-fi horror have been plentiful. Based on a scientist desperate to find a way to allow humans to become invisible at will, he manages to have seemingly achieved this goal and now possesses this immense power. But as the saying goes, with great power comes great responsibility, and unfortunately the subject of this experiment is one of the most irresponsible people imaginable and uses these powers for nefarious and deadly purposes. Surprisingly throughout its many adaptations the most recent The Invisible Man, starring Elisabeth Moss, is arguably the best. Thanks to its superior character development, its tension building, and dark tone, viewers were treated to a genuinely scary and emotionally engaging horror that received critical acclaim.

Taking a more light-hearted and family friendly approach to disastrous science experiments, Honey, I Shrunk the Kids is about an eccentric scientist who creates a shrink ray gun that can shrink whatever object it is fired at. What could go wrong you ask? Well, in this case, the ‘father of the year’ somehow fails to keep the majorly dangerous science gun out of the reach of children, which results in his kids getting shrunk! The film is actually a fine mixture of fun, excitement, and humor as the children, now only a quarter of an inch in height and having been discarded in the trash, have to work together to make it through the backyard and overcome the dangers within. Just imagine potentially being over-powered by a single ant, and you’ll get the idea.

Related: The Best Sci-Fi Movies of the ’80s, Ranked

The first Planet of the Apes trilogy, in which humans and intelligent apes clash for control, are among the most iconic movies within the sci-fi genre. Unfortunately, the 2001 Tim Burton reboot failed to recapture that same magic, and the poor response led to any plans of further sequels to be abandoned. Fast-forward to 2014, and in steps Rupert Wyatt to try and resurrect the beloved franchise. Rise of The Planet of the Apes was a huge success with critics and fans alike, in large thanks to Andy Serkis’ performance as Caesar. But take a deeper look, and it’s the humans who unfortunately were cause of this whole angry ape debacle. What started as a well-intentioned experiment to cure Alzheimer’s escalated into monkeys taking over the world, a cautionary tale, perhaps, about the dangers of testing on animals.

The Nutty Professor had viewers mesmerized by Eddie Murphy’s prowess at undergoing major transformations to portray several characters, including Sherman Klump, a scientist whose experiment creates his more attractive and charismatic alter ego, Buddy Love. Unfortunately, not everything works out as well as Sherman had initially hoped, as Buddy Love grows more and more egotistical, creating more problems than solving them and hoping to take over Sherman’s body for good. This remake of the classic film garnered generally positive reviews from critics and was a box office success. Aside from being peak Murphy humor, it’s also quite an emotional ride with a positive message about loving yourself for who you are.

It’s hard to say whether the experiments being carried out at Jurassic Park were ever really well-intentioned, but needless to say: the idea was cool as hell! In this 1993 Steven Spielberg blockbuster, a team of genetic scientists, funded by a wealthy businessman, create a wildlife park of ‘de-extinct’ dinosaurs. Amazing as this sounds, there is clearly so much scope to go wrong with resurrecting some of the most dangerous animals to ever walk the earth. And obviously, following some kind of sabotage, things do go wrong — very wrong. With multiple casualties and absolute chaos as the dinosaurs break free and run amok, you’d think that everyone would learn from their mistakes, but apparently not as a further five movies have been made (with a sixth due soon), wherein these dinosaurs continue to wreak havoc.



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