Many were worried that Doctor Strange 2’s PG-13 rating meant the horror element would be weak. Here’s how Sam Raimi made sure that didn’t happen.
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Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness was allocated a PG-13 rating, which led to some worries about how this would affect the horror aspects of the movie — but with Sam Raimi at the helm, those worries were needless. Sam Raimi signed on to direct Doctor Strange 2 in February 2020. Derrickson directed the first Doctor Strange in 2016 before leaving the production of its sequel, due to creative differences. While many directors may feel constrained by a PG-13 certificate, Raimi’s credentials and execution proved this wasn’t a limitation.
Bạn Đang Xem: PG-13 Rating Didn’t Ruin Horror Vibe Thanks To Sam Raimi
Across both Derrickson and Raimi, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness featured more potent horror elements than previous MCU movies. Truthfully, the horror was prevalent all the way up to Doctor Strange 2‘s ending. Doctor Strange was the first Marvel Studios movie to lean into horror aspects, though not in any meaningful way. With Derrickson, a horror filmmaker himself, directing, Doctor Strange included some slightly scarier elements than previous MCU movies, if only in a few small scenes — such as Strange’s trip through the multiverse, including some creepier visuals than usual for Marvel. When production began on Doctor Strange 2, Kevin Feige stated this would be a big MCU film with horror elements, leading many to question if Marvel Studios would release their first R-rated film. While the age rating of PG-13 does mean the movie won’t fully commit to that end, it was also no reason for concern with a filmmaker like Raimi in the director’s chair.
Before being cast as Doctor Strange 2‘s director, Sam Raimi had an illustrious career in horror. From his first mainstream horror movie, The Evil Dead, to films such as Darkman and Drag Me To Hell, Raimi’s many ventures into horror have made him one of the masters of the genre. This means that Raimi can make horror elements shine through despite age ratings, no matter how minimal. This was evident in Spider-Man 2, another Raimi-directed Marvel movie, in a scene where Doc Ock’s tentacles attack a group of surgeons. The horror-infused elements are plain to see, with the entire sequence being ripped almost straight from one of Raimi’s older horror movies. Here’s how Sam Raimi kept the horror alive in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, despite a PG-13 rating.
Why Sam Raimi Was The Right Call For Doctor Strange 2
Sam Raimi’s impressive horror resume made him the perfect Doctor Strange 2 director. With Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, the horror elements are even more prevalent. So much so, that people will want to see the same for Doctor Strange 3. From the increased budget to the more refined way superhero movies are made of late, Raimi certainly brought the film’s horror aspects to the forefront, despite the PG-13 rating, by simply using his filmmaking skills. Drag Me To Hell was also a PG-13 horror directed by Raimi, and was praised for its intensely scary scenes mixing with its comedic tone. This translated directly to Doctor Strange 2 through the use of several horror elements and homages. This was evident in both Doctor Strange, but more so in episode 1 of Moon Knight, which included some horror elements through the use of Khonshu, the main deity of that show.
While an R-rating for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness would have likely pushed the MCU to new heights in its willingness to engage in new genres (and might’ve been necessary for Doctor Strange 2‘s Illuminati scene), a PG-13 movie directed by Sam Raimi had a similar effect. While Marvel Studios’ distinct humor and massively-scaled action sequences were still the major focal point of the film, this is the first time the studio truly leaned into horror with one of the most accomplished horror directors in Hollywood: Sam Raimi.
Doctor Strange 2 Stretched The Boundaries Of PG-13 Horror
Sam Raimi added a mixture of camp schlock horror, body horror, and J-horror nods into Doctor Strange 2, pushing the PG-13 rating to its creaking limit. It’s hard to believe that some of these scenes evaded the censors. The director neatly blended these elements into the film and kept the integrity of the superhero genre intact, while simultaneously having to add in new MCU characters like America Chavez and explain her powers. One of the best nods he makes is through the reanimation of a dead body. Essentially, Raimi was laughing at himself when Doctor Strange possesses his corpse in another universe, as it’s a pretty bold-faced homage to The Evil Dead. The scene amps up the camp factor, but it still functions well in the greater scope of the movie. There’s a nod to J-horror in the scene that has a twisted Scarlet Witch crawling out of mirrors for a truly horrifying surprise.
Wanda Maximoff’s wholesale slaughter of the Illuminati was ruthless. Black Bolt/Reed Richards’ scene was a restrained yet horrifying masterclass in body horror. And while the scene was effective, it was also incredibly gross. That death, in particular, is probably what will send kids and parents running for the exit. While Scarlet Witch’s death is executed poetically, Black Bolt’s demise was a splattery ending straight out of The Boys’ style book, and it’s frankly incredible that it made the final cut. Nonetheless, adult Doctor Strange 2 audience members enjoyed Sam Raimi’s horrific touches to the movie. A filmmaker as well-versed in horror as he is in superhero movies, Sam Raimi brought a lot to the table despite the age rating of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.
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