I've got no big desire to dip my own toes into plot specifics but the basic gist here is that fresh hero-to-be America Chavez (a winning Xochitl Gomez) has powers flaring up beyond her control and a whole raft of big baddies (many of them many-tentacled and goopy to the max -- all the better for Raimi to slam in and squish them with windshield-like glee) are chasing her through multiple universes to suck said powers straight outta her. And in every universe which America stumbles she stumbles straight upon the good Doctor -- Strange that is -- and he helps her... or he helps her by hurting her... it all depends on the mood and emotional gradations of that slice of the multiverse's Stephen.
So Stephen Strange helps her or he doesn't, and the Stephen Strange we're familiar with, in our own chapter of the Marvel Universe, decides to help her by going to his friends to get some help. Enter the sly and delightful Benedict Wong as Wong the now-reigning Sorcerer Supreme, and also enter Elizabeth Olson as Wanda Maximoff, last seen nursing her emotional devastations post-WandaVision with a very big very bright red book. If you're a comics fan you know that book is called the "Darkhold" and if you're not a comics fan the movie will explain it to you, don't worry. But I think you can guess by its name that that book, in the grand tradition of "Books in Sam Raimi Movies", is problematic! Necronomicon-ho!
And this movie isn't just cruelty and pain obviously, but as with anything you can label "Raimiest" the director adores butting said pain up against goof and camp and the broadest sincerity, threading the world's trickiest tone like a multiverse-sized camel being jammed through the eye of a needle, a needle in a pile of needles ten pyramids tall (dare I say a "time-stack?) His Wizard of Oz movie showed what happened when the balance was off -- yikes -- but he's got all his plates spinning here, and Multiverse of Madness will send you reeling from emotional high to high like we're leap-frogging a mountain range. As much fun as the last Spider-Man was (and I dug that sucker plenty) this one's much more my jam, and this is the one I'll be re-watching, high off its giddy obscene supply. This is not Sam Raimi chained to anything -- this is the MCU chained to Sam Raimi, and swooping straight through the fires of hell and up through the stars and back, demons screeching on our tails the entire time. What a great goddamned time at the movies!