“Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” is definitely the biggest release of the month, and is a huge piece of major multiverse history told in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios
May is feeling unusually calm this year. There are huge mainstream blockbusters hitting theaters at both ends of the month, but not much else. There aren’t any big games coming out, and most streaming services are fairly quiet, with the exception of Netflix and Disney+. May is a great opportunity to decompress after a busy semester, catch up and revel in a surprising amount of 80s nostalgia. Some of the biggest releases include “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness”, “Stranger Things 4” and “Obi-Wan Kenobi”.
“Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” is the twenty-eighth film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, not counting the growing number of Disney+ series. The film follows the titular wizard as he explores the multiverse and all its dangers with the help of new Puerto Rican superhero America Chavez and the deeply troubled Scarlet Witch. It’s primarily the long-awaited sequel to 2016’s first cinematic release of Doctor Strange, but also picks up threads of the growing narrative surrounding the multiverse, part of a story that began in “Avengers: Endgame” and then continued in “Wandavision”, “Loki” and “Spider-Man: No Way Home”. Taking advantage of the multiversal story, much of the publicity highlighted the possibility of outrageous appearances by actors and characters from other franchises that I dare not spoil here. Critics have pointed to the influence of director Sam Raimi, who infused his horror sensibilities into the film. All signs point to this being a a standout entry in this endlessly expanding franchise when it hits theaters on May 6th.
“Chip n’ Dale: Rescue Rangers” is a hybrid action-animated sequel to the classic 80s animated series, set in a contemporary world where the animated characters are actors, in the vein of “Who Framed Roger Rabbit. Tick and Tock are stranded, fallen, and no longer the iconic rescue rangers they once were. When animated characters like Flounder from “The Little Mermaid” start disappearing, the two gumshoes have to get together. reuniting to take over the baton again.I’m a little nervous that the film is just a parade of cameos and characters from everything Disney has, but the trailers give me hope that this nostalgia-fueled adventure can have a little more substance. We’ll find out when the film hits Disney+ on May 20.
“Men” is another film distributed by A24, a publishing house with an excellent track record, but more importantly, directed by Alex Garland, a director with a short filmography of deeply disturbing and intriguing films like “Ex Machina” and “ Annihilation”. Even after watching the trailer, I couldn’t quite tell what Garland’s latest is actually about. A woman goes to the countryside after the death of her husband and has a very bad time there, haunted by a man who appears everywhere. Garland’s previous films have been gripping and A24 clearly has a great eye for innovative films, that’s enough to bring me to the cinema when this movie comes out on May 20th.
“Top Gun: Maverick” puts Tom Cruise back on a roll as the titular character in this latest 1980s action movie sequel. Cruise’s Maverick is brought back to train rookies by an old friend, and one of these recruits just happen to be the son of another old friend. Having not seen the original, I don’t quite understand all the excitement this movie is generating in some audiences, but it looks like airplane fans, the military and Tom Cruise are going to be very well fed when this movie will be released in theaters. May 27.
netflix is bringing back one of its most popular original series, Stranger Things, for its fourth season. The fun, nerdy kids who first battled the monsters of the Upside Down in 2016 now have a much bigger challenge ahead: high school. But also more monsters. The series quickly picked up steam, as it headed towards what is supposed to be a proper Season 5 ending. Each episode of this season reportedly cost Netflix $30 million, as much as some theatrical movies . The trailer features a killer remix of Journey’s “Separate Ways,” new monsters, new settings, and even more ’80s nostalgia to capitalize on when the first half of season four hits the service on May 27.
Netflix also offers a drama based on the historic British operation “Operation Mincemeat” from World War II. Colin Firth, Jason Issacs, Penelope Wilton and a large cast play British agents who disguise a dead man as a British officer and plant fake documents on him, floating him off the coast of Spain to feed misinformation to the German military. The film is getting pretty good reviews and hits the service on May 11.
Disney+ brings one of its most anticipated series to streaming this month with “Obi-Wan Kenobi.” Set between “Star Wars” III and IV, with Ewan McGregor and Hayden Christensen returning as Obi-Wan and Anakin Skywalker for the first time since 2005. The series is directed by Deborah Chow and also incorporates many of the characters and concepts introduced in the larger world of animated shows and novels like the Sith Inquisitors. Seeing McGregor back in the robes and beard of his iconic character from the “Star Wars” movies is all I need to commit to the show, but I’m also thrilled to see the teased reunion of the master and the apprentice. The first two episodes will air on May 27.
Also coming to Disney+ this month is “Sneakerella,” a musical retelling of the recognizable “Cinderella” story from a candidly delivered angle of contemporary sneaker culture aimed at younger audiences. The film will be available on May 13.
Paramount+ launches its latest “Star Trek” spinoff this month with “Star Trek: Strange New Worlds.” This latest entry in the canon is a prequel to the original series, following the starship enterprise before Captain Kirk’s command, with Captain Pike, Number One and Spock leading the charge, having been (re)introduced in Paramount’s flagship + “Star Trek Discovery”. “Reviews have praised it as feeling authentically like the original Star Trek series, for all the good and bad it brings. The series premiered on May 5.