Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness: soundtrack and every musical easter egg

10 May 2022, 13:18

Benedict Cumberbatch stars in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness
Benedict Cumberbatch stars in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. Picture: © Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures / © Marvel Studios

By Sophia Alexandra Hall

The first Marvel film of 2022 has landed, and it is filled with musical easter eggs... here are some of the ones you may have missed.

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Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is the second film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe centring on Dr. Stephen Strange, a neurosurgeon turned Master of the Mystic Arts.

Played by Benedict Cumberbatch, the character stars alongside Wanda Maximoff, portrayed by Elizabeth Olsen, a powerful sorceress, who was recently the subject of Marvel’s Disney+ show, Wandavision.

In Marvel’s latest film, Dr. Strange and Wanda experience the madness of the multiverse, and all the chaos travelling between universes can cause.

Highlighting the madness is a powerful soundtrack scored by Grammy Award-winning composer, Danny Elfman. The composer has previously scored superheroes movies including Batman (1989) and Spider-Man (2002).

From sonic throwbacks, to hidden visual cues, here are some of the musical easter eggs you might’ve missed in the new film. Warning, spoilers ahead!

Read more: Why Schubert’s ‘Ave Maria’? The Batman soundtrack explained

Who wrote the Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness soundtrack?

Danny Elfman was brought on to write the music for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness after director, Sam Raimi signed onto the film in 2019.

Together, Elfman and Raimi have previously collaborated on Spider-Man (2002 and its sequel in 2004), 1990 superhero film Darkman, and most recently in 2013, American fantasy-adventure film, Oz the Great and Powerful.

Listen to Classic FM’s movie music playlist on Global Player here.

Elfman’s original motion picture score for the new Doctor Strange film features 32 tracks of orchestral writing, with a ‘horror twist’. Raimi, known for his work in the horror genre, brought elements into the new marvel film, which was echoed in the score by Elfman.

In an interview with Marvel, Elfman explained while the full orchestral instrumentation was usual for a Marvel movie, he also incorporated a “special extra low brass sound that’s reminiscent of old-fashioned horror sounds”.

Read more: Meet Pinar Toprak, Marvel’s first female composer

What other songs feature in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness?

We can’t go any further without addressing the epic fight scene in the final third of the film, Marvel’s first action sequence to use sheet music as a weapon of choice.

In a scene where Dr. Strange from our Earth meets a different ‘evil’ Dr. Strange from the incursion universe, the pair begin fighting in a high-level room that houses a piano and a harp.

The ‘good’ Dr. Strange falls on a piano during the start of the fight, and this leads to music note-shaped balls of energy being fired by each sorcerer at the other.

The musical room in the incursion universe
The musical room in the incursion universe. Picture: © Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures / © Marvel Studios

As they fly across the room, the music notes play out two well-known pieces of classical music, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5 In C minor and J.S. Bach’s Toccata And Fugue In D minor.

The classical works are both weaved into an intuitive and immersive track by Elfman titled ‘Lethal Symphonies’, which successfully highlights every movement and blow during this magically musical fight.

Fans are divided by the music fight scene, with some saying it was the highlight of the film, while others complained it wasn’t serious enough to fit in with the overall tone of the film.

Our favourite reaction may be this tongue-in-cheek tweet response that attributes the scene to piquing an interest, for this fan, in music theory.

Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony and Bach’s Toccata And Fugue aren’t the only pieces of music to feature in the Marvel movie.

Early on in the film during a scene where Dr. Strange’s former love interest, Christine, gets married, another of Bach’s works, Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring plays, closely followed by Prelude To Act III – Bridal Chorus (arr. for organ) from Wagner’s opera Lohengrin.

Music from previous Marvel creations also makes it into Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.

With the surprise inclusion of Professor Charles Xavier, played by Sir Patrick Stewart, in the film, the soundtrack appropriately includes the theme from X-Men: The Animated Series; a series which Marvel intends on reviving.

Elsewhere, Wanda’s scenes featured a return of her theme from Wandavision, and a fight scene involving Captain Carter, played by Hayley Atwell was underscored by Alan Silvestri’s Captain America Theme.

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is out in cinemas now.