Dr Strange 2: In the Multiverse of Madness (Spoilers)

Stalker0

Legend
So just saw Dr Strange 2. Ultimately it was a good movie, but its a very different movie than what I was expecting, and I've had to come to terms with that a bit.

I had assumed Dr Strange 2 was going to be the first "avengers esque" movie of phase 4, connecting all of the plotlines, ramping up a big new threat, etc. This was going to be the next big full fury movie. Instead....it is surprisingly restrained and "small".

Wanda
Probably the biggest surprise to me, was they pulled no punches with Wanda. Her path on Wandavision is pushed into tragedy. She showed us in Wandavision that when in pain, she has no issues manipulating and hurting people to get what she wants. A lot of people (myself included) thought she would have some remorse or penance for those acts in this movie, but she doubles down.... and goes full villain. While you can blame the darkhold from pushing her completely off the cliff (and why very reasonable things like....Wanda feel free to go start a family no one is stopping you, aren't even considered by her), this is not a GOT Season 8 denearyes heel turn, the signs were clearly there in Wandavision, and now they make good.

I get the feeling Wanda is not dead at the end of the movie, and I am worried that with her final "act of sacrifice" they are going to push her down the path of redemption. All I'll say is, if they are going that route, there had better be a LOT of penance. She has killed a lot of people at this point, cruelly and utterly without mercy. She is 100% villain, and any reversal of that has to be at the end of a long hard road before I'd accept it.

Strange
I like the ways that subtly dropped a few personal points for Steven. The note about his sister was really well done, the only person Steven could ever talk about that to was effectively himself, and as the other one immediately notes, "but that is not something we talk about is it". It gives you an idea that may have been what pushed him into becoming a dr in the first place. Its subtle, quick, and powerful all at the same time.

Ultimately this movie's premise....both for Wanda and Steven....was you can't control everything. In Wanda's case, somethings you just have to let go. And for Steven, sometimes you have to let other people take the reigns. Steven showed some solid moves away from his ego, he learned to work with America, learned to trust a version of Christine, and finally gave Wong the respect he is due. That said, there is still plenty of ego there, and Steven will still pay some consequences for his meddling most likely.

Wong
Who doesn't love Wong! My only issue with Wong in this movie was when he gave in to Wanda when she was torturing his people and gave her the secret to ultimate power. I'm sorry, but this is the same Wong that had just thrown an army of people to fight her, and was willing to die himself. This was the Wong that ultimately told Strange to "take the girl's power...which would kill her" to stop Wanda. I expect Wong to spit in her face and be ready to die, only for Wanda to rip it from his mind. Not for Wong to feebily just give in....it was the one scene that really did not work for me in character.

The Great Scene that Wasn't
I do complain a lot in Marvel movies in that its only a cinematic universe when they want it to be. But this time its REALLY noticeable. Wanda gives Dr Strange a day to give up America. Him and Wong both agree that with her abilities and America's combined, Wanda would be a MULTIVERSAL THREAT. They have some time to prepare. Where the HELL is everyone??!!! Where is Falcon, where is our new buddy Shang-Chi, or how about some of that crazy good dragon armor/weapons that can fight mystical creatures. Someone give Captain Marvel a ring for lord's sake.

It might have made sense if they just completely misread how strong Wanda is. But the second Wong learns she's the scarlet witch, the emergency bells go off for him. He knows the prophecies, he knows how dangerous she could be. Every single possible marker should have been called in for that fight, every last bleeding one.

The scene is actually a really cool one....and yet it should have been so much more. I thought this was going to be the big "avenger scene". We see all the people's, maybe they all get super injured and now its up to Strange alone to beat her (and the rest of the movie continues as it did)....but they would be there at the minimum.

The Smallness
As I said before, for a movie about the multiverse, I really expected more "stuff". I figured there would be cameos galore, it was like a free pass for Marvel, throw in any cameo you want, no plot consequence (its just an alternate version after all). But they had surprisingly little.

The events of Loki....not even referenced. Spiderman....barely a mention. I was surprised Professor X didn't check Strange out and go "I see you almost caused an incursion yourself"....because, he almost did. They didn't even cover that many multiverses really.

Lastly, at least at first glance....nothing was really pushed in the "greater metaplot". I was expecting a Captain America 2, where we get a major revelation that launches new plot for the next series of movies. But plotwise it ends in a feeling of one and done. Again...just much smaller in scope than I had expected.

Final Thoughts
If I can get over myself of my expectations for the movie, I actually think its pretty solid. Good character growth, Wanda was a great and scary villain, America Chavez was cool (though I kept getting her confused with Ms Marvel and that caused me a lot of consternation), the plot for the most part made sense, John Krasinski got to be Reed Richards!. The battle scenes were pretty neat, an actual decent wizard battle.

As a standalone Marvel movie, its very solid.
As a launchpoint for pushing the events of Phase 4 like I thought it was going to be....a dud on the rocketpad.
 

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pukunui

Legend
As a launchpoint for pushing the events of Phase 4 like I thought it was going to be....a dud on the rocketpad.
I'm beginning to think that we're either in a sort of Phase 3.5 (e.g. Finish up the aftermath of Endgame and set up the next generation of superheroes/villains plus the opening of the multiverse) and Phase 4 hasn't really started yet, or else Phase 4 is just a transitional phase and they're saving all the big stuff for Phase 5.
 

Well, iirc Kevin has stated that they are done with the Avengersque style of movie, for now, and parts of it honestly felt like a horror movie.

I loved the musical cue for Professor X and he got his yellow hoverchair! Also the nod to the verse number for the comic being 616, I guess that was easier than saying 9999.
 

I agree that it felt smaller in scale than was expected, with pretty much the focus on Strange and Wanda.
I enjoyed it though, it has Sam Raimi's finger prints all over it. Both in it's humor and it's horror. If you watch a lot of horror this will still feel pretty tame, but if you still have scars from watching Evil dead as a kid, some of the imagery might push some buttons.
 

There are some really strong Evil Dead vibes in this movie. A lot of Raimi's wacky surreal camera work, but also Bruce beating himself up, and the Darkhold is pretty much Marvel's necronomicon.

I loved the horror in this, but also the exploration of the characters. Wanda makes an excellent villain.

So, was anyone able to spot Raimi's delta 88 (the classic) car in this? It always makes a cameo in his movies.
 





Richards

Legend
I'm beginning to think that we're either in a sort of Phase 3.5 (e.g. Finish up the aftermath of Endgame and set up the next generation of superheroes/villains plus the opening of the multiverse) and Phase 4 hasn't really started yet, or else Phase 4 is just a transitional phase and they're saving all the big stuff for Phase 5.
Works for me - I've had a lot of good things coming from a "3.5" over the years.

I really enjoyed this movie, even more so than the original Doctor Strange, I think (probably because the villain - Caecilius - was rather subpar in the first one). Great use of Wanda, nice name-dropping of "Chthon," and America Chavez was rather well-handled (although I don't really know a whole lot about her character, so if they made any major changes from her comic version I likely wouldn't notice). I would have preferred them not referring to MCU Strange's universe as "616" - as that's the Marvel Comics Universe, not the Cinematic one - but I can console myself with that's just the universe notation system used in the universe with the Illuminati, which just happens to coincide with the number in the comics. And I loved seeing John Krazinski's Reed Richards - he did as good a job as I expected when I first heard of him associated in the role. I also like how Strange made a 1960s reference when he was first introduced to Mr. Fantastic, which lends credence to the idea the eventual MCU Fantastic Four movies will be set in the 1960s, which handily explains why they haven't been around in the MCU thus far.

And it looks like we get Clea in the next movie - good call!

Johnathan
 

I loved this movie. Compare the magic in this with the first Doctor Strange movie and it's like we graduated from youth sports to the big leagues. Everything was weird and dark and so much fun. Wanda taking on the Illuminati and mopping the floor with them was my favorite scene. My favorite aspect of the movie was watching Olsen go full nightmare evil villain. She nailed it. Strange has also done a lot of growing in his last couple appearances and I'm happy with where their going with it.

I didn't really have much in the way of expectations for this film. It seems like everyone's doing their own thing with one or two other folks in the MCU these days. Not really building quickly to any Avengers level stuff. I think I'm fine with that for now, especially if they keep giving us movies like this. But at some point we'll need to see everyone coming together again.
 


Nikosandros

Golden Procrastinator
Wong
Who doesn't love Wong! My only issue with Wong in this movie was when he gave in to Wanda when she was torturing his people and gave her the secret to ultimate power. I'm sorry, but this is the same Wong that had just thrown an army of people to fight her, and was willing to die himself. This was the Wong that ultimately told Strange to "take the girl's power...which would kill her" to stop Wanda. I expect Wong to spit in her face and be ready to die, only for Wanda to rip it from his mind. Not for Wong to feebily just give in....it was the one scene that really did not work for me in character.
pad.
I've liked the movie a lot, but I agree that this scene was really jarring for me. I've tried to rationalize it by thinking that Wong was sure that the demons (or whatever they were) protecting Mount Wundagore would destroy any interlopers.
 

pukunui

Legend
I also like how Strange made a 1960s reference when he was first introduced to Mr. Fantastic, which lends credence to the idea the eventual MCU Fantastic Four movies will be set in the 1960s, which handily explains why they haven't been around in the MCU thus far.
I thought that was just Dr Strange conflating the Fantastic Four with the Fab Four.


Overall, I think I enjoyed the movie for what it was, but it wasn't really what I was expecting. For one thing, I was expecting it to draw on the events of Loki but it doesn't. Granted, hardly anyone anywhere in the multiverse other than two specific Lokis (well, a Loki and a Sylvie) actually know what is going on, but I just thought the splitting of the "sacred timeline" was meant to be what caused the opening of the multiverse, but this movie made it seem like the multiverse had always been there, full of variants.

I'm also not 100% sure I like the direction they took Wanda in. Yes, the Darkhold was going to make her go bad, and she became fixated on trying to reunite with her children ... but if she created them using magic, how can there still be versions of her where she's seemingly living a happy, normal suburban life with them (and, apparently, without Vision)?

Also, I feel like there's a bit of sexism in how the Darkhold makes traumatized Wanda go out of control evil but Dr Strange, who is repeatedly criticized for being arrogant and controlling and is repeatedly warned about the dangers of using the Darkhold, gets away with it. Wong even says "I don't want to know" when he sees Strange using the Darkhold to puppet a zombie version of himself.

Yes, Wanda points out this double standard herself early in the film, but the filmmakers then proceed to let Strange continue to break the rules and remain a hero while Wanda ends up having to make the ultimate sacrifice in order to make up for he villainry. (Yes, I know, the Darkhold has had some kind of effect on Strange, now that he's got his own third eye, but the implications of that won't be revealed until some future film.)

I presume our Wanda is now dead, and if she appears again in any future shows or movies, it'll be a variant Wanda. If so, this is a bit disappointing, because I was looking forward to seeing our Wanda reunite with Vision (and the boys). It would be nice for Wanda to get a real happy ending after everything she's been through.

All that said, Elizabeth Olsen really nailed villainous Wanda.



I also felt like introducing a bunch of new characters and variants of existing characters (as the Illuminati) only to kill them off moments later was a bit strange. Will we now see another variant of Professor X and/or Reed Richards in a future MCU product?

In the Star Wars sequels, Luke Skywalker quips that "No one's ever really gone." The MCU multiverse puts a whole new spin on that. The death of a beloved character no longer carries as much meaning. We've already got a new Loki and a new Gamorra. Who's next? Will they bring back Tony or Nat?


Another thought: All the Dr Stranges we saw in this film looked like Benedict Cumberbatch. Likewise, all the Wandas looked like Elizabeth Olsen. But all the Peter Parkers we got in the last Spider Man film looked completely different. How common is that, or will they just handwave it away because they wanted to bring back the other actors who played Parker?
 
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I thought that was just Dr Strange conflating the Fantastic Four with the Fab Four.


Overall, I think I enjoyed the movie for what it was, but it wasn't really what I was expecting. For one thing, I was expecting it to draw on the events of Loki but it doesn't. Granted, hardly anyone anywhere in the multiverse other than two specific Lokis (well, a Loki and a Sylvie) actually know what is going on, but I just thought the splitting of the "sacred timeline" was meant to be what caused the opening of the multiverse, but this movie made it seem like the multiverse had always been there, full of variants.

I'm also not 100% sure I like the direction they took Wanda in. Yes, the Darkhold was going to make her go bad, and she became fixated on trying to reunite with her children ... but if she created them using magic, how can there still be versions of her where she's seemingly living a happy, normal suburban life with them (and, apparently, without Vision)?

Also, I feel like there's a bit of sexism in how the Darkhold makes traumatized Wanda go out of control evil but Dr Strange, who is repeatedly criticized for being arrogant and controlling and is repeatedly warned about the dangers of using the Darkhold, gets away with it. Wong even says "I don't want to know" when he sees Strange using the Darkhold to puppet a zombie version of himself.

Yes, Wanda points out this double standard herself early in the film, but the filmmakers then proceed to let Strange continue to break the rules and remain a hero while Wanda ends up having to make the ultimate sacrifice in order to make up for he villainry. (Yes, I know, the Darkhold has had some kind of effect on Strange, now that he's got his own third eye, but the implications of that won't be revealed until some future film.)

I presume our Wanda is now dead, and if she appears again in any future shows or movies, it'll be a variant Wanda. If so, this is a bit disappointing, because I was looking forward to seeing our Wanda reunite with Vision (and the boys). It would be nice for Wanda to get a real happy ending after everything she's been through.

All that said, Elizabeth Olsen really nailed villainous Wanda.



I also felt like introducing a bunch of new characters and variants of existing characters (as the Illuminati) only to kill them off moments later was a bit strange. Will we now see another variant of Professor X and/or Reed Richards in a future MCU product?

In the Star Wars sequels, Luke Skywalker quips that "No one's ever really gone." The MCU multiverse puts a whole new spin on that. The death of a beloved character no longer carries as much meaning. We've already got a new Loki and a new Gamorra. Who's next? Will they bring back Tony or Nat?


Another thought: All the Dr Stranges we saw in this film looked like Benedict Cumberbatch. Likewise, all the Wandas looked like Elizabeth Olsen. But all the Peter Parkers we got in the last Spider Man film looked completely different. How common is that, or will they just handwave it away because they wanted to bring back the other actors who played Parker?
Specifically talking about the darkhold and it's effect(s) on Strange in comparison to Wanda we got four Dr. Stranges in this film. Each one of the non-616 Stranges gives 616 Strange a different look at what happens when dealing with the Darkhold. He can go without it and feels forced to act for "the greater good" and dies after betraying someone who thought they were friends, use it and realize he's going bad and asks to get vocalized into nothingness, or use it and eventually destroy so much because he's looking for happiness in the wrong way. Each one of these examples occurs before he uses the Darkhold, giving him a much better idea of what he's getting into.

Wanda didn't have any of this. She got the Darkhold right after a traumatizing period and then spent potentially years alone with it. We see how much it has warped her over that time during the grove scene going from thriving to barren and foreboding. Just very different circumstances for the characters and imo not sexism.
 

Eric V

Hero
Wanda didn't have any of this. She got the Darkhold right after a traumatizing period and then spent potentially years alone with it. We see how much it has warped her over that time during the grove scene going from thriving to barren and foreboding. Just very different circumstances for the characters and imo not sexism.
Well, if the Darkhold were a real thing and this was objectively how it worked, but it's not...it's a decision made by human beings making the movie and they decided to make the female character get overwhelmed and become the obsessed mom whilst having the arrogant doctor work with it just fine. The optics aren't great.
 

Richards

Legend
I thought that was just Dr Strange conflating the Fantastic Four with the Fab Four.
Ah - I hadn't made that connection. I was just recalling something I had read about the MCU FF movie being possibly set in the 1960s...and in doing a little searching, I found the article - but it's just supposition.

CBR Link

Johnathan
 

Well, if the Darkhold were a real thing and this was objectively how it worked, but it's not...it's a decision made by human beings making the movie and they decided to make the female character get overwhelmed and become the obsessed mom whilst having the arrogant doctor work with it just fine. The optics aren't great.
They also showed a version of Strange that was so overwhelmed by the Darkhold that he destroyed his world and killed numerous other Stranges. So you have a male and female character both being overwhelmed for the exact same reason: wanting a person(s) to love and make them happy that they couldn't have. Then you have 616 Strange use the Darkhold for a comparatively brief time compared to the others, get a weird third eye from it, and also gets told by Charlize Theron that he caused an incursion and needs to fix it. We saw how bad incursions can be so to say that it worked fine isn't true. He is going to have to pay a price for using it just like Wanda and other Strange paid a price.
 

pukunui

Legend
Google it. I'm hardly the only one to notice the sexist overtones. People are saying it's a classic example of "female too powerful for her own good". People are also complaining that they Disneyfied America by making her a wide-eyed, helpless kid who doesn't know how to use her powers until the male hero gives her a pep talk.

Sam Raimi has also admitted to not having watched all of WandaVision.


Wanda killed herself in the end (theoretically). Strange has got a weird third eye and another problem he needs to fix. Big difference. Oh, and he is now humble enough to bow to Wong. Big character development there!
 

Stalker0

Legend
Well, if the Darkhold were a real thing and this was objectively how it worked, but it's not...it's a decision made by human beings making the movie and they decided to make the female character get overwhelmed and become the obsessed mom whilst having the arrogant doctor work with it just fine. The optics aren't great.
Wanda was going bad before the dark hold, she is a VILLAIN in wandavision, she tortures an innocent town, shows no remorse for it, and then walks alway. While Agatha was no peach, Wanda enslaved her that reality for potentially forever, a fate thst the people of the town said was worse than death.

The darkhold might have pushed Wanda farther down the path, but she was already quite villainous before this movie started. In contrast strange had plenty of warning about the darkhold, begrudgingly used its power for a brief time…and it still appears he might have been tainted by its use. So it’s not like strange is getting out of jail free here
 

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