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


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".

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.

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.

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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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.


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!


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