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

Stalker0

Legend
Killing someone at a traffic light because they cut you off is pretty much murder.
I think my example with the brakes being cut was closer to what happened to Wanda.
You are basically saying as long as someone makes you feel really really sad and angry, that it gives you license to do torturous things to people. Sorry...that's not how justice works.
 

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You are basically saying as long as someone makes you feel really really sad and angry, that it gives you license to do torturous things to people. Sorry...that's not how justice works.

Not at all.
I'm saying we have different interpretations of what was happening in a TV show.

For me, the show (WandaVision) was a metaphor for trauma and how it can hurt more than just the person suffering from trauma.
 

Mannahnin

Scion of Murgen (He/Him)
You are basically saying as long as someone makes you feel really really sad and angry, that it gives you license to do torturous things to people. Sorry...that's not how justice works.
Not at all. If someone does something to you that pushes you into a psychotic break, and you hurt other people without being aware of it while out of your rational mind, you bear reduced culpability.

You're still responsible for harm, but less so.

If we're going to talk about justice, mens rea (the intention or knowledge of wrongdoing that constitutes part of a crime, as opposed to the action or conduct of the accused) is an important factor in both ethical and legal judgements.

In the show, Wanda is shown to be unaware of the harm she's causing to the townsfolk until the very end. She is first apparently unaware that she's doing anything to them at all, and when discordances in her idyllic TV world (reverting to the comforting tropes of her childhood) arise, she pushes them back down, suppressing her own awareness. When she becomes aware of the full scope of what she's done, and that the victims are in fact aware and experiencing her control and the town as torturous, she expresses shock and horror. And she does sacrifice her family, to the extent that she had them, to undo the ongoing harm. A family that clearly has SOME real existence within the boundaries of the Hex, as Vision's independence of mind makes very clear. They're not mere illusions and pure puppets of her will, though she does repeatedly pull Vision's strings and try to smooth over inconsistencies and breaks in his willingness to conform to her fantasy scenario.

This is in contrast to Agatha and Director Hayward, who are both consciously aware of the harm they cause. Agatha apparently also finding sadistic fun in it, and Hayward having some mix of selfish satisfaction and rationalization that his quest for power and abuse of Wanda are for the greater good. Both being motivated primarily by the acquisition of power and undeterred by the harm they know they're causing.

Again getting back to justice, I think everyone defending Wanda has acknowledged that she still bears some responsibility for the harm, and to set things right if she can, but the townsfolk made clear that they didn't want anything to do with her. If you've harmed someone, ethics demand that they get to say whether they accept any apology or act of restitution. At the end, the actual heroes of the story, Monica, Vision, Jimmy and Darcy, are unable to enforce any kind of punitive consequence on her or force her to get therapy, though they still probably have an incomplete picture of all that's happened. Monica acknowledges Wanda's sacrifice, probably hoping that Wanda will be able to overcome her trauma and be a hero again, but unable to do anything more to aid that. And none of them are aware of the Darkhold or what it's going to do.
 
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Eric V

Hero
At the end, the actual heroes of the story, Monica, Vision, Jimmy and Darcy, are unable to enforce any kind of punitive consequence on her or force her to get therapy, though they still probably have an incomplete picture of all that's happened. Monica acknowledges Wanda's sacrifice, probably hoping that Wanda will be able to overcome her trauma and be a hero again, but unable to do anything more to aid that. And none of them are aware of the Darkhold or what it's going to do.
"Enforce?" It's not even mentioned. No one even says "Wanda, you clearly need help." Nothing. It's not even on the table.

This is why we hated the ending of Wandavision in our house*: It's all about the trauma, and no mention of a possible way to deal with it; it ends up just being a thing that's there, or "that's just who the character is" or whatever, and no one talks about mental health. It's why we all rolled our eyes when Monica talks about Wanda's "sacrifice"; why are you framing the one moment Wanda saw reality as a "sacrifice?"

I hate how it seems taboo, even in 2022, to acknowledge that seeking help for mental health is positive. I would totally watch a show that was about deep character breakthroughs (say, following Doc Samson's superhero-specific psychiatric practice), then more CGI-light festivals.

*Well, other than once again seeing the trope of "woman with awesome power can't control it because mother identity issues."
 

Mannahnin

Scion of Murgen (He/Him)
"Enforce?" It's not even mentioned. No one even says "Wanda, you clearly need help." Nothing. It's not even on the table.

This is why we hated the ending of Wandavision in our house*: It's all about the trauma, and no mention of a possible way to deal with it; it ends up just being a thing that's there, or "that's just who the character is" or whatever, and no one talks about mental health. It's why we all rolled our eyes when Monica talks about Wanda's "sacrifice"; why are you framing the one moment Wanda saw reality as a "sacrifice?"

I hate how it seems taboo, even in 2022, to acknowledge that seeking help for mental health is positive. I would totally watch a show that was about deep character breakthroughs (say, following Doc Samson's superhero-specific psychiatric practice), then more CGI-light festivals.
This is a good point. Considering how central people's trauma issues (Tony's being core to most of the Avengers' stories) have been to the MCU, the fact that they haven't really touched on what heroes SHOULD be doing about them, as opposed to just having them drive drama, seems like a bit of a miss.
 

Stalker0

Legend
So we are going round and round at this point because I think we keep losing sight of the original argument that really started this massive debate.

In terms of Wanda's character from Wandavision to MoM, you can interpret it in one of two fundamental ways:

Continuing the Villainous Trend: Wanda at the end of Wandavision had already shown a lot of villainous behavior (hurting/torturing people, especially children), and little ultimate remorse. Her shift in MoM to full villain was a "natural" progression of where her character was already going, and the Darkhold just accelerated what was already happening.

OR

Heel Turn: Wanda at the of Wandavision was a tragic hero that did terrible things only because of circumstances and trauma. By the end she had recognized her mistakes and had made amends through her own sacrifice, and so was once again back on the heroic path. Her shift in MoM to full villain was "unnatural", and can only be explained as the Darkhold taking more direct control of Wanda.


So which side you choose informs how you see Wanda at the end of wandavision.
 

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
If someone cuts you off on the road and stops at a redlight, and then you pull up to them get out of the car, and kill them.....you are guilty of manslaughter. You don't get to kill people because someone made you mad, that's not how things work.
Hey, instead of using rhetoric designed to win points your argument can stand on it's own but is a lot more through provoking using what actually happened.

"If someone shows you that they have the body of your loved one and they are butchering it and trying to reanimate it (in a universe where that is possible) which causes you to have a psychotic episode, you are still responsible for what you did but towards getting correct treatment and making sure you aren't a threat to others, not in a punitive punishment way."
 

Mannahnin

Scion of Murgen (He/Him)
I think I'm somewhere in the middle.

Wanda in Wandavision was a tragic/fallen hero, doing a lot of harm unwittingly, not through conscious choice. When made aware of the problem she stopped harming others, at great cost to herself. But she had neither the ability to reverse time/actually undo the harm already caused, nor the self-knowledge or resources to properly heal herself.

I think at the end of Wandavision she had the capacity to either be redeemed fully or fall farther, but the tragedy is that no one was willing or able to step in and intervene to help the former happen. Instead, the Darkhold was there to help the latter happen.

She was able to step away from the harm she was causing, but merely removing oneself from a traumatic situation doesn't undo the trauma. As we saw with Tony before her, it drives the traumatized person to act out in unhealthy ways, harmful to themself and others. Tony's lack of trust in himself and others led to Ultron, and then to trying to wash his hands of it by handing responsibility over to the government, and projecting his own issues onto everyone else.

I generally think her fall into villainy makes perfect sense given the overall picture and viewer knowledge of what the Darkhold is and does.

I do agree with the folks in this discussion who think the character arc as shown to the audience from Wanda's appearances in the MCU has a significant bobble between Wandavision and MoM. I think Raimi's reported failure to finish Wandavision is likely a big part of that. I would expect that if the ending of the TV show had been better integrated with the movie, it would have felt smoother. But even just the larger narrative decision to put so much of the story of Wanda and her kids in a Disney+ TV show and expect the audience to be familiar with it feels like a bit of a misstep.

I appreciate that so much of the MCU has been rooted in quasi-realistic character motivations rooted in relatively thoughtful portrayals of characters responding to personal trauma. I think it's led to some good drama and great melodrama, and is very true to the legacy of Marvel comics trying to ground their heroes a bit in having relatable personal issues and flaws. I think Eric's got a good point that it would be nice if at some point more of these traumatized heroes actually got some help/counseling.

Although reflecting on it a bit, the MCU hasn't been entirely devoid of this. Now that I think about it, that's yet another reason why Captain America: The Winter Soldier was so damn good. We actually see Cap in a support group, if not in individual counseling. Falcon & Winter Soldier also has Bucky in therapy. I'm trying to remember- is there some reference to or appearance of grief or other counseling in Endgame as well?
 

billd91

Not your screen monkey (he/him)
Although reflecting on it a bit, the MCU hasn't been entirely devoid of this. Now that I think about it, that's yet another reason why Captain America: The Winter Soldier was so damn good. We actually see Cap in a support group, if not in individual counseling. Falcon & Winter Soldier also has Bucky in therapy. I'm trying to remember- is there some reference to or appearance of grief or other counseling in Endgame as well?
In Endgame, Cap is leading sessions about people moving on with their lives 5 years after the blip. I think that's the support group you're thinking of with him. Otherwise, it was Falcon leading the group sessions in Winter Soldier.

So, yes, they do incorporate it. But I do also notice that they are more focused on the semi-mundane characters rather than the weirdly powered ones. So that's an interesting contrast, and maybe one worth pursuing further as a topic for Marvel to explore in the MCU. It would be a way to re-incorporate Doc Samson as a character, at the very least.
 

Stalker0

Legend
I think at the end of Wandavision she had the capacity to either be redeemed fully or fall farther, but the tragedy is that no one was willing or able to step in and intervene to help the former happen. Instead, the Darkhold was there to help the latter happen.
So between the time Wanda has her full on break (aka Wandavision) and reading the darkhold, I don't know if there was really a chance to intervene. I mean Wanda beats up Sword, beats Agatha, takes the book and leaves. She really doesn't hang around as far as we can tell, she pretty much immediately goes into an isolated area and starts reading the evil book. This is one reason I'm not on board with the idea that "Wanda let everyone go and so is back on the heroic path". I mean the very last thing we see in Wandavision is Wanda has literally gone from torturing people to isolating herself and reading a dark book.... its hard to argue that she is trying to go down any redemptive path there.


Now an outstanding question is, was anyone helping her before the break? We certainly don't see anyone helping her which is not great, and is certainly a tragedy and a pretty damning criticism of her fellow avengers.
 

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