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+++ Opinion & spoilers for «Doctor Strange 2» and «Wanda Vision» +++
“ Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness ” is an extremely mixed film for me. It’s true that Sam Raimi brings a breath of fresh air to the MCU with his crazy horror, especially in the finale, but as far as the script is concerned, I was very annoyed for large stretches of the film. No character symbolizes this dichotomy as much as Wanda Maximoff ( Elizabeth Olsen ), who becomes a multiversal murderess in “Doctor Strange 2” and thus tears down much of what the “ WandaVision ” series has built up.
It’s such a shame because Wanda aka Scarlet Witch is one of the highlights of the new Marvel movie. Elizabeth Olsen brings out the best in actress and it’s just fun to see a character in the MCU go completely nuts. I also appreciated the brutality with which she slaughtered her opponent. And yet: As a fan of «WandaVision» I felt downright betrayed by the way Wanda was dealt with in «Doctor Strange 2».
Wanda’s ordeal in «WandaVision»
Wanda Maximoff meant very little to me for a long time. I saw her as one of many moderately interesting supporting characters in the huge Marvel ensemble. But with WandaVision, the MCU took the time to dedicate an entire series to specific characters for the first time. As the nine episodes progressed, not only did I grow to like Vision, but the future Scarlet Witch developed into one of the most profound characters in the entire Marvel Universe.
›› «WandaVision» on Disney+ *
What Wanda went through is really hell. She is one of the few people ever to have lost a loved one to Thanos who was not brought back from the dead. On top of that, the way it was done was really cruel. Because in order to stop Thanos (which didn’t even work out in the end), she had to kill Vision with her own powers. It’s completely understandable that she then went nuts. Using her own powers, she created her personal utopia in which she lived a peaceful small town life, Vision was still alive, and she even raised two sons. The downside: In order to maintain the illusion, she had to rob the real inhabitants of their free will.
Wanda held a whole small town captive. But at the end of «WandaVision» she (apparently) saw her mistake, sacrificed her illusion and got her heroic moment after all. Well, I thought, if Wanda is a reformed woman who has taken the first step in overcoming her trauma…
…but then came Doctor Strange 2 and turned Wanda into such a brutal and ruthless killer that it will be impossible to ever sympathize with her again in the future.
«Doctor Strange 2» destroys the character Wanda for me
I’m fully aware that WandaVision has a post-credits scene where Wanda is already using the Darkhold. And I also realize that this diabolical book is a dangerous artifact capable of corrupting the minds of its users. If such an item falls into the hands of an already mentally unstable, powerful witch, then brutal consequences are inevitable. It kind of makes sense logically, but emotionally the decision to turn Wanda into a killer is a stab in the heart.
Maybe I could even come to terms with it, if this change wasn’t implemented so sloppily…
3 reasons why Wanda’s transformation is disappointing
Doctor Strange 2’s central conflict is far too similar to WandaVision’s and it feels like the MCU has a crack in the record : Wanda grieves, goes berserk, doesn’t want to accept her fate, uses her incredible Power to change reality to her liking and bring loved ones back into her life, causing great suffering and finally realizing she was wrong. We’ve all been through it as Marvel fans!
Wanda’s actions are no longer comprehensible: it is said again and again that the Darkhold is to blame for everything, but on the other hand Wanda acts far too calculated and seems to have complete control of herself at all times. (So she tries to negotiate with her boyfriend Doctor Strange first.) Also, her motivation for wanting children is deeply rooted in her personality. At no point did I therefore have the feeling that the Darkhold seduced Wanda into doing evil deeds, but that it only gave her the power to reveal her true self. In «WandaVision» their actions were bad, but still understandable. In Doctor Strange 2, she’s just cruel to serve as a vehicle for horror. I just didn’t buy her killing spree…
Disney+ Where is Vision actually gone?
Vision suddenly doesn’t matter anymore: In «WandaVision» Wanda’s grief for Vision is so enormous that she created her own alternate reality to pretend that he was still alive. But in Doctor Strange 2, she doesn’t even try to scour the multiverse for another vision (the series What If… showed there are other universes he exists in, too). Instead, Wanda is only fixated on her desire to have children and seems to have simply forgotten one of the most important people in her life. She only briefly mentions him once, but shows no emotion. This doesn’t fit Wanda at all and damages the credibility of the entire plot of «Doctor Strange 2».
«Doctor Strange 2» and «WandaVision» hinder each other
For me, the MCU’s first attempt to organically combine films and series into one big narrative failed. I’ve often heard criticism that you have to see WandaVision to follow the plot of Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness. But to be honest, I wonder if you can’t enjoy Doctor Strange 2 if you don’t know the Disney Plus series at all.
Highlight in «Doctor Strange 2»: That’s why the Illuminati scene is anything but a superfluous cameo parade
You would be a bit confused by one or the other story detail. On the other hand, the events of Doctor Strange 2 wouldn’t feel like an uninspired iteration of the WandaVision conflict either. Anyone who hasn’t seen the Disney+ series also doesn’t have to be annoyed that a complex character, with whom she suffered and sympathized so much for nine episodes, is stripped of all humanity within a few minutes — and she degenerates into a one-dimensional killing machine.
Yes, from a production point of view, I celebrated how a Marvel villain resolutely smashes her way through superheroes and exudes an aura of menace that is otherwise only known from monsters and murderers in horror films. Such deviations from the formula are good for the MCU!
But the interaction with Wanda that came with it ruined those moments for me…
Doctor Strange 2: Ending Explained (FILMSTARTS Original)