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Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness - May 2022


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Wanda 

Spoiler

lost her parents in a war she had no control over, was experimented on, lost her brother to Ultron, had to kill the man she loved for no reason, was then manipulated by Agatha and then give up the one thing she wanted the most, her family. She'd been through the ringer a fair few times and then had to watch the 3 people she loved most in life just dissappear forever.

 

It wasn't her powers that drove her to to this point, it was a lifetime of trauma and her turning to the Darkhold for answers.

 

"I've lost everything I've ever loved, but I have the chance to do something about it because of these powers I've been given"

 

Plus that storyline is just lifted right form the House of M anyway.

 

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18 minutes ago, Stigweard said:

Wanda 

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lost her parents in a war she had no control over, was experimented on, lost her brother to Ultron, had to kill the man she loved for no reason, was then manipulated by Agatha and then give up the one thing she wanted the most, her family. She'd been through the ringer a fair few times and then had to watch the 3 people she loved most in life just dissappear forever.

 

It wasn't her powers that drove her to to this point, it was a lifetime of trauma. The powers are just a means to an end.

 

"I've lost everything I've ever loved, but I have the chance to do something about it because of these powers I've been given"

 

Plus that storyline is just lifted right form the House of M anyway.

 

 

Yeah, and Dark Phoenix. Bit of a Marvel crutch.

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1 hour ago, JPL said:

Yeah, I’m with Yakumo on this. It isn’t her powers that drove her crazy, it’s what she’s been through and the emotions that caused. She just happened to have those powers, so used them to try and solve her problems.

 

You’ve totally read something into it that isn’t there.

 

Wasn't it the corruptive powers of the darkhold (+ her past truma) that caused her turn?

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Well that was a 2.5 hour bundle of meh. I've now been disappointed with all the Phase 4 stuff so far (both TV and films) despite continually thinking I'm going to like the next thing - and I was looking forward to this more than Spider-Man, as I really like Cumberbatch in the role.


Some general thoughts:

 

Spoiler

Firstly, great big LOL (in a face palm way) at the Fisher Price Avengers Illuminati stuff. I could pick a lot of faults with that whole section but I won't, other than to say Patrick Stewart looked like he'd somehow stumbled onto set and nobody had the heart to call security. And as a linking device for the Fantastic 4 & X-Men it was laughably bad.

 

It was also incredibly unimaginative that of all the multiverses they could've gone to, they went to New York. With some flowers. How exciting. And that is my general feeling about not just this, but all of the post-Endgame stuff; it's veered between being proper rubbish to dull at best. It's not that I'm tired of the formula - I re-watched Captain America 2 & 3 again recently and still enjoyed them - but something is missing. A general lack of charisma? I don't know.

 

I had no read anything about this nor seen any trailers, so my only knowledge that Wanda was in it was from the scene in Spider-Man and I didn't know she was the antagonist, so that was a surprise at least, but everything else just felt so tired.

 

I honestly don't know what to really make of this. Even though it only finished a couple of hours ago I'm genuinely struggling to think of anything it does to either further any of the characters, increase our wider knowledge of anything or set in motion something that would be interesting in whatever team-up film comes down the line. It just left me feeling empty.

 

I do feel I've fallen out of step with the general consensus regarding Marvel stuff though (not just on here, but out "there" too), because the only TV show I quite liked was Falcon & The Winter Soldier and the only film was The Eternals. WandaVision, Loki, Black Widow, Spider-Man etc have all massively missed the mark for me to the point where I do wonder why I still get hyped for them. I guess the multiverse is the common theme running throughout Phase 4, but that just isn't grabbing my interest like the build-up to Thanos did (and I realise Marvel has said they won't be mirroring that approach again.)

 

So, once again I shall now read the comments which will most likely be full of praise and enjoyment and I'll wonder why I'm just not getting it any more.

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8 hours ago, Delargey said:

 

Wasn't it the corruptive powers of the darkhold (+ her past truma) that caused her turn?

Yep, but she turned to the darkhold because of her past trauma. It’s nothing to do with the sexist idea that power makes women crazy, as festoon was suggesting. It wasn’t the power that made her crazy, it was the recurring dream of having a nice life with her kids, then the realisation that it was just a dream (that was happening for real in another universe), when she woke every morning.

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It’s kind of a smack in the face for the Wandavision show runners. Marvel clearly decided that the “Wanda’s grief sends her on a dark path” premise was too good to waste on a series so they introduced a magic MacGuffin that resets her character so that this movie can do the same thing.

 

I suppose turnabout is fair play and they’re sure to do the same sort of thing to the redeemed Loki next.

 

Actually in general I do worry that the MCU’s biggest threat isn’t the multiverse but accidentally breaking the Character Development Reset Button.

 

Just to stick with this for a moment, I mentioned the low stakes before: the two main character drives that set up this story, Wanda and Strange’s lost loves, were established in other products and not really set up here. They’ve normally been good about re-dramatising these past relationships in the later movies but I worry they’re getting complacent.

 

Edit - Actually I’m not sure this one works either way. If you don’t know the shows, then you’re left with no idea when why or how she lost her kids. If you do know the show, you know her kids were illusions in a toxic grief-prison conjured by her own imagination which she was only able to escape at an enormous emotional cost.
 

The TV show was about her mourning the family she would never have, this one is about her mourning a family she lost, and I guess they just decided they could get away with it if they kept the movie going quick enough? A bit JJ Abrams.

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They could've put in a scene of her finding the UFO from Kingdom of the Crystal Skull and led straight in to a movie where she discovers her kids were real all along and are actually space aliens and it would've been perfectly justified on paper, that doesn't mean it would've been a good or satisfying plot beat following an entire TV series that went in the opposite direction.

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I

Spoiler

I guess they justify it (if they do at all, internally) by assuming in an infinite multiverse there's one version of her kids that she entirely conjured up, and other versions that genuinely exist but are exactly the same. 

 

I didn't clock what was happening in that final scene of Wandavision - I just thought she'd dedicated herself to learning magic the Doctor Strange way. For me, the show ended with her making that sacrifice and understanding remorsefully the pain and trouble she'd caused. Her being in fully-fledged villain mode from the start of this movie blindsided me a little.

 

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Sure, plot-wise it's not an issue at all, and I wouldn't have wanted them to waste any time trying to justify it narratively any more than the quick points the hit here. They've always been very good at conveying just what you need to know and trusting you to infer any finnicky details. It's more of a foundational, where-are-they-going-with-this sort of issue.

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12 hours ago, Broker said:

I have no problem with Wanda’s arc, but it looks worse in a movie full of Raimi’s trademark helpless screaming women. America spends a lot of the movie waiting for men to rescue her, Christine gets left outside for a pivotal scene. There’s tonnes of female extras screaming. It’s nowhere near as bad as his Spider-Man movies but it’s worse than most other marvel movies.

 

American 

Spoiler

saves the day in the end and saves everyone. I can understand her trying someone to help her, she's scared, she can't control her powers and some someone wants to kill her and she doesn't have the skills/knowledge to fight back.

 

No one cares about Christine either, sorry but its true.

 

As for the treatment of women it wasn't the men but the females who provided the best fight and grit in trying to stop her.

 

I think you guys are projecting way too much "politics" into something that isn't there. Similar to those people who see America wearing a Pride flag and complaining about the woke and LGBT, to how the men are treated compared to the women.

 

Its just a dumb fun comic book movie.

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12 minutes ago, yakumo said:

No one cares about Christine either, sorry but its true.

Haha - I do!  
 

A couple of thoughts on “women on marvel”. I’m not going to claim it’s perfect, but - as someone who (like many of us) - grew up with a woman being no more than a love interest/damsel/cannon fodder, it’s leaps and bounds ahead of that. And also miles ahead of DC’s ongoing tits and ass approach. 

 

Any things I have problems with in this film I would primarily ascribe to Sam Raimi, who always taints his own product with some lazy and dumb decisions (seriously, just do one with the women screaming shots). 

Slightly spoilery, I suppose…

Spoiler

I’m sure as heck not going to martyr myself to defending the portrayal of Wanda as being a-ok, but I’m prepared to accept it - in the wider context of other MCI characters - as people (all people) responding differently to major events in their lives.  
 

If we’re talking about character resets and people not knowing how to deal with power, then surely Iron Man is right up there with Wanda?  He’s not even pushed as far as her, but manages to fuck up constantly and kill a tonne of people (then he gaslights the Avengers with that whole speech about how they’re all responsible for the young guy who died in Sokovia, lol).  Conversely, Captain Marvel is almost certainly the most powerful person knocking around at this point, and she’s taken that power in her stride.  Ditto there’s now a long list of powerful female MCU characters, not forgetting that this film introduced two more.  If there’s a shot of Natalie Portman crying in the shower in Thor, come back and we’ll talk.


Also, I will say I again noticed that our first night screening had several groups of (unaccompanied!!!) women, and was probably about 50-50 on balance. Maybe Kevin Feige’s collectively deluding us?

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30 minutes ago, yakumo said:

Its just a dumb fun comic book movie.

That can be a dangerous line to tread, which allows a lot of horrible stuff to get a pass in the minds of horrible people, thus perpetuating the cycle.

 

On that note, I was disappointed that

Spoiler

despite only having about 3 lines, Captain Marvel was still turned into a trope of the sassy black lady with attitude when delivering her lines. That's was her only contribution - deliver a sassy line about "Oh we can handle y'all witch" (I'm paraphrasing, I can't recall the exact line) and then the angry black woman ("Get out of my damn universe!")

The more I think about this, the more of a mess I'm finding it.

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1 minute ago, Kodamarama said:

 

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If we’re talking about character resets and people not knowing how to deal with power, then surely Iron Man is right up there with Wanda?

 

 

Yeah he's the poster boy for Marvel hitting upon a character arc that was interesting and then walking his personality back so they can do the same one over and over again to the point where it stops making sense, albeit with each instance not to such an egregious degree as this.

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Just now, Gabe said:

That can be a dangerous line to tread, which allows a lot of horrible stuff to get a pass in the minds of horrible people, thus perpetuating the cycle.

 

On that note, I was disappointed that

  Hide contents

despite only having about 3 lines, Captain Marvel was still turned into a trope of the sassy black lady with attitude when delivering her lines. That's was her only contribution - deliver a sassy line about "Oh we can handle y'all witch" (I'm paraphrasing, I can't recall the exact line) and then the angry black woman ("Get out of my damn universe!")

The more I think about this, the more of a mess I'm finding it.

 

There are some movies where I find problematic, however, I didn't come out thinking the treatment of the females in this movie was bad.  But yeah that sassy line was pretty bad thinking about it now.

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Another point I've just thought of reading through an Era thread is that this whole film proves the Sokovia Accords from Civil War were the right idea all along:

 

Spoiler

Wanda enslaved a whole town and nobody - not her fellow Avengers nor authorities - seem to hold her to account for it. It's not that we need to see any kind of punishment or anything, but it just makes the MCU feel less connected, that these characters don't ever interact with each other outside of a film. She's allowed to retreat further into her darkness and left alone without any kind of oversight from anybody, which ultimately makes the problem worse. No support from anywhere.

 

How does that even make sense for somebody who is supposedly one of the most powerful people in the MCU, that after such a traumatic event she is able to just carry on with her disturbing plan?

 

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8 minutes ago, Gabe said:

Another point I've just thought of reading through an Era thread is that this whole film proves the Sokovia Accords from Civil War were the right idea all along:

 

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Wanda enslaved a whole town and nobody - not her fellow Avengers nor authorities - seem to hold her to account for it. It's not that we need to see any kind of punishment or anything, but it just makes the MCU feel less connected, that these characters don't ever interact with each other outside of a film. She's allowed to retreat further into her darkness and left alone without any kind of oversight from anybody, which ultimately makes the problem worse. No support from anywhere.

 

How does that even make sense for somebody who is supposedly one of the most powerful people in the MCU, that after such a traumatic event she is able to just carry on with her disturbing plan?

 

The Sokovia Accords are specifically for the Avengers. Unlike in the comics where it is for all superheroes, the accords only apply to the team in the mcu

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43 minutes ago, Gabe said:

That can be a dangerous line to tread, which allows a lot of horrible stuff to get a pass in the minds of horrible people, thus perpetuating the cycle.

 

On that note, I was disappointed that

  Hide contents

despite only having about 3 lines, Captain Marvel was still turned into a trope of the sassy black lady with attitude when delivering her lines. That's was her only contribution - deliver a sassy line about "Oh we can handle y'all witch" (I'm paraphrasing, I can't recall the exact line) and then the angry black woman ("Get out of my damn universe!")

The more I think about this, the more of a mess I'm finding it.

 

Absolutely, female characters are rarely characters in Marvel films.

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1 hour ago, yakumo said:

The Sokovia Accords are specifically for the Avengers. Unlike in the comics where it is for all superheroes, the accords only apply to the team in the mcu

True, though I was talking more broadly about the concept behind the Accords being the right thing in terms of support and oversight.

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So there was a lot to like about this in terms of take your brain away from what's actually going on "moments" and "sequences" but overall I wasn't a fan at all. Spoilered for length and... well... spoilers. 

 

Spoiler

The storytelling is all over the place. It's naff macguffin after naff macguffin and everything flies around at such a pace that I'm still not really sure what was going on in the moment to moment for a lot of it, and certainly didn't care while watching it. We fly through Strange's motivation (barely), the fact that he tries to do everything on his own, there's a dark book, there's a light book, here's a very slight back story for Chavez, we're up a mountain now, forget about all of that here's professor X! Remember him!? And here's that thing that the internet wanted! Look the guy from The Office is wearing the thing! This is the movie Edgar Wright turned down. So squeezed full of connections to the past and the future that on a storytelling level it barely has a chance to be its own thing. 

 

But in the few scant moments it is its own thing it's absolutely brilliant! It's this mad fantastic dark dark (for a 12a certainly) horror with Zombies and actual bespoke SAM RAIMI direction in a Marvel movie and, if taken at fact value, an awesome baddie that can make zombies of herself and crash through walls and is super powerful. If taken at face value...

 

But if you think about it for longer than a second? Hoo boy. Hoo deary boy. I really liked aspects of Wandavision. This whole idea of somebody grieving for someone and them trying to ignore their grief to that extent, to the point where as far as I'm concerned she invented those children purely as a symbol for what she felt for Vision and as a way of keeping him around. It was, very clearly, a show about how dangerous it is to pretend everything's fine when it isn't. It ended terribly, obviously. All of that thrown out for a big fight and an evil shot of Wanda to set this movie up, but the way it handed grieving and love as a thing was pretty cool and surprisingly deep for a Marvel thing. And if they'd built on that and explored Wanda further she could have made an excellent baddie here. However...

 

I don't think whoever wrote this understood any of that. At all. Because in this Wanda is just obsessed with being a Mother. That's it. Her whole motivation after all these movies is to mother two frankly incredibly annoying children. Vision barely gets a mention, Westview barely gets a mention. She is woman. Woman look after children. Woman so blinded by love for children she will kill and kill and kill to be woman. It's misogynistic if Wanda was a new character but considering we've spent all of this time in all of those movies building up to what could have been a really complicated interesting character it sort of fights against everything Marvel is in theory trying to do with the MCU. 

 

And Olsen is brilliant which adds to how much of a shame the whole thing is. She's very good at the stuff we've seen her be very good at before but my God does she sell in the horror aspects. But when every other line is "my boys... I need to feed my boys!" who gives a shit?

 

With a few tweaks it could have been really special but as is it's bit of a mess. 

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15 minutes ago, cassidy said:

Thought this was bloody great. 

 

It really is a full on Sam Raimi movie. 

Sam Raimi did well to stamp his style on it but even he couldn’t make up for the dreadful plot.

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52 minutes ago, BitterToad said:

So there was a lot to like about this in terms of take your brain away from what's actually going on "moments" and "sequences" but overall I wasn't a fan at all. Spoilered for length and... well... spoilers. 

 

  Hide contents

The storytelling is all over the place. It's naff macguffin after naff macguffin and everything flies around at such a pace that I'm still not really sure what was going on in the moment to moment for a lot of it, and certainly didn't care while watching it. We fly through Strange's motivation (barely), the fact that he tries to do everything on his own, there's a dark book, there's a light book, here's a very slight back story for Chavez, we're up a mountain now, forget about all of that here's professor X! Remember him!? And here's that thing that the internet wanted! Look the guy from The Office is wearing the thing! This is the movie Edgar Wright turned down. So squeezed full of connections to the past and the future that on a storytelling level it barely has a chance to be its own thing. 

 

But in the few scant moments it is its own thing it's absolutely brilliant! It's this mad fantastic dark dark (for a 12a certainly) horror with Zombies and actual bespoke SAM RAIMI direction in a Marvel movie and, if taken at fact value, an awesome baddie that can make zombies of herself and crash through walls and is super powerful. If taken at face value...

 

But if you think about it for longer than a second? Hoo boy. Hoo deary boy. I really liked aspects of Wandavision. This whole idea of somebody grieving for someone and them trying to ignore their grief to that extent, to the point where as far as I'm concerned she invented those children purely as a symbol for what she felt for Vision and as a way of keeping him around. It was, very clearly, a show about how dangerous it is to pretend everything's fine when it isn't. It ended terribly, obviously. All of that thrown out for a big fight and an evil shot of Wanda to set this movie up, but the way it handed grieving and love as a thing was pretty cool and surprisingly deep for a Marvel thing. And if they'd built on that and explored Wanda further she could have made an excellent baddie here. However...

 

I don't think whoever wrote this understood any of that. At all. Because in this Wanda is just obsessed with being a Mother. That's it. Her whole motivation after all these movies is to mother two frankly incredibly annoying children. Vision barely gets a mention, Westview barely gets a mention. She is woman. Woman look after children. Woman so blinded by love for children she will kill and kill and kill to be woman. It's misogynistic if Wanda was a new character but considering we've spent all of this time in all of those movies building up to what could have been a really complicated interesting character it sort of fights against everything Marvel is in theory trying to do with the MCU. 

 

And Olsen is brilliant which adds to how much of a shame the whole thing is. She's very good at the stuff we've seen her be very good at before but my God does she sell in the horror aspects. But when every other line is "my boys... I need to feed my boys!" who gives a shit?

 

With a few tweaks it could have been really special but as is it's bit of a mess. 

 

Wonderful review. Spot on, I reckon about Wanda. And it also shares a patchwork quality with No Way Home of just bits that seem good stuck together in a way that doesn't make sense or is underwhelming.

 

The MCU movies now feel made in a chop 'n' bop style like the way chart hits are now written by finding loads of 'hooks' and sticking them together, rather than as a coherent narrative.

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30 minutes ago, Festoon said:

 

Wonderful review. Spot on, I reckon about Wanda. And it also shares a patchwork quality with No Way Home of just bits that seem good stuck together in a way that doesn't make sense or is underwhelming.

 

The MCU movies now feel made in a chop 'n' bop style like the way chart hits are now written by finding loads of 'hooks' and sticking them together, rather than as a coherent narrative.

(I really liked No Way Home)

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52 minutes ago, Fierce Poodle said:

Sam Raimi did well to stamp his style on it but even he couldn’t make up for the dreadful plot.

There are no plots now, just convenient new ways to cram in as much fan service as they can.

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  • Doctor Shark changed the title to Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness - May 2022

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