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Wandvision the Movie Dr Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is okay Cannoli Send a noteboard - 12/05/2022 11:38:44 PM

I was not a fan of Wandavision. The show assassinated the character of Wanda from the MCU films, and thinks it made her the hero. This film course corrects as much as it can. They still undersell the bad stuff she did, but I think that might be a product of them not quite knowing what exactly went down on the show. IDK if the same people are involved, but the plot of this movie is definitely NOT the result of Strange's actions in the last Spider-Man film, as I thought and others seem to have also suggested in promo material. Speaking of which, there are vague references to Dr Strange's involvement in the events of that film, which the ending of said film should have precluded. Strange's final words in No Way Home suggests he should not have been in a position to make said comments.

The actual plot of "Multiverse of Madness" is that a universe-hopping teenager named America Chavez is being pursued by demons and some threat sending them, in order to steal her power for nefarious reasons. She ends up in the MCU, and Dr. Strange and Wong fight off her pursuers and undertake to protect her, with Strange also enlisting Wanda's help, because she might have a better perspective on Chavez's enemy. The threat has more of a connection to Wanda's show and the bad guy there, so she becomes pretty important.

That being said, I don't think Wanda took over the movie, as some early reviews have hinted, nor, despite Strange's partner and McGuffin both being very powerful women, do we get a lot of Captain Marvel-esque girlpower bullshit. Strange actually gets to be the voice of reason a lot, and unlike in his first movie, his critics are not mostly right, with him being the whipping boy who has to prove himself. He does have to learn a lesson, but it's not a huge moral shortcoming to overcome, nor does it involve submitting to a wiser female. The climax includes some affirmations to a powerful female character, and also kind of hinges on a climatic choice Wanda has to make, but any bitching about feminism and M-She-U regarding those things is, I feel, excessively defensive and unwarranted pushback in this instance. In both cases, it's appropriate, and live Captain America:Winter Soldier, you can have a strong female character play a major role without it coming at the expense of the titular male hero. Also, I've heard that in comic books, America Chavez is a horrible woke-writing disaster, but I didn't find her all that obnoxious in this one. She was less irritating, for example, than Mark Wahlberg's La-teen-a sidekick in the last Transformers movie. Oh, they toss in a flashback revealing she is the child of a lesbian couple, but whatever, it's not like it has any effect on anything else.

The visuals are just as trippy and spectacular as in Strange's other films, but not just the same old folding and splitting stuff. There is one fascinating sorcerous duel involving magic projectiles that look like music notes, with the score serving as the sound effects as well. I think the final battles are good too, since they hinge more on characterization, and Strange making use of established concepts, rather than making us take the movie's word about Dormammu, introduced so late in the film, or fighting off a swarm of fungible henchmen. There is also some neat aspects of the multiverse played up, though they fall short in not using a fairly obvious solution to the villain's agenda, which Rick and Morty thrust into the consciousness of genre fans years ago. But in the alt world that gets the most screen time, we see either another version of the Avengers, called the Illuminati, or possibly a kind of Superhero congress, given that most of the characters therein are distinctly NOT Avengers, including a couple, one played by a fairly prominent leading-man-level actor suggest that the MCU's inclusion of Shitty-Marvel characters is not going to stop with Spider-Man. A few too many obnoxious British actresses from prior movies were on that team, but maybe it's just the accents or Stiff-Upper-Lip Syndrome that makes them come across that way subconsciously to me. I didn't think Lashanna Lynch was all that off-putting in Captain Marvel, but she rubs me the wrong way here, and I was less pleased with her subbing in for Bree Larson than I would have thought after seeing that movie. ANYWAY, we use the multiverse to show other sides of Strange's relationships with people from his other movie who get less screen time in this, namely, Rachel McAdams' Christine, and Chiwetel Eijofor's Mordo. The former is only in the MCU briefly (I think Tony exchanges more lines with the chump doctor from the last movie than with her) and the latter not at all, but their multiverse counterparts made a good way to include them in Strange's adventures, given what we last see of each of them in the MCU. Interestingly, Mysterio was right that multiverse-wise, the MCU's Earth is number 616.

Anyway, I liked it a lot better than I thought I would. Strange is a lot more human and accessible and comes across as less arrogant than in his other appearances. The film doesn't assassinate him or sideline him for other characters who are more woke-accessible. The jokiness felt a little toned-down from the typical Marvel brand, but it was not as dull as Eternals. Now that I think about it, there was still a good deal of humor, but it felt a little different from the usual MCU flavor. It was more genuinely humorous and less self-deprecating / less undercutting of serious moments. I'd put it second only to the Spider-Man film with Strange, in ranking MCU products post-Infinity War (including all of the shows I have seen, which does not include Loki, so if there is multi-verse stuff carrying over from that show, I don't know about it. There was blessedly nothing of Falcon and Winter Soldier).

“Tolerance is the virtue of the man without convictions.” GK Chesteron
Inde muagdhe Aes Sedai misain ye!
Deus Vult!
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Wandvision the Movie Dr Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is okay - 12/05/2022 11:38:44 PM 97 Views

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