Multiverse of Madness Breaks Records and the Multiverse

Marvel Studio’s outdid themselves with their newest movie, “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.” The elements of horror combined with the new style of filming made this movie a new and incredible experience.

Benedict Cumberbatch, Elizabeth Olsen, Xochitl Gomez, Benedict Wong, Rachel McAdams, and more star in Marvel Studios newest blockbuster hit, “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.”

Marvel Studios

Benedict Cumberbatch, Elizabeth Olsen, Xochitl Gomez, Benedict Wong, Rachel McAdams, and more star in Marvel Studios newest blockbuster hit, “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.”

Divya Iyer and Abby Welch

Contains spoilers. 

Marvel Studio’s newest movie “Multiverse of Madness,” released in theaters May 6, 2022, is unlike any other Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) movie we have seen before. It contained elements of horror and had significantly more gore. The movie started off chaotically, immediately launching us into a fight scene with America Chavez (Xochitl Gomez), a girl who can travel the multiverse by opening portals, and a variant of Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch). 

America possesses the ability to open gateways into different universes, but she can’t control it, making her a liability. America is sent hurling through the different universes where she eventually lands in the universe of the MCU. Dr. Strange saves America and seeks help from Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) to protect her from the demon sending monsters to capture her. The reveal of this movie’s villain wasn’t incredibly surprising:  we see Wanda reading the Darkhold, a book known to corrupt its readers. Wanda is shown to have been sending monsters after America and is confronted, resulting in a huge fight between her, Wong, and Doctor Strange. Kamar-Taj, a place for wizards to train, and its occupants are destroyed in the process.  

This is the first time we get to see more of the horror aspects of the movie, and they don’t disappoint. It introduces a new and refreshing take to fight scenes in the MCU. It contains grotesque scenes that, combined with the unique filming style, contribute perfectly to the horror theme that Marvel was going for. Sam Raimi, a director with a background in horror movies, was elated to bring his expertise to Marvel. “It was great. When Kevin announced that this movie would be the first entry into the Marvel [Cinematic Universe] putting their toe into the world of horror, I was thrilled that he called me to come in and talk about the possibility of directing the picture,”  Raimi said in an interview with CBR.

The use of horror in this project was flawless, the angles used when filming and the placing of the jumpscares gave you goosebumps.

In recent MCU projects, Marvel has been breaking the fourth wall by having their actors make direct eye contact with the camera. In this movie, Wanda makes direct eye contact with the camera, almost acknowledging us; theories have been formed about what this may mean. “Wanda breaking the fourth wall could mean that she is aware of our universe, but she can’t come here because superpowers don’t exist in our universe,” sophomore Shaila Patel said.

However, some elements of the movie weren’t as well executed as others. The timing of the movie was done poorly; it was cut by around 40 minutes after the reshooting process, leading to the movie feeling rushed and incomplete. Parts of the movie felt anti-climatic: the expectation for a big fight scene was never fulfilled and left some fans wondering why. 

The trailers seemed to give away a lot, leading fans to believe that there was much more to come in the movie. In reality, Marvel revealed all the cameos in the movie through trailers. The trailers were also misleading, seemingly portraying Supreme Strange, a variant of Dr. Strange from the animated series “What If…?” as the main villain, but in the end it was just a random variant of Dr. Strange.

Marvel may have been trying to show us that Wanda is the most powerful character by far, which is why Strange didn’t stand a chance, but it left fans disappointed nonetheless. “Multiverse did not live up to my expectations. I felt the movie was a bit rushed and anti-climatic. The horror bits were perfectly timed and all. But something felt off about the movie,” Ishaan Bohra said on Twitter.  

Strange tends to make selfish choices. He never sacrifices  himself for the greater good, and instead lets others volunteer themselves. He hasn’t experienced any overwhelming loss; in the end he has a home, people who care about him, and he’s regarded as a hero. Focusing on his character arc, rather than his happiness (or lack thereof) would’ve been a better direction to take this movie in. Wanda’s trauma is something that Marvel Studios constantly overlooks, and she is always left without a happy ending.

Wanda’s trauma is extensive; she’s lost her parents and her twin brother, Pietro Maximoff (Aaron Taylor Johnson), she had to kill the Vision (Paul Bettany), watch him be brought back to life, and killed again. Then in “WandaVision,” still grieving the death of  Vision, she accidentally creates a false reality where she and Vision are together and they have twin boys. Ultimately she sacrifices her kids and husband all over again, ending up alone and hated by the world.

After everything she’s gone through, it’s not hard to understand why she is overwhelmed with grief and why she goes on a rampage. 

Wanda becoming a villain wasn’t all that surprising, considering everything she’s been through. While she may be a villain, you can’t ignore all the good she’s done. She’s helped to save millions of people and has given up everyone she’s ever loved for the greater good.

While the ending she was given is disappointing, and without closure, the Scarlet Witch’s story isn’t over yet. According to Variety, “It’s weird that I’m expecting to return, but no one’s told me I’m doing anything! But in my mind, I’m just making the assumption that they’ll have me again.” Olsen said.

Wanda does seem to consistently have the same character arc in almost every movie, with her starting out as the villain and ultimately sacrificing what she loves for what’s right. This time, she not only sacrifices herself, but also the life she’s always wanted. In the end, Wanda destroys the temple of the Darkhold and every copy from every universe. She collapses the temple on herself, leading viewers to believe she’s dead. 

Many fans speculate that Wanda teleported out of the temple before her death, or that she simply can’t be killed by that. During her supposed death scene, you can see a flash of red energy burst out from the rubble before it comes crumbling down. This caused speculation about whether or not Wanda teleported herself out of there or if that was her dying.

Wanda’s supposed death may be setting up Marvel’s upcoming series, “House of Harkness.” At the end of “WandaVision,” Wanda puts Agatha Harkness (Kathryn Hanh) under a spell and traps her in a false identity. But Wanda’s death could mean that the spell was removed, and Agatha is now free. Regardless of the outcome, the movie was left on a cliffhanger that left fans wanting the next movie. 

Overall, the movie was fantastic, showcasing astonishing portrayals of emotions by Olsen and amazing acting from Cumberbatch. The elements of horror, with gory scenes, and the breaking of the fourth wall all contribute to the uneasy feeling you get when watching the movie. The fight scenes were a new experience for MCU movies, as Wanda is never truly beaten by Dr. Strange, instead sacrificing herself, showing everyone that she is the most powerful person in the MCU. 

“Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” is a must see. The fight scenes were well-choreographed and exciting with all the new elements of magic we get to see. The character development was executed well and the acting was breathtaking. You can watch “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” now in theaters only and on Disney+ starting June 20.