By Ayelet Spevack ‘25, Art Editor
Over the last few weeks, many Heschel students have excitedly watched Marvel’s new Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, which is finally in theaters after months of built-up anticipation. Fans had high expectations after the trailer claimed that “nothing can prepare you,” and The Multiverse of Madness will “change you forever.”
Although the movie is the sequel to Dr. Strange, the plot concentrates equally on Wanda Maximoff and her story after Wandavision. Upon studying the Darkhold, the Book of the Damned, Wanda plans to search the vast multiverse for her children, Billy and Tommy Maximoff, after losing them in the last episode of Wandavision. Dr. Stephen Strange meets and teams up with America Chavez, a fourteen-year-old with multiversal travel powers; he seeks Wanda for help in his quest to repair the multiverse, but she turns against him in hope of finding her sons.
This action-packed movie has a stylistically different feel than other Marvel productions – it has constant activity, one plotline, and even elements of horror and a few jump scares. With a running time of only two hours and six minutes, director Sam Raimi attempts to include important plot pieces to the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), action scenes, and character development. As a result, some viewers thought the movie was rushed. Additionally, The Multiverse of Madness requires lots of background knowledge of the MCU, which makes it difficult for fans who haven’t seen many of the prior movies.
Both Strange and Wanda undergo dramatic character development in this film. While Strange was always known as stubborn, arrogant, self-absorbed, and closed off, he matures greatly. Teaming with America, he is humbled by her impressive abilities at such a young age and surprisingly opens up to her about his personal life. Wanda, on the other hand, has slowly become increasingly mentally unstable in each MCU production because of the unimaginable amount of grief in her life. In this movie, Wanda loses her sense of reality trying to avoid anything that will get in her path to happiness. Wanda’s portrayal as the antagonist complicates the “good-guy bad-guy” trope because she is a beloved character. As a result, it is very difficult to pick sides throughout the film. Additionally, Elizabeth Olsen does an excellent job playing the role of Wanda Maximoff, getting in touch with a darker, scarier side of her character, which has not been seen before.
Although many thought Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness was overpromoted and a bit of a disappointment, I found it amazing. Nevertheless, I think there were opportunities to touch on interesting topics, which the directors ignored. For example, Wanda intended to steal America Chavez’s powers in order to find her children, while America is just a kid herself. Why would Wanda attack a child when she herself has two children? Overall, this movie brought many new ideas to the MCU, included exciting cameos, and was very thrilling to watch. I would definitely recommend it; however, as mentioned before, it requires a lot of background knowledge of the MCU in order to understand.