The Dark Herald Recommends Doctor Strange and Multiverse of MadnessThe Dark Herald
Doctor Strange (2016) wasn’t the biggest or best of the Marvel movies but it certainly wasn’t at the bottom of their all time leader board either.
It says a lot about the current state of Marvel that I automatically that I automatically think of the MCU in the past tense. As if I’m referring to Republic Pictures or Keystone Studios. The Marvel films from just five years ago are just as gone. It’s as if they left along with Stan lee.
Anyway, the OG Doctor Strange was reasonably true to the character of Stephen Strange and while it didn’t use enough horror tropes to be true to the comic, it did lean into them.
Doctor Strange 2 was originally supposed to be something quite different. The first Doctor Strange movie was made in 2015, back when Hillary Clinton was absolutely going to be the next president. Consequently, Marvel wasn’t that worried about The Patriarchy. So, when the credits announced that Strange would be returning in something called Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness, audience members could be forgiven for thinking it would star Doctor Strange.
However, Trump was elected, and the American Left went off the deep end. Except for Hollywood, it didn’t so much go off the deep end as it dove headfirst into a bottomless pit.
At that time, Marvel suddenly had several major issues cropping up all at once. The Infinity Stones saga ended just about the time that Iger bought out Fox Studios. Which meant that they had their first (and only) major story arch end at the same time that almost all of the characters who had been licensed out in 1996 came back home. But these characters had never been introduced or even hinted at in the MCU. After the battle scene in Endgame, Marvel was no longer in a position to say something like, they were there all along, we just hadn’t met them yet. Marvel clearly and obviously needed a way to integrate these characters. Most of whom were considered the superior creations in comics fandom, (which is why they got licensed out in the first place).
The hilarious part is that Marvel still hasn’t come up with a plan to do that yet. They don’t have any kind of plan at all. They are just lurching from one project to the next with no kind of roadmap at all for conference and continuity.
When we finished snoring our way through Loki we assumed that with now divergent timelines in play, there would be few multiverse movies building to some kind of critical event that would leave all the Marvel universes homogenized into one timeline. They would have to get rid of the multiverse quickly because the truth about multiverses is that they kill all dramatic tension.
Captain America: Oh no! Black Widow is dead.
Scarlet Witch: I’m pretty sure Universe 517 has a spare, I’ll go check.
Black Widow (517): There’s only one of me here, right?
There can be no dramatic tension when nothing is on the line. In comic books multiverses are kind of amusing at first but their only real purpose is too maintain trademarks on characters that are in the inventory but don’t currently have a title. Inevitably the multiverse will become such a mess that it must have a reset, like DC’s Crisis on Infinite Earths.
As far as anyone can tell, there is still no story structure to incorporate the Marvel heroes that were licensed out to Fox. Kevin Feige is no comic books guy. He never was and if you look at his early interviews he admits as much. He doesn’t care about any of the characters he’s in charge of at all. What he is, is a Gamma Male middle class Jewish kid from Los Angeles. He wasn’t born into The Club but desperately wants to be a part of it. He cares far more about pleasing The Club then caring for the properties under his control, and The Club went all Handmaid’s Tale after Trump was in office. Consequently, the M-She-U came into existence. Its purpose became to cuck the long established characters that the fans loved and replace them with characters created five years ago that the fans hate but that the club will view as politically stunning and brave.
As a result of all this, Doctor Strange 2’s script started getting a lot required changes from the MCU management team. Director Scott Derrickson tried to incorporate the growing list of requirements into the new film but finally he threw up his hands and walked off the project.
The writer of Loki was brought on board and given a month to grind out a script. Every bit of that sentence shows on the silver screen. This movie looks exactly like that is what happened.
There wasn’t a lot left of Derrickson’s script, nor a lot left of the character of Stephen Strange.
Sadly, the film had a much bigger problem than a bad script. The MCU is no longer shooting one film at a time, between multiple TV shows, the films, the comic books, the graphic novels, plus the toys, Kevin Feige, who now rules all of Marvel with a Woke fist, doesn’t have time to be hands on with individual films anymore. He farmed out the producer duties to, (yeah, you guessed it), uber-Wokeite Victoria Alonso. Alonso has been the head of Marvel effects since Iron Man and she is good at that, but all of a sudden she has decided she’s a writer too. And she is fanatically Woke.
From Yahoo Finance:
“Alonso said she is committed to diversity of perspectives in storytelling. Her speech came on the heels of the release of “Eternals,” the latest Marvel Studios epic that features the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s first gay superhero. “I want to do it all,” Alonso said. “I want to make sure that I get out there and I create as much change as time will allow.”
Addressing fellow honoree, trans actor Rain Valdez, Alonso said, “I see you. You’re not alone. I perhaps have not 100 percent done right by you. But I can assure you for as long as I am at Marvel Studios, I will do right by you. One of the greatest gifts that we can give each other is in the belonging, is knowing that you do belong. Don’t walk in thinking you don’t belong.”
Alonso was one of the first and most highly visible executives at Disney to shoot off her mouth about Chapek’s neutral stance on Florida’s Anti-Grooming Law. And she was the one who was designated to run the CEO’s 45-minute struggle session, at the end of which Chapek completely surrendered Disney to the activist left, leading to the major legal issues the company now has with Florida.
If Chapek is let go when February of 2023 rolls around, Victoria Alonso will have been in no small way responsible for it.
She was also responsible for Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness.
Since this is the Victoria Alonso film the focus of the film was switched from Doctor Strange to the Latinx from the planet of the Space Lesbians, America Chavez. Stephen Strange has clearly been instructed to “do better,” and has been relegated to being a side character in his own movie, and I’m not exaggerating. The antagonist is Wanda the Scarlet Witch but all of the evil she does isn’t really her fault if you look at the big picture.
You may have heard that 85% of this film was reshot. This appears to be true. However, the rumors were that it was done to insert new character cameos is false. What happened was that Disney and Marvel executives sat down to watch the completed working cut and recoiled in horror at what an obnoxious, detestable Mary-Sue America Chavez turned out to be. All of her scenes had to be rewritten and reshot, which turned out be 85% of the live action because she is in most every scene. Of Doctor Strange’s movie.
The film starts off with a chase scene, America Chavez and a different version of Doctor Strange are being pursued by something. He is trying to save Chavez but the demon chasing them is just too powerful for him to stop. He begs her forgiveness but has to take her power to save his universe, which will kill her. She is very upset by this but then he runs out of time and lets her escape while he and everyone in this universe are killed. A universe dies but that is an acceptable price for America Chavez’s escape. And that Doctor Strange who died saving the multiverse is treated as a villain by everyone.
This is the first instance of Marvel Morality in this film.
What do I mean by Marvel Morality? It appears to be that radical off shoot of Bakuninism that dictates, “that which aids the Revolution is moral and that which hinders it is immoral.” Although Marvel Morality goes, “those who are protected by the Woke are always moral, those who are white men are always immoral.” Seriously, these people have a moral compass that points to pre-schooler letter magnets. We got our first big dose of Marvel Morality in WandaVision when it became clear that no matter what Wanda did, she wasn’t in the wrong.
Director Heywood: You’ve taken an entire town hostage.
Wanda: You’re the one with the guns.
And she said that like it was some kind of mic drop moment. Clearly Heywood was the man in the wrong because he had brought guns to confront an incredibly dangerous woman who had captured an entire town and was holding hundreds of people hostage. Heywood was portrayed as the villain throughout the entire story because he was trying to kill Wanda. Of course, he was trying to kill Wanda! What else was she going to do the next time she was feeling sad?!
Blow up whole universes as it turned out.
So anyway, our Strange wakes up when Chavez escapes. He thinks it’s all a dream, it turns out that all dreams are just the POV of an alternate you in another universe. Which means somewhere there is a version of me who is fighting zombies next to Harry Dresden, my dog from when I was a kid was reincarnated as Mouse, and most of that me’s harem are 1980s Playmates who haven’t aged a day. Also, he can fly. The bastard.
Anyway, Strange goes to Christine From the First Movie’s wedding so she can cuck him by marrying her BBC in front of him. Yeah, he literally gets cucked in the first ten minutes of his own movie. IRL, if a girl knows you are still hung up on her, and is as nice as Christine, she’s not going to invite you to her wedding. If nothing else, she doesn’t want to take a chance on you crying on the day where she is supposed to do the crying.
Fortunately for Strange, a kaiju space squid picks that moment to arrive hot on the heels of America Chavez. Strange and Wong defeat it, although we are quickly reminded that the White Man is no longer Sorcerer Supreme, the Asian now is. Although, Wong is a good character, so fine, whatever. What’s one more humiliation in Strange’s growing list?
Kaiju space squid gets turned into sashimi.
Exposition scene; time for sitting and talking. They need to find the Big Book of MacGuffin to make things supergood again because Wanda has the bad book of MacGuffin. I hope you like people sitting and talking because this was written by Loki writer, Michael Waldron, so buckle up because there is going to be a lot of it.
Talk. Talk. Talk. Everyone is up to speed and America is taken to Kamar-Taj “in the Himalayas.” Not Tibet you understand but “in the Himalayas.” There was still hope for the China market when this was shot. Strange decides he can’t handle this on his own (of course he can’t) and goes off to find Wanda.
We are then treated to more Marvel Morality.
At WandaVision’s climax I was expecting her to start shrieking at the towns people, “NONE OF YOU ARE REAL. YOU’RE JUST CHARACTERS IN A SHOW I MADE UP!!!” And while she eventually releases the citizens of Westview from their psychic slavery, Wanda is then shockingly validated for her horrendous crimes by Monica Rambeau. “They’ll never know what you sacrificed for them.”
Well, Thanos made some big sacrifices too, but it didn’t change the fact that he was a bad guy.
Regardless, Doctor Strange also validates Wanda’s actions in Westview by telling her she made things right in the end, so all good. As completely immoral as that is. Wanda as it turns out doesn’t want his forgiveness because he accidently did bad things too. How dare a White Man forgive her for her crimes against humanity?
Strange is an idiot in this film. He knows that witchcraft is in play, and he doesn’t for a moment suspect a witch that he knows has gone bad. He tells the Scarlet Witch where the teenage Space Lesbian is; then finds out that Wanda is the one sending monsters to kill her. Oops.
Wanda attacks Kamar-Taj and kills most of the sorcerers there. It’s a good effects scene, lots of flashy lights and boom-booms. If you like high tech fidget-spinners, you’ll love it. Chavez get scared and stargates out, dragging Strange along for the ride.
There is another exposition scene. Because this is effectively a Marvel Disney + show. However, someone must have said something about “show don’t tell” in the notes. We get to see America Chavez’s origin story when she steps on a disk… In. Front. Of. The. Memory. Store.
I didn’t make that up.
Anyway, that is where we find out about how America comes from the universe of the space lesbians who don’t need any man to reproduce. Fine, whatever, there is breed of snake that does the same thing in this universe so, okay, sure. That should limit your genetic diversity but we are talking about a universe called utopia where science is whatever you need it to be to stay intersectional. And America vanished her parents when a bee landed on her.
So why is she named America and has the stars and stripes on her jeans jacket? Why does she identify as LGBTQ when in her universe being a homosexual means you are straight.
Stop asking questions like that; it’s science!
Skipping ahead because this is all stupid. We come to the famous Illuminati scene.
Well people are sitting, that means they are going to be talking. We find out that all Doctor Stranges in the cosmos go bad given enough time and the lIluminati are deciding if they are going to whack out this Strange for pre-crime. They haven’t voted on it yet but it’s probably, yes.
Before they can do that, Wanda shows up because she can Dream-Walk into the bodies of other versions of herself in other universes. She kills the illuminati in order of privilege, and it feels like the biggest fuck you imaginable to Marvel comic book fans. A lot of these are the characters and the actors playing them that the comics fans really wanted. Mister Fantastic in particular was killed in the silliest way possible for a man that is virtually indestructible. Oh, and if you weren’t tired of seeing Professor X die after two times, the MCU has got your back fam, he dies here too.
Skipping ahead again because I’m tired of this. The climax arrives and Doctor Strange has to sit on the sidelines while America Chavez dukes it out with the Scarlet Witch because penis.
Wanda has a chat with another Wanda who has the children she wants to steal. She finally figures out that she’s actually the baddie here and pulls a mountain down on herself killing the Scarlet Witch because there is no way in hell Elizabeth Olsen is signing another contract with Disney Marvel. Lizzie’s out of here, PEACE!
There was some denouement stuff that my brain didn’t record because it had shut down in self-defense. We did meet Charlize Theron’s new character who will unquestionably takeover from Doctor Strange in the next movie because there is no way in hell Benedict Cumberbatch will sign another contract with Disney Marvel.
No one ever signs a new contract with Disney except Chris Hemsworth who appears to have some kind of sick humiliation fetish for Thor. Consequently, Cumberbatch is going to beat feet back to Sherlock when this Marvel gig is over and done with.
Was there anything I liked? I did like the Cumberbatch and Olsen’s performances. They upheld their end of the deal. Elizabeth Olsen in particular brought the pain of Wanda Maximoff to the screen. Their work is one of the reasons I’m not giving this my lowest rating. Since this was Alonso first time out as lead producer the effects were mostly brilliant, (except for Mister Fantastic’s stretching). The musical score was soaring and majestic. And Sam Raimi’s horror scenes were exactly what you want from the guy who invented the Evil Dead franchise.
America Chavez’s actress, Xochitl Gomez, left something to be desired but since she was fifteen when this was filmed, she gets a free pass.
In fact, all of the middle of the road problems could have been swept under the carpet if the real issues hadn’t been so all encompassing.
And all of those had to do with story continuity and narrative coherence. There is a higher level of suspension of disbelief available to the film maker when creating a superhero movie (“you will believe a man can fly”). But that is not a license to feed your audience a straight diet of utter bullshit.
There were too many characters that didn’t need to be there and some that were needed badly but didn’t show up at all. When Red Vision gave White Vision all of his memories those would have included RV’s time as a family man in Westview. I suppose you could get away with saying White Vision needed time to process all that but he absolutely should have been in this movie. Or given that Wanda enslaved an entire town to have him back, should have given him more than a passing mention.
This thing hit all the Woke checkmarks and then some. That was clearly Victoria Alonso’s first concern. Doctor Strange 2 continues the M-She-Us stereotypes and cliches. Bait and switch. White Men are responsible for all of the problems in the world. And if a woman or a POC is responsible for any wrongdoing that person must be validated as their actions were the direct result of The Patriarchy.
Good, complex characters from Marvel’s Silver Age are being replaced with terrible, Woke Mary-Sues from Marvel’s Lead Age from seven years ago. The real shame of this movie is that it has made the money that is has, (at least up to this point, more on that later).
There were elements of a good movie in this thing and given that its run time was kept at two hours, it was almost acceptable as a brainless popcorn burner. The visual effects are easily the best of any of the Marvel films (no Black Panther here), the story however, is a muddled, chaotic, shambles. It was as if the various elements of a story were thrown in a food processor with the lid off. Consequently…
The Dark Herald Recommends with (Deep) Reservations