Dr Strange in the Multiverse of Madness has gained a large amount of discourse since its premiere. Fans appear to be divided on their reception of the film, as well as their satisfaction regarding some of the writing, pace, and character development.
The focal point of this article is specifically on Wanda Maximoff as the Scarlet Witch and how she has progressed from where we left her in from WandaVision and were we find her at the beginning of Multiverse of Madness. Please be advised, spoilers from this point forward.
The Perceived problem
Viewers have argued that we do not get to see the corruption she undergoes from the exposure and use of the Darkhold. This sounds reasonable and often, there is a gap in the general audience’s perception of time as it flows through a franchise. For example, “Guardians of the Galaxy” and “Volume 2” occur within 6 months of each other, yet the movies were 3 years apart. So, if we consider the events of Endgame and how time has progressed a bit let’s head down the rabbit hole!
“Avengers: Infinity War”, and the beginning of “Avengers: Endgame” take place in 2018, the remainder of Endgame takes place 5 years later in 2023.
“WandaVision” occurs weeks after the events of Endgame according to Episode 8 “Previously On” when Agatha Harkness takes Wanda back to discover her power’s origin.
The Movie following directly after Endgame was “Spider-Man: Far From Home”, in which Peter Parker and his friends have finished their Junior year and are planning to take an educational European trip. At the start of the movie, during the Midtown High news program, Betty Brant and her co-host Jason Ionello, Jason complained that after returning from the blip all returned students had to repeat the whole school year instead of getting credits for the semester completed. This would mean that Far From Home took place in Summer 2024.
“Spider-Man: No Way Home”, we pick-up from Far From Home in Summer 2024 but the majority of the film occurs after Halloween 2024. This is identified in the diner that MJ works still having Halloween decorations that her boss insisted she take down. The same decorations that look like Stephen Strange and provide the idea of Peter going to the Sanctum to seek Dr Strange’s help. No Way home ends around Christmas 2024.
“Dr Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” happens post No Way Home and if the scene with Strange battling Gargantos is observed we have trees blossoming but civilians still wearing coats. This would bring us to early spring, about 2-3 months shy of the 2-year anniversary of the Endgame battle.
It All Adds Up
It is often difficult to immediately identify the length of time between movies, yet with the MCU we have milestones that we can gauge time on. Wanda Maximoff, a powered individual that can cast complicated spells and hexes with no working knowledge of Marvel Witchcraft, now has a booked designed specifically for her that is known to corrupt the bearer, let alone the user. How long did she have this book? Almost 2 full years.
When Strange visits Wanda she appears normal, but we discover that is an elaborate illusion that even Strange could not tell. Once Wanda removes the illusion, the many surrounding acres and hundreds of trees are dead and corrupted, her cottage is destroyed in the background as well. The results of exposure are physically visible on Wanda as well, she is leaner, her face sicklier and her fingertips are dark black. Her physical appearance can only hint at the corruption of her mind. This is the toll that 2 years of handling the Darkhold will inflict. Even with Stephen Strange at the end of the movie and the potential hours he was exposed while day-walking he manifests a third eye.
In any Marvel film, there will be issues that can be pointed out. There will never be a perfect film, but I would argue that this specific complaint is not as big of an issue that many have considered it. Yes, it would have been nice to visibly have seen the progression into dark madness that Wanda experience, but the signs were there and just waiting to be pieced together. Go see “Dr Strange in the Multiverse of Madness,” now in Theaters.