No, 'Doctor Strange 2' Didn't Ruin Wanda Maximoff
Spoilers for Doctor Strange 2 and WandaVision ahead.
It’s been a week filled with all kinds of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness takes — from complaints about the movie only having a PG-13 rating to the debate over who should be cast as a particular Fantastic Four member to wait, is the movie actually just Aliens? It’s sure been a time for MCU fans and people who like debating what superheroes are and aren’t allowed to do, and that brings us to the fallout of our protagonist-turned-antagonist superhero and woman of the hour, Wanda Maximoff. Or, as we last saw her in the new Strange movie, the Scarlet Witch.
We’d say having Wanda finally go full Scarlet in a Sam Raimi Marvel movie was a stroke of absolute genius. What a marvelous way to have a director known for his ability to juggle horror and comedy perfectly let Wanda do her witchy thing and get her inner Scarlet to finally, loudly, and fully rage it all out.
How disappointing, then, that a lot of fans and critics seem to have a problem with that.
According to many hot takes on the webs, WandaVision was apparently supposed to end with our favorite ‘Witch But Haha Not Really, Please’ getting over her grief by tying up her feelings with a neat little bow and burying it away and moving on because … what? That’s what an empowered woman is supposed to do? Be a good girl and learn her lesson and immediately turn into a perfect version of herself? And what, pray tell, is that exactly? There have been many people lamenting Wanda going “Mother Crazy,” but they seem to forget that unlike, say, the Guardians of the Galaxy who are basically a bunch of misfits that formed their own dysfunctional little “family," Wanda has literally no one. She doesn’t have a bunch of besties, she doesn’t have a single family member left, and she now has to come to terms with the idea that she might never have a family of her own. That is a recipe for some lank depression, folks. Not some sad bout the woman just needs to get over already.
Some might think Wanda killed herself at the end of Multiverse of Madness, but she simply brought Mount Wundagore down onto the Darkhold and, more metaphorically, crushed that version of herself. She’ll be back — there’s still a lot of Wanda to be had because what we’ve seen with the show and now with the wonderfully wild Raimi movie is that Wanda is still figuring herself out. Unfortunately, she has to do it while losing everyone around her, but such is the fate of a witch. Do not forget that she’s one of the more complex characters in the Marvel universe. In the movies, she first sided with Ultron, ready to avenge her parents’ death by screwing with some Avengers. In the comics, she and her brother famously sided with X-Men’s Magneto at one point, and can we not forget what she did to those poor people in that neighborhood she turned into her own convenient comfort zone?
Doctor Strange 2 didn’t ruin Wanda’s arc in WandaVision. Her arc was never done (she didn’t even go full Scarlet!), and it still isn’t. The weakest part of the TV show was its ending, as it tried to pretend that Westview was fine again, Wanda was fine again, and everything was going to be just fine again. Only, the post-credit scene showed that it clearly wasn’t, so why were people so surprised at seeing Wanda finally unleashing her rage? Or is it simply a case of people not wanting to see a woman mad?
It was a real TV show ending, but it wasn’t Wanda’s ending. WandaVision was Act One, Multiverse of Madness was Act Two, and we are totally here for Act Three of Wanda’s Scarlet Witch experience. It’s going to take her some time to not only get used to her incredible powers, but also to figure out what it means to be a witch, and to go at it alone — as witches tend to do. I, for one, appreciate that Marvel seems to be taking their time with Wanda, and having her really go through all of it. I appreciate the fact that they’re not making it look easy or simple. They're not trivializing a woman dealing with deep grief, loss, female rage, being a woman, depression, and an entire universe of emotions. At the end of the day, Wanda’s still searching for a purpose, and gosh, could the woman do with some support. Maybe it's time to give her a bestie, Marvel.
Maybe that bestie could be Agatha (all along).
Thumbnail: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures