Marvel has blown everyone away again having entered a new genre with the addition of the first Marvel horror movie yet. And it’s a doozy.
It’s been a while since we left Dr. Stephen Strange in Avengers: Endgame, but we saw him in Spiderman: No Way Home, trying to help Peter Parker deal with the Multiverse…but did he really help him? Or did he just make it worse?
Spiderman spoiler alert here, so stop now if you haven’t seen it yet.
Forgetting Peter Parker’s existence left us all wondering what was in store for him and his alter ego…essentially, all three of them…after he was left saying goodbye to Aunt May and his old life, and his life as a superhero.
Dr. Strange though returned to his old life, though we were left wondering how he was going to deal with the rift in the Multiverse. Then we watch Loki on Disney+, where he and Sophie come together until she changes everything at the last minute, ripping apart the time continuum and breaking Loki’s heart.
Fast-forward to Dr. Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, where Strange finds a young woman, America Chavez, who has a superhero power to travel time. She’s searching the worlds in the multiverse, trying to find her parents. The back story there was vague and unfortunately, the first of several in the movie, as it appeared to try to cover too much ground in its two hours and six minutes.
Don’t get me wrong. I loved the movie, and I can’t wait to see what happens next, but I’d be lying if I wasn’t a little disappointed with the feeling of being pulled into so many directions and not many of those loose ends tied up.
Then there’s Wanda. She’s in pain, torturing herself over the loss of Viz and her boys. Time has clearly taken a toll on her, and Dr. Strange realizes she’s now a formidable enemy in her quest to relive her self-created family world. She’s convinced that she will be able to bring back her boys if she can just get America’s power. Problem is, it would be the end of America, and Wanda’s so far gone, she doesn’t care.
In various multiverses, we see new faces and old ones, with a couple of surprises that may have been bigger surprises except they were in the trailers. I wish I’d stopped watching them! Stopping Wanda from destroying anyone and anything that’s in her way is mission critical, and it gets ugly. Literally ugly. Dr. Strange has to venture into new roles, becoming involved with the same Dark Hold that has Wanda in its grasp, and this is where the Marvel horror movie begins. Wanda crawling out of a mirror into a safe room at Kamar-Taj will have you cringe back in your seat, reminiscent of a true horror movie. Strange’s face as he battles Wanda and the Dark Hold’s power is full out creepy, making this Marvel movie not particularly child-friendly.
The special effects in this movie are nothing short of amazing. I just wish it had decided to either be the full r-rated Marvel horror movie we’d heard talk of, or stopped a little before it turned Wanda into monster. Only when she realizes that she IS truly the monster of this flick do we have hope that Dr. Strange will win and America will be safe.
While the movie may leave you wanting more — more clarity, more attachment to the MCU, more explanation of the gap of time between Loki and this movie, and more mention of him and Sophie at all — it’s still a spectacular movie. It’s a great introduction to America, and it shows a new side to an older, wiser Strange. It broke my heart to see Wanda in the role of antagonist, and even more as a monster, and it’s hard watching knowing that Vision would never have wanted her to do this.
But is Wanda really bad? Or was it just the Dark Hold?
Hold onto your seats, you’ll go for a ride with this movie. And of course, stay until the lights come on. There are two end-credit scenes to enjoy and ponder over. How this all connects to Thor: Love and Thunder still remains to be seen, but there are a lot of directions Marvel can take. I can’t wait to see which one/s they choose.
And let me know what you think. I’m very interested in if you think this is a Marvel horror movie or a Marvel superhero movie…or something in between.