Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness hit theaters Friday, with director Sam Raimi returning to Marvel for the first time since his Spider-Man trilogy wrapped up in 2007. An encounter with teen hero America Chavez (Xochitl Gomez) forces the former Sorcerer Supreme to step outside the familiar Marvel Cinematic Universe and explore other realities, seeking aid from fellow Avenger Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) along the way.
“Even if the nominal hero of the film feels a little lost, a strong central chase keeps the narrative moving and the mix of adventure, horror and action is balanced with a swagger worthy of cocky superhero Doctor Strange himself,” CNET’s Rich Knightwell said in his review.
It’s time to see how Doctor Stephen Strange’s adventure in the Multiverse of SPOILERS wraps up. We also have a separate article diving into the post-credits scenes, if those intrigued you, a look at the Illuminati and a list of WTF questions the movie left us with.
Scarlet Witch, corrupted
Determined to reunite with her magically created sons Billy and Tommy after losing them in the WandaVision finale, Wanda Maximoff has taken America Chavez to her drafty Scarlet Witch temple at the top of Mount Wundagore.
She’s been corrupted by the Darkhold, a book of forbidden magic, and starts casting a spell to steal America’s power to create portals between realities — which is a little mean, since it’ll prove fatal for the new hero.
However, doing so will allow Wanda to cross into a reality where her boys exist. Previously, she’d only been able to enter that universe through dark magic known as dream-walking, which allowed her to temporarily take over the body of her counterpart on Earth-838, interact with her sons and hunt our heroes.
It seems like Sorcerer Supreme Wong (Benedict Wong) has been killed, since Wanda dropped him off a cliff after he tried to stop her plan to sacrifice America.
Strange and the Earth-838 variant of his ex-girlfriend Christine Palmer are trapped in a reality where Sinister Strange — a warped version of him who tapped into that world’s Darkhold — caused an apocalyptic event.
They defeat that world’s Strange, leaving him impaled on a fence, and MCU Strange uses the Darkhold to dream-walk into the corpse of Defender Strange — a version of him who’d been killed while helping America.
This forbidden act prompts the spirits of the damned to hunt Strange, but the undead hero manages to tame the wraiths and turns them into an awesome shadowy cloak — I may need an action figure of this.
Since there was no way being thrown off a mountain was going to kill Wong, he manages to climb back up to the temple just as his corpse-inhabiting pal arrives. They free America, who sends Wanda to Earth-838 and exposes her evil to that reality’s Billy and Tommy.
Seeing how much her whole “demonic witch” vibe upsets the boys makes Wanda realize the horror she’s wrought. Returning to the MCU, she tears down her temple, destroying the Darkhold in every reality and seemingly crushing herself. It’s a sad end for the former Avenger, who’s really had a tough time in life.
A happy ending?
Strange parts ways with Earth-838 Christine, admitting that he always loved her MCU counterpart. At magical temple Kamar-Taj, America learns the mystic arts — presumably as a means of controlling her reality hopping abilities. Strange bows before Wong, apparently accepting him as the new Sorcerer Supreme.
Strange fixes the fancy watch Christine gave him on one of their early dates, suggesting he’s moving on (at least I hope so, since she’s married). Seemingly content, he strolls along the New York City street until a third eye sprouts in the middle of his forehead, confirming that he’s been corrupted by the Darkhold.
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Is Wanda dead?
It sure looks like Wanda lost her life as she destroyed the temple and Darkholds across the multiverse, but her status as a powerful magic wielder leaves the door open for her return — her terrible deeds could be blamed on the Darkhold corrupting her mind. WandaVision also created the possibility that her lover Vision could come back, and he might be eager to track her down.
Wanda’s arc in this movie echoes the comic story where grief over her lost, magically created sons caused her to create the House of M, an alternate reality where mutants ruled, and the subsequent Decimation, where she wiped the powers of most of Earth’s mutant population. She was ultimately redeemed, so her MCU counterpart could follow that path.
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Is Strange evil now?
No, the mid-credits scene robs this cliffhanger of any tension by showing him strolling down the street again and calmly opening his third eye when he meets Clea.
We might see him grappling with the Darkhold’s corruption in a later appearance though. It’s unclear where he’ll show up next, but Agatha Harkness — former owner of the Darkhold — is getting her own Disney Plus show sometime in the future. Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania also seems like it’ll continue the multiverse plotline when it comes out next February.