Why Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness do you have any big problems? What are its biggest problems? Between missed show don't tell, new nonsense elements and one-dimensional characters.

As you well know if you are reading this article, the latest Marvel movie was released in the last few days, Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness.
Directed by Sam Raimi, Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness it's a very anticipated film. In fact, he faces the concept of the multiverse in the Marvel world, after it was introduced by the series Loki and Spider-Man No Way Home. Also, this film shows us what happens to Wanda Maximoff after the events of the series WandaVision.

In short, Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness is a film that had the difficult task of pulling the strings of many pieces of the Marvel franchise, so as to relaunch a new narrative centered on the multiverse. He did not start from a simple position, therefore.
However, personally, while acknowledging the predicament this film found itself in, I believe that Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness is a very bad film. Above all, I think it is a film that handles its antagonist very badly and fails to establish the necessary basis for a logical understanding of what it presents.

In this article I want to try to argue my point of view.
Having said that, however, I also want to specify that this article is not intended to be an attack on those who have appreciated it Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness. If you liked the film, I'm glad and I think you have the right to continue to appreciate it regardless of what I think.
However, I feel that the film has problems and that it is important to bring them to light.

ATTENTION: this article contains SPOILERS about Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness!
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The poster of Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness
The poster of Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness

Basic plot elements of Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness that jump out of nowhere

At the end of the vision of Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness, one of the things that left me with a bitter taste in my mouth is the management of some important elements for the plot, which are introduced to Boris: so, de botto, nonsense.
All these elements concern two fundamental things for this film: the functioning of the multiverse and the functioning of the magic. They are, therefore, elements of both plot, Both world building. This double essence therefore makes them very important for the logical management of the film. And the fact that they were rendered badly is therefore a particularly problematic thing, as it affects the film on two levels.

Why are all the Darkholds of the multiverse destroyed?

The first element is the destruction of the Darkhold, the evil book from which Wanda (and Strange) take power.
The film establishes that the Darkhold is a book that exists in multiple worlds and that, at least on Earth-616, it was created based on the scriptures found in an evil temple erected by a demon. There is nothing in the film that suggests that the temple on Earth-616 is the origin of all Darkholds in the multiverse.. In fact, the temple itself does not appear to be a particularly muldimensional place, unlike the place where its antithesis, the Book of Vishanti, is found, which floats in what is evidently a very peculiar place.

Yet, at the end of the film, when Wanda destroys the evil temple and herself, all Darkholds of the multiverse disintegrate.
Which is something that makes sense in the broad scheme of the MCU, in terms of the variety of textures. Indeed, it is imperative that such a powerful tool is not left lying around, as otherwise any antagonist would have to want to get hold of it. Destroying the Darkhold, therefore, opens up the possibility of new plots.
However, in the film there is nothing to cause the destruction of all Darkholds starting with the temple. The evil temple of Earth-616 has not been called special. Earth-616's Wanda is no more special than the others; sure, she is the Scarlet Witch, but nothing tells us that she is the only Wanda in the multiverse to have become one.
The destruction of all Darkholds is therefore something that happens like this, out of the blue, meaningless.

Because the dreamwalking in a corpse should it be forbidden?

Towards the end of the film, Strange performs a desperate act: he uses the Darkhold to do the rite of dreamwalking on the corpse of another Doctor Strange, thus taking possession of the body. And so far so good: it works and makes sense even in the detail of having the body of the other Strange arrived on Earth-616.
However, at this point we find that technically taking possession of a corpse would be prohibited, such that the spirits of the dead would attack anyone who dares to make such a gesture.

But why should such an act be prohibited? Who tells us that owning a corpse is forbidden? Do you read it in the Darkhold? Have we seen other people attempt this ritual and end badly?
None of this: the thing is just told to us. And therefore we have to live a scene of tension and struggle between Strange and the spirits of the dead, without however that this tension had been established before.. What happens to Strange if he fails? We do not know. What's terrible about the spirits of the dead? Nothing, they're just skeletons of black smoke, they don't do anything particularly creepy. Why does Strange do something extraordinary by defeating them? We don't know, he eventually defeats them ... with the strength to be stronger than them.

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Strange uses dreamwalking on another Strange's corpse
Strange uses dreamwalking on another Strange's corpse

Why are these plot elements that pop up out of the blue a symptom of a bigger problem?

To these criticisms of mine, there are those who might reply that "okay," they are just trifles! There is no need to make it a state affair! ”.
For me, however, these are not small things, but they are a symptom of two bigger problems that plague Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness.

Lack of world building and care in creating Wanda's powers

The first is the lack of consistent worldbuilding on how magic and the multiverse work.
In particular, in this film it is painfully clear how badly built Wanda's power is. Sometimes it consists of throwing pew pew Iron Man-like reds, at other times it takes people's mouths away. So why didn't he take Strange's hands off? And while it was almost understandable that Wanda's power varied from one MCU product to another, as she suited each movie's threat level, seeing this swinging force in a single film only highlights the poverty of building the powers of she.

Since you don't know what they do and where exactly they come from (from an Infinity gem, but also from weird demonic stuff), you build on them and on magic in general with the strength of "why yes" and "it's magic , sticazzi ". But that can't always work, and in this film it's more of a problem than an asset.

Doctor Strange: a static and weak protagonist

The second problem is that in Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness the protagonist is static e it does not change. He doesn't have to face his fears to defeat Wanda. He doesn't have to change his mind about how to use America's powers. And he doesn't really have to learn anything new. He doesn't have to sacrifice something important.
Earth-616's Strange never wanted to kill America. He is obviously not held back by his fears. He doesn't have to sacrifice anything to save the day.
Sure, he eventually gets a third eye, but what does this change entail? Strange is not even looked at by Wong, when he evidently uses the Darkhold (which instead is considered very serious if done by Wanda).

In general, a protagonist who doesn't have to change, doesn't have to learn anything new and doesn't have to sacrifice anything is a protagonist weak, because it does not have a personal growth path. Furthermore, he is also a protagonist towards whom little empathy develops.
And it's sad to see Strange developed this way.

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Wanda Maximoff in Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness
Wanda Maximoff in Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness

Wanda Maximoff and the management of the antagonist in Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness

Finally, I want to say a few words about the management of Wanda Maximoff.
In WandaVision, we had left Wanda in a complex situation: she had somehow "overcome" the grief of the loss of Vision, but she was traumatized by the loss of children and was under the baleful influence of the Darkhold.

In Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness we find Wanda more or less as she started in WandaVision, but with a higher power scale: sbrocca badly due to trauma and this time it risks making a mess not in a city, but in the multiverse. More than anything, 'this time Wanda to get what she wants she is willing to kill an innocent girl.

The management of the threat: static and full of useless elements

And here, here the first problem occurs: the threat management. In Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness Wanda's actions begin with a negative consequence death of America Chavez. Then the film introduces another possible threat: that of clash of worlds and the annihilation of a world.
Since, at the same time as the revelation of this second threat, Wanda switches from using the Darkhold to using the Darkhold texts in the temple, in a sensibly constructed film we would have had a 'threat escalation, since this would have allowed not only to use the new information introduced (the possible collision of two worlds), but also to make sense of Wanda's change of location and instrument.
Thus, it would have made sense that, with the power of the temple (the original source, therefore potentially more powerful), Wanda could have caused a collision of worlds, as well as the death of America.

An escalation would have allowed for keep the plot dynamic and forward facing.
On the other hand, the information of the collision between the worlds does not initiate a real threat, but serves to explain the past of two passing worlds, therefore the plot does not go forward, but rewinds itself. And the arrival at the temple does not bring an increase in power into play, but a reestablishment of the status quo.
This continuous introduction of new elements that however add nothing to the advancement of the heart of the plot (Wanda's goal VS Strange's goal) is unfortunately problematic, because it makes the plot static and swollen with new elements which, however, in the narrow economy of things, are of no use and do not really have consequences.

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Wanda: the "crazy" and unreasonable mother

I have to admit: Wanda's management made me quite uncomfortable. The use of the trope of the traumatized person who "transforms" into a monster to avoid / heal the trauma is one of those things that, in 2022, I would have gladly done without.
But, above all, I would have done without seeing Wanda protagonist of an involution, that is, reduced to the point where we left it at the beginning of WandaVision. The possible Wanda / Scarlet Witch duality hinted at by the final scene of WandaVision it is not realized and Wanda herself seems to have had no evolution since the beginning of the series.

In this way, we have as an antagonist a traumatized woman (therefore already the bearer of a problematic trope), who has undergone an involution.
So, in Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness Wanda ends up being a one-dimensional character: the traumatized mother who thinks only of her children. Her inner dilemmas are reduced to her bone. She appears to have no interest other than her children.
Wanda is so one-dimensional that even her Earth-838 counterpart is completely the same as her, both in appearance, both in character and interests. Unlike the Stranges of the other worlds, the alternate versions of Wanda do not change from that of Earth-616. The two are so alike that I myself didn't realize at first that Xavier, in his foray into Wanda's mind, was trying to save Earth-838's Wanda: I thought he was trying to free the "good part" of Wanda. of Earth-616.

The real enemy should have been the Darkhold

The Darkhold's influence on Wanda is unclear. Does he control it? Does it bring the worst out of her? Does he feed on her negative emotions? It is not known, it is not clear.
And the fact that the Darkhold's influence is not clear is a huge problem, because this alone could have solved the rest: Wanda's one-dimensionality could have come from Darkhold, which reduced the woman to this trauma of hers.
In this sense, if the Darkhold was the real enemy di Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness, that is a sentient evil that uses Wanda, and if the latter had been a victim in turn, we would have found ourselves in front of a much more coherent film, in my opinion.

Thus the duality between Wanda and Scarlet Witch (the entity derived from the Darkhold) would have made sense. It would make sense to move to the temple (seat of the Darkhold's true power and a place where he could exercise absolute control over Wanda). And it would make sense to destroy the other Darkholds in the end, if it were established that the temple was a multidimensional place.
In addition, the conflict that arose from Strange using the Darkhold would have made more sense in this way: containing his wickedness would have been part of the fight against the antagonist, it would hardly have been a side-quest.

The Darkhold's Influence on Strange

In this regard, it is also good to talk about how Strange used the Darkhold with virtually no real consequences for the film's plot economy. Of course, hopefully we will see such consequences in future products, but the Strange / Darkhold conflict was supposed to take place in Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness, not in potential future films.
In fact, for how Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness it is written, Strange used the Darkhold without serious consequences. Sure, in the end, in a scene after the credits, he earned a third Eye, but it is not clear what this entails. For the rest, however, we did not see any negative consequences: not even Wong said anything!

In this we see a lot of the unequal treatment between Strange and Wanda: if Wanda uses the Darkhold, she turns into a cold-blooded assassin; if Strange uses the Darkhold, she defeats the spirits of the dead and nothing serious happens.
This unequal treatment could stem from the will of the Darkhold himself, but we cannot know, as the film does not explain it. It also doesn't explain it because we really know very little about what Darkhold is.

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Stephen Strange, America Chavez and Christine Palmer
Stephen Strange, America Chavez and Christine Palmer

Some conclusive words

I went into the room to see Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness with high expectations, because I kept hearing from my social media contacts talking about it very well. I was curious about the horror twist, the multiverse, Raimi and the characters. I was expecting a good movie, I really wanted to get out of that happy room.

We could have had Wanda subjugated by the Darkhold who, in the end, manages to free herself and claim her own person: she is a woman who suffers and has suffered, but she is not reduced only to her pain. And instead we have a one-dimensional antagonist, the crazy mom who only thinks about her children.
We could have seen a Strange facing his responsibilities and his fears, growing and changing. Instead, we had a static and weak protagonist.
We could have had a visual masterpiece, which puts it into practice show don't tell as it should. And instead we had a film that explains half of the important things with explanations on the spot.

I am a bit saddened by this disappointment and by the fact that I continue to read positive comments on this film, when in my opinion it is so full of objective and very problematic flaws. Instead of Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness, other films would have been massacred if they had had the same problems.
These are screenwriting issues that are really basic in cinema and I don't understand how they came to be in the finished product.
Other MCU films (although they have glaring flaws) don't have such serious problems, yet they have faced far more criticism, such as Captain Marvel e Black Widow.

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