This is Madness!

If you are anything like me, you’ve been waiting for this movie for a minute. And then a minute turned into years. Ever since WandaVision aired a couple years ago, I have wanted more on-screen appearances from Wanda. And, really, who wouldn’t?

Coming on the heels of the movie, Spider-Man: No Way Home, and the Disney+ series, Loki, I was chomping at the bit for more multiversal plots. It’s always fun, and nostalgic, when you see appearances for several characters that may not have otherwise appeared together in a film. Add to that the gloriousness that is Wanda and you’ve got quite the potential on your hands.

This film, like many of the Marvel Cinematic Universe pieces since The Blip, starts with the characters reeling from the effects of said event. They’re navigating what their lives were, what they should have been, and what they will be. The first, somewhat, shocker we see in this film is Christine getting married–and it’s not to Stephen Strange. Thankfully, there’s a monstrous-cyclops-octopus thing prepared to spare Strange, and us, all the second-hand embarrassment he was undoubtedly going to face by staying at the wedding any longer.

With the help of Wong, Strange is able to dispatch of this one-eyed miscreant, but only to find that the monster wasn’t that big a deal. I mean, he was, but he was hardly the most important part of the fiasco. The monster wasn’t meant to destroy anything, it was there because it was trying to capture America Chavez, a girl with the power to travel the multiverse.

You read that right. Madness indeed!

A brief investigation leads Strange to seek out the help of Wanda but he quickly learns, via the oldest trick in the book, that she is the mastermind behind all this. She is the one who sent the monster after America. Why?

Because she wants to be reunited with her children.

Wanda goes on to say that she wants to be happy and, don’t we all? After Stephen points out, what he feels, is a major flaw in her plan, he also tells her how wrong her choices are. Wanda calls out his hypocrisy and effectively announces her plans to decimate anyone who stands in her way. I miss the days when villains were evil for the sake of being evil. It makes me uncomfortable knowing that I even remotely relate to a villain.

Maybe, it’s just me (it’s almost certainly just me), but I had no idea that Wanda was the villain of this movie. That said, I am absolutely here for it.

One of the things that always irritated me with the MCU was that they didn’t highlight Wanda, aka the Scarlet Witch, nearly as much as they could have. I love that, in this movie, she got to be in the limelight. She is an incredibly powerful character, both literally and figuratively, and it just never seemed to make sense that she was sort of in the background. Okoye said it best:

As a villain, we get to see Wanda unleash all of her fury and it is evident that she has really grown into her powers since her induction into the MCU. I feel like there’s no way we would have seen her at her true potential if she had been playing the role of the hero. Wanda, in this movie, was desperate and being desperate was what led her to become the villain–desperation brings out the best and worse in us.

Once Wanda chooses not to be “reasonable,” all hell breaks loose and we see Strange and America more or less scrambling to figure out a way to defeat her. The journey there is thrilling–glimpses and flashes of different universes, including one universe overgrown with plants (I need to find this place); and other, more horrific realities.

We also see a variation of Earth’s mightiest heroes in the form of the Illuminati: Mordo, Captain Carter (instead of Captain America), Mr. Fantastic, Black Bolt, Captain Marvel (but as Maria Rambeau instead of Carol Danvers), and, best of all, Dr. X!

This is where things really hit the fan. Ultimately, we find that there’s no way to beat Wanda, except Wanda. America, who has finally learned to get a grasp on her powers, uses her ability to bring our Wanda face-to-face with the Wanda she had hoped to, more or less, possess in order to be the mother that she always wanted to be. The fog begins to clear and Wanda realizes that she hasn’t been herself and she can’t be a mother to these two little boys this way. Other-Wanda eases our Wanda’s suffering, saying:

“Know that they will be loved.”

Our Wanda finally lays down her arms, destroys the source of her dark power, and that’s that. Or is it? To our eyes, it looks like Wanda may have died in the process, but we don’t see anything to confirm or deny this. With the introduction of the multiverse into the MCU, we’ve learned that nothing is really finished, no one is really dead. That’s a concept readily available in the comic books. I mean, look up how many times your favorite character has died in comics and how many times they’ve come back or have been replaced. So, this may not have been the end for Wanda. We’ll just have to wait and see.

Ultimately, I loved this movie. The plot, at times, seemed to be erratic, but I took that with the grain of salt–the movie title references “madness,” so it worked very well for me. I briefly felt that it jumped quickly to the meat of it all in the form of Wanda being the villain, but without learning she was behind it early on, we wouldn’t have gotten to really see Wanda let loose, which would have resulted in the ending feeling rushed.

This movie was also different than other MCU movies in that it was darker than its predecessors. There was some debate concerning whether or not this movie should have received an R-rating, as opposed to the PG-13 rating it actually received. I can see this argument as there are some fairly gruesome moments, but ultimately, I think the PG-13 rating stands. Parents bringing younger children should be aware of the darker themes, though.

Sam Raimi, a known horror director, is to thank for the darker themes. He really brought his experience as a horror director into play with this movie. Not so much that it takes away from the overall movie, but rather enhances it. A Marvel movie is nothing without its witty banter, and there’s plenty of it, but the juxtaposition of that, combined with the spine-chilling horror, makes for a great ride. (Being chased by Wanda a la Carrie is terrifying and I don’t care what anyone says).The nostalgia adds a deeper element: I mentioned that we see Dr. X, but it is the OG Dr. X–Sir Patrick Stewart! The combination of these elements, with the cherry on the top being feelings of humanity (the recurring question of happiness played a large part in this movie), made this a movie that I was emotionally invested in. Those movies, for me, are the best movies.

I was pretty satisfied at the end of the movie, but a couple questions linger for me…

What about White Vision?!

If you watched WandaVision, and you certainly should have watched it, then you know that the season ends with a “copy” of Vision, engineered by S.W.O.R.D., fighting the version of Vision that Wanda has manifested. The battle ends with White Vision flying away, never to be seen again. I thought that he might make an appearance in this movie, but he didn’t, not even in the credit end-scenes (one of which was majorly disrespectful).

I’m not sure I understand the point of Vision being recreated only for him to disappear again. He literally just flew away–he’s certainly not dead. Where has he gone? What is he doing? Will we see him again?

How did Wanda learn of America in the first place?

Unless I missed it, it’s not mentioned in the movies. We don’t really get an explanation as to how Wanda learns about America and her powers in the first place. I guess we can chalk it up to things learned when you mess with the Darkhold. It just seems like such a glaring question that deserves some sort of answer, one we never got.

Aside from these questions, I have no complaints about this movie. I honestly cannot see how anyone did not enjoy that movie, but I’ve been wrong before. I’m sure there are some of you out there so to anyone who didn’t enjoy this movie I have to ask:

Are you happy?

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