‘Doctor Strange 2’ and its multiverse of plot holes
Warning: The following article contains spoilers for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness
The more Marvel Studios grows ambitious about the ever-expanding branches of its cinematic universe, the less concerned it is about backing its plot points with logic. MCU fans hoped that the release of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness would resolve many questions left unanswered by past films and shows like Loki, WandaVision, Spider-Man: No Way Home, etc. But save for a few unexpected answers and a lot of cameos, the primary thing the latest dive into the multiversal chaos offers is a long list of plot holes.
Whether it is in terms of abandoning a past plot thread or simply forgetting to strengthen the sudden twists in its plot with a solid reason, Multiverse of Madness is lost in its own special dimension of plot holes:
The story simply drops Wanda’s character development in WandaVision
Wanda going rogue and using her powers to get the happiness that fate has always stolen from her — this particular theme feels familiar, doesn’t it? Well, because that’s what WandaVision was all about as Wanda took an entire town hostage in her bid to get what she almost had. But by the end of the series, she clearly realized the error of her ways and deeply repented for what she did by sacrificing the Utopia she had built for herself. Sounds like Wanda went through some significant character development, right?
But Multiverse of Madness simply chucks this potential plot continuation and once again debuts her as an unhinged character who is lost in her own grief. Yeah, the fact stands that the Darkhold corrupted her but the sudden transition of Wanda into the evil Scarlet Witch seems a little thin plot-wise seeing that the last we saw her (before MoM) she appeared to have understood that being selfish and hurting others to get what she wants wasn’t the right way.
Why isn’t Wanda looking for Vision as well in Multiverse of Madness?
A fellow MCU fan has already explained why Vision was not present on Earth 838 — Reed Richards had successfully created Ultron who did not get corrupted and hence there was no need for the creation of Vision. There is also no indication that Iron Man, the synthezoid’s creator, even existed in this universe. But that does not mean that Vision simply did not exist in other realities as well, does it?
Even if we accept that the growth Wanda went through in the end of WandaVision was just for show and internally, she still retained the hunger to have a family, why did she suddenly drop Vision from her crusade? Wanda confirmed that in every reality that her alternate selves exist in, they are blessed with the twins, Billy and Tommy. So, shouldn’t her focus have been on finding a universe where the other Wanda has both the twins and Vision?
It is understood that Vision won’t have a variant as he is not a human. But seeing that almost all universes went through a similar set of major events — Earth 838 also faced Thanos’ half-the-universe-annihilating threat, they just dealt with it differently — it won’t be too far-fetched to assume that at least a few universes out there led to his creation as well. Also, Billy and Tommy were created by Wanda using hexes, so they aren’t exactly human either but if they can exist in every reality out there, Vision is bound to be present in a few of them at the very least.
Explaining why White Vision doesn’t make an appearance in MoM is easy — this new version of the synthezoid, who is nothing more than a machine now, simply downloaded the memories of the Wanda-created Vision, not his emotions for Wanda. He is probably somewhere out there, coming to terms with all the memories in his brain.
But why does Wanda no longer care to find another Vision, especially since she has no idea that before she erased the fake Vision, he had copied his memories into the White Vision? For her, a Vision that loves her doesn’t exist in this reality. MoM doesn’t take the liberty to explain why Wanda is not interested in finding a copy of the love of her life and is solely focused on only getting alternate versions of her twins.
MoM abandons the Tommy and Billy we hear at the end of WandaVison
WandaVision ended with a post-credits scene where the astral form of Scarlet Witch is seen engrossed in reading the Darkhold when she hears the scared voices of her sons screaming for help. As she obviously embarked on her mission to find them after hearing their voices, one would expect that she would seek these versions of her sons specifically.
It seems weird that MoM doesn’t address this and simply forgets the conclusion the series ended on in exchange for building a different plot trajectory to explain Wanda’s actions — that she has been dreaming of Tommy and Billy every day and has learned that these dreams are windows allowing her to peek at alternate versions of Tommy and Billy.
It’s Earth 616 or Earth 199999?
More than a decade ago, the coffee table book, Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Vol. 5, was published and stated that the events in the films of the MCU take place on Earth-199999. But MoM highlights that the OG universe is Earth 616. Nothing new, just Marvel Studios contradicting its own facts.
How does Strange and more importantly Wong still remember Peter Parker?
No Way Home concluded with a gigantic plot hole of its own — how does Strange’s second spell, which makes everyone forget Peter Parker, work? Seeing that the world remembers Spider-Man but has forgotten Peter, it is safe to say that the events where Peter was the one involved have been effectively removed from everyone’s memories.
But MoM, instead of simplifying the mystery here, only serves to further complicate the answer. When America Chavez drops out of nowhere and sits down for a chat with Wong and Strange, she asks if they know anything about the multiverse. In response, Strange mentions that recently there was an “incident with Spider-Man.” So, apparently like everyone else, he remembers the webbed crawler, not the face behind the mask. This is where things get a bit complicated.
The world at large wasn’t aware that Strange’s spell has messed up the fabric of reality and allowed people from other universes to cross over into Earth 616. Thus, Strange’s response to America’s query about whether he has any experience with the multiverse implies that he is aware of his role in the chaos that unfolded in No Way Home. This makes him not remembering Spider-Man’s identity impossible as it was Peter who approached Strange to cast the spell, sans his superhero costume.
Did the second spell in No Way Home also alter how people remember certain events, which could include Strange remembering the masked Spidey coming to him asking for help instead of Peter? Even if that’s indeed the case, MoM never bothers to provide an explanation.
What’s with all the identical-looking variants in Multiverse of Madness?
No Way Home saw three completely different Spider-Men from different universes, with their respective MJs (in the case of Tobey Maguire and Tom Holland’s Spideys) also varying. The same was the case with Loki, where while we did have one identical variant of OG Loki, others were very different.
But fast-forward to MoM and every character’s variant in every other universe is identical, whether it is Wanda, Mordo, Peggy Carter, Strange, Wong, Christine, and especially, Billy and Tommy who were creations of Wanda’s rather powerful magic and imagination (at least on Earth 616). It is never explained whether she used hexes to create them in other universes as well or were they biologically conceived.
Seeing that the alternate Wanda we get to see is leading a blissful domestic life, it is safe to say that she didn’t go cuckoo like the OG Wanda. Right there, we have a Wanda who has a different thought process and way of looking at life. In case, if even in this universe, Billy and Tommy were magically created by Wanda, how did they end up looking just like the twins she gave “birth” to in WandaVision?
America Chavez suddenly understands how to harness her powers….because of a pep talk?
From the very beginning, America establishes that she doesn’t know how to tap into her universe-hopping powers, which are only triggered when she is very afraid or as we later see when Wanda forces her powers to kickstart. But suddenly, in the concluding minutes of the film, she suddenly understands how to use her powers just because Strange asks her to believe in herself and “kick that witch’s ass.”
We understand that MoM was running on a tight deadline and had a small duration already overwhelmed by the gazillion cameos it had. But when a character, who has no idea how to use their powers, suddenly gains the knowledge to do the same out of the blue just because someone gave them a little pep talk, it only highlights the barely-there-efforts devoted to flesh out a rather thin plot.
But despite its inconsistencies, there is no denying that the film remains a strong MCU entry. So, in case you are planning to binge it all over again (and probably find more plot holes), Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is available in theaters.