There is an open war between Marvel fans for the two sides of Wanda Maximoff’s character

Warning: this post contains spoilers for ‘Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness’ and ‘Wandavision’

The fandom has split. A film that many believed was going to be a mere procedure to justify and strengthen the concept of the Multiverse in Marvel, has become an earthquake within the MCU. Not only has its box office success exceeded all expectations (well, not all, this has been a custom for a long time) and its quality has also exceeded the usual -certifying the importance that this sequel has for Marvel-, but it has unleashed anger of a certain sector of fans.

We already commented on it in our review of the film: something was happening with the nemesis of ‘Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness’ that was going to upset many viewers. That nemesis is, of course, the Scarlet Witch, who in all the trailers presented her as an ally of Strange, but which is revealed, she has barely appeared on the scene and when the Sorcerer goes to ask her for help, as the villain of the story. A villain with nuances, of course, but that is precisely what has made many dentures gnash with fury.

Wanda Maximoff and her duel

Many MCU viewers appreciate the portrait of a duel that has taken place with the character played by Elizabeth Olsen, and that reaches a third phase here. In the Avengers movies in which she appeared, we had a heroine with unfathomable powers. who fell in love with a synthetic being, Vision. That creature, whom she had loved as if he were a normal man, died sacrificing himself for Humanity.

We lived the grieving process for that loss in a very peculiar way in the Marvel series ‘Scarlet Witch and Vision’, where he subjected an entire town to a strange solipsistic fantasy based on television series from different eras, a “happy refuge ” in which she denied herself the death of Vision. Many viewers saw in it a special portrait with a tragic dimension of the process of overcoming a trauma… and they wanted Wanda to continue growing as a character.

But what they have found is a film that is less interested in making a character like Wanda evolve and more in the dark splendor of the Raimi house. For this the director of ‘Darkman’ sets in motion the dark designs of the Darkhold, a book of black magic that corrupts his soul. That is to say, a total transcription of the Necronomicon that we saw in Raimi’s own ‘Evil Dead’ movies and, before that, in the stories of HP Lovecraft that inspired part of his mythology.

The film does not abound in his psychological evolution with the excuse that a cursed book controls the behavior of the character. Which is a topic that ‘Wandavision’ already took with a grain of salt, given that once the nice initial proposal of cloning classic television series and topics had been overcome, we had a story in which Wanda subjected an entire community to her will. .. but she was still the heroine of the show.

In that case, undoing the evil he had done only because of an emotional imbalance did not lead to an overly complex redemption, and many critics of the series so noted. The supposed “emotional complexity” of the series was not so important when the important thing was to keep her as a heroine of the Marvel pantheon. ‘Doctor Strange 2’ is more boorish in that sense, but perhaps also more honest.

Wanda Maximoff as villain

Wanda’s tradition as a villain goes back a long way in the comics, so it can’t be said that any fan has been caught by surprise. In the late 1980s, after being a full-fledged member (like the Vision) of the Avengers, she was taking on the supergroup to save her family. And in the 2000s she became the core of a couple of events that marked the Marvel Universe at the time: ‘Avengers: Disassembled’ and ‘Dynasty of M’. Both are such classic comics of the character that they tremendously influenced the series, especially in the concept of a Scarlet Witch who completely manipulates reality: in the second one, for example, making mutants rule the Earth, commanded by Magneto .

With those precedents, there were possibilities to turn Wanda into a supervillain with cosmic ambitions, which here is reduced to a very mammoth total control of the Multiverse through the subjugation of América Chávez…with the most banal of excuses. Wanda wants to make sure she gets her children back, who didn’t really exist in her universe, even if she’s leaving a trail of corpses in her wake.

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In fact, the irregularity of the treatment of Wanda’s character in the film does not come from her cold-blooded massacre of the Illuminati (one of the most deliciously iconoclastic moments in the film, and unsurprisingly, one of the ones that is generating the most complaints). among fans with a more entrenched mythomania) but that their behavior is described with a certain narrative laziness. It is the systematic loss of her loved ones (her parents, her brother Pietro, Vision, her children) that gives her a motivation, and not an agency of her own: she depends on the loss of others, always men, to advance. It’s a shame for a character that asked for some complexity.

But for the rest, everything happens in a fast-paced film that knows how to use the resources of horror cinema (the zombie sorcerer as a channel for the climax, the cursed book as an explanation of a behavior that should not be given much thought) to plant a high-flying magic combat. We can leave the discussion of whether Marvel is better at pure fun or character drama for another day.but in this case the choice of one thing over another can be hard to swallow for a few fans wanting to grumble.