Thursday, February 23, 2023

Not on the 2022 List: Dr. Strange 2 (and Thor 4 and Black Panther 2)

This movie wasn’t as awful as Black Widow or The Eternals, but in many ways, it was the most disappointing output of the MCU phase 4. This is because the best element of phase 4 was WandaVision, and this was sort of a sequel to that and couldn’t have dropped that ball more disastrously.

Wanda was such a deeply human and heartbreaking character in that show, and then she shows up here as just a kill-the-bitch horror villain. As I was watching it in the theater, I kept thinking that it was almost as if Sam Raimi didn’t even watch WandaVision. Then I got home and found out that nope, he didn’t, though he had plenty of time to do so. Is there any worse example of directorial malfeasance? Watch the masterpiece you’re making a sequel to, ya doofus!

Ultimately, I realized they could have made it work if they had made it clear that the Darkhold had turned her evil, as in the storyline pictured below, but no, Raimi implied that motherhood alone had warped her brain. Ugh.
By far the best part of the movie was seeing all those cameos on that other Earth, but then they were all gruesomely killed one by one, which was no fun to watch.

Ultimately, other than WandaVision, Loki and Spider-Man No Way Home, phase four was a big disappointment. (And I hear that phase five hasn’t gotten off to a good start either, but I haven’t made it out to see the new Ant-Man yet.) The rule in Hollywood is that if a franchise lives long enough, it will get to see itself become the villain, but we’ll always have phases 1-3.

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