Spoiler alert! The following discusses plot points and the ending of “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness,” so beware if you haven’t seen it yet.
“I’m not a monster. I’m a mother,” Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) tells sorcerer Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), though she manages to be both in the new superhero sequel “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.”
The witchy Avenger has the biggest heel turn ever in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, tricking Strange and making his life – actually, make that lives since we’re talking about the multiverse – a living hell.
But “Madness” and its alternate-reality twists lead to crazy sequences and end-credits scenes (naturally, since this is a Marvel movie) with a bunch of A-list cameos, some teasing upcoming MCU projects. At the very least, we have the first star of a “Fantastic Four” movie now!
Here are the five wildest, most shocking moments in the new “Doctor Strange.”
Turns out you can’t trust Scarlet Witch/Wanda Maximoff, even if she is an Avenger
Strange meets America Chavez (Xochitl Gomez), a teen girl with the ability to travel through parallel worlds, when she pops into his universe and he saves her from a one-eyed octopus monster. When he learns a dark force is hunting her, Strange reaches out to Wanda for help. Well, that was his first mistake: It’s quickly revealed that she’s the one sending demons and creatures after America, wanting to take her power so she can find a Wanda in the multiverse who has children and assume that one’s life. Strange and America escape to another world but she’s in magical hot pursuit, using the Darkhold (aka the Book of the Damned) to temporarily possess that universe’s Wanda.
‘Family comes first’:Benedict Cumberbatch talks ‘Doctor Strange 2,’ ‘SNL’ and his multiverse selves
Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart), Reed Richards (John Krasinski) head up the Illuminati
Strange and America wind up in a universe where a group called the Illuminati defeated Thanos, who was felled when their world’s Strange made the controversial magical choice to use the Darkhold (and was executed for it). The sorcerer has an egotistical streak that spans all his versions, and our Strange is cuffed by old frenemy Mordo (Chiwetel Ejiofor) and taken in front of the Illuminati to judge if he’s a danger to the multiverse.
Among its mind-blowing lineup: Charles Xavier, with Patrick Stewart reprising his “X-Men” role; Black Bolt, played by “Inhumans” star Anson Mount; Captain Marvel, though it’s Lashana Lynch’s Maria Rambeau rather than Brie Larson’s Carol Danvers; Captain Carter, the “What If” variation of Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell) who took the Captain America super-soldier serum instead of Steve Rogers; and Reed Richards, the head of the Fantastic Four – who we haven’t seen in the MCU yet – played by a debuting John Krasinski.
But this Earth’s mightiest heroes don’t stand a chance
Bringing in the Illuminati from the comic books is a pretty big deal. But so is the Scarlet Witch.
Before you have the time to fan-cast the rest of the upcoming “FF” film around Krasinski, however, Wanda shows up stalking Strange and America like a magical Jason Voorhees and gruesomely murders the entire group quite easily. She makes Black Bolt explode his own brain, rips Mr. Fantastic into bloody pieces, snaps Xavier’s neck, drops a huge statue on Captain Marvel and slices Captain Carter in two with her own shield.
Doctor Strange becomes the walking dead
Wanda captures America and brings her back to the “regular” universe, intending to sacrifice the teen for her abilities. Our Strange gets stuck in a dystopian world where he meets a sinister version of himself who used the Darkhold and has paid the price. Our Strange decides he needs to use the book as well, however, and he dream-walks into a dead version of himself and this Zombie Strange attacks Wanda with demonic spirit beasts. Yet it’s ultimately America who makes Wanda see the monster she’s become, and the Avenger-turned-villain brings a mountainous temple down on herself while at the same time destroying every copy of the Darkhold throughout the multiverse.
Surprise! Charlize Theron enters the mighty Marvel fray as Clea
The last scene of the film finds Strange back in New York City and screaming in the middle of the street as a magical third eye opens in the middle of his forehead (a toll paid for using the Darkhold). But in an end-credits scene, Strange is walking around town again when a blonde mystery woman (Theron) shows up out of nowhere.
“You’ve caused an incursion and we’re going to fix it,” she orders, opening a rift into the Dark Dimension (seen in the original 2016 “Doctor Strange”). “Unless you’re afraid?” Strange flashes his new third eye before responding, “Not in the least.” This stranger is Clea, a sorceress and frequent character in Marvel comics who actually married Strange, so our hero has a new love interest going forward.