Dr. Strange and the Multiverse of Madness and Spider-Man: No Way Home deal with the multiverse in various ways. Multiverse stories can be interesting and also complicated. How did these movies handle this complicated plot? Was it done well or could it have been done better? It might also be good to compare it to other stories with a multiverse plot (ex. Everything Everywhere All at Once, Bioshock: Infinite, Dark Matter by Blake Crouch, or Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse if you want an all Marvel article). Explore the pros and cons of a multiverse plot and how these stories fit into it.
(My Opinion): I believe that Dr. Strange and Spider-Man used the multiverse mainly for nostalgia, to varying degrees of success, and the stories ignore the other strengths of the plot (especially Multiverse of Madness). I think these stories are flawed but enjoyable. Feel free to disagree with me, agree with me, or bring up more talking points!
I agree with your opinion on this matter. Multiverses were a cool idea in the MCU before it became just another fluff tool for their infrastructure of storytelling. – gbarreto9 months ago
Both Marvel and DC approach multiverse to create new plots but rebrand the same story of Western society's "nostalgia" (as mentioned) of the triumph of the white man and/or the masculine concept of strength that consumer culture celebrates. The strength of superheroes celebrated across multiverses means white men and Western societies love to see their superiority not only in one universe but also in all of them. The concept of multiverse is not new, it is mentioned in Indian myths (Mahabharat) and ancient songs of Bangladesh. For example, the songs of Duddu Shah, a 19th-century Baul poet from Bangladesh, refer to the word "digontikar" which means multiverse. There are several songs about the multiverse that celebrate a spiritual force that connects all humans of the multiverse through black holes in space. He uses the words "pingolo trosto jota" and "kuar dale dhandomaan" signalling the black holes in the space connecting multiverses like tree branches. The inclusive and spiritual thoughts of inclusive humanity that these references of multiverse portray are rarely visible in graphic-narrative-based multiverse stories in Marvel or DC. The obsessive focus on having binary oppositions of powerful heroes and villains might be problematic for young minds. – Golam Rabbani6 months ago
In Thor: Love and Thunder, Gorr the God Butcher wanted to destroy all the deities in the MCU. His motivation was he had found the god of his civilization quite disappointing, and he assumed all deities were just as selfish and uncaring. The movie hoped the audience would think Gorr was wrong because Thor, the god of Thunder, is not selfish. Unfortunately, we have not met many other "god" characters in the MCU with redeeming qualities. Analyze the MCU characters referred to as gods or god-like beings – not only the Asgardians but also Dormammu from Dr. Strange, Ego from Guardians of the Galaxy, Arishem from Eternals, the Egyptian gods from Moon Knight, and Zeus. How valid was Gorr’s anti-god position? Is there a deeper meaning in this repeated theme? Consider the fact that Odin said, "We are not gods," but other characters nonetheless refer to Asgardians as gods. Does a character need to be chosen by a mortal civilization to "count" as a god?
With Phase 4 of the MCU introducing so many broad concepts, is it getting too messy & losing track of what makes it great? Or, are these the first steps of another genius plan to intertwine everything into another sprawling, mind-blowing epic? Consider the rapid influx of new characters and ideas. When we started in 2008, the MCU introduced a handful of characters over 4 years. The last 2 years have brought us at least a dozen throughout the movies and shows. This could be considered a benefit of the streaming era. Though one could argue this influx has led to a decrease in quality because there’s too much to keep track of. Quantity doesn’t always equal quality. For example, it’s a common criticism that the shows are coming out too fast and they don’t stick the landing because they’re only 6 episodes. Or many ideas seemingly contradict those that are firmly established.
There's no doubt that Moon Knight was an amazing show, despite it's six episode trend. However I think the only good movie that has been made this year is Spider-Man No Way Home. It was something that the fans wanted, and overall it was a good movie. For me personally, I think Multiverse of Madness was thrown way out of proportion by some fans, with people saying online that certain characters were going to make appearances, which then hyped up the movie a little too much for some of the characters we got. Don't get me wrong, Multiverse of Madness is still a great movie, but I do agree with the fact that Marvel are trying to pump out as many shows and movies they can with unrealistic deadlines, and not really considering the impact this may have on their fans. – Interstellarflare1 year ago
This is a really interesting topic, one I've been wondering about. With the first phase, there was something tying all the characters together, Nick Fury and SHIELD, and it was clear there was an overall story being told, of these various superheroes and how they would join together in the first Avengers film. Now after Endgame it feels as if we're at a new beginning, and despite (as mentioned) the incredible number of stories that have already been told, it's much less clear if there's any larger story in mind. On the one hand, the focus and vision of Phase 1 was essential in making it the juggernaut success it was, particularly when compared with the DC films of the same time, where there was clearly no overarching story but just a desire for tentpole films. On the other hand, the Multiverse of Madness in particular made it clear that there are a tremendous number of potential directions the MCU can go in, many of which are quite exciting, and it's understandable if they're still exploring which stories they want to tell. It's also unclear when the downfalls of such ambition really matter. The MCU wanted to do Civil War as the third Captain America movie despite the extent to which it didn't really make sense, the number of issues with the lines drawn, and the way the fallout was almost overwhelmingly discarded in time for Infinity War. But thanks to other successful elements, these issues seem not to have mattered for the MCU in the long run. Are there any clear indicators for what the future holds? – ronannar1 year ago
The Marvel Cinematic Universe is complex and fascinating, and like many fans, I love the crossovers among the films. However, with the addition of several TV series (Daredevil, Agents of S.H.E.I.L.D., etc.), it seems nearly impossible to keep up with the intricacies of the world. With more TV content on the horizon for Marvel, I wonder if the platform is too much. It’s confusing for new watchers to fully understand the overall plot without having seen previous Marvel films. I think the argument can go both ways. On one hand, the multimedia platform is exciting and facilitates depth. On the other hand, is there a point when it will all be too much?
This is a very interesting point that you have brought up. With solo films for Black Panther, The Wasp and many other superheroes coming up too, it has become next to impossible to keep track of all the stories. One can also contrast the current times where a superhero film is released every 6 months and series like Luke Cage, Jessica Jones on Netflix ensure that we have stuff to watch all year round with say, a decade earlier when people used to have to wait for a couple of years to get a Batman or Spiderman movie. – Vishnu Unnithan7 years ago
Is it possible that the constantly growing scale of the MCU won't necessarily kill it but force it to become more and more niche? A casual viewer may reach the point of superhero fatigue or throw up their hands and say "I can't keep up with this anymore", but the more hardcore comic book fans who've kept abreast of decades of comic book history as well as all the multi-verses, galaxies, and timelines would theoretically still support these stories coming to life in all forms (as long as they maintained their level of quality). – LC Morisset7 years ago
You can never have too much Marvel. Just like you can't have too much ice cream. – Munjeera7 years ago
Both are good arguments but to me that whether it is too much or not, people are and will still watch these Marvel shows and movies. It's interesting that maybe on some level these points to bridge the gap between the amount of consumption of watching these shows and imagining ourselves in the world of the superheroes. – daisy6 years ago
The market has definitely been flooded. They don't seem to hold the same weight they once did. It would be interesting to see if its because we are spoiled for choice, or is it a case of Disney choosing quantity over quality? Either way, I hope we stick to one Star Wars a year, Disney; any more would be overkill. – AGMacdonald6 years ago
I think we can see the stretch sometimes with Agents of Shield fumbling to connect but not spoil the Marvel movies that happen during its seasons, and Netflix's shows trying to ignore The Avengers (and, soon, Spider-man) in New York. – IndiLeigh6 years ago
I can relate to this a lot. I am a total superhero/comic nut, but with school and work and everything else going on, it has become tough to be on top of all the new intricacies of the MCU. I like the way Marvel is taking it though. The films and series are standalone enough to be enjoyed by anyone, but there are plenty of connections and easter eggs between everything to keep the nuts like us happily scrambling. – superdilettante6 years ago
As more and more studios start up cinematic universes based on comic book properties, it is hard to imagine that these films will be successful for forever. However comic books have still remained fairly successful and people still remain invested in the characters. Can the films expect the same support, or should they have a definitive ending?
I really like this topic as I am a super fan of these movies. The MCU right now is leading up to Avengers Infinity War in 2018, and Avengers 4 in 2019. Nobody knows what's going to happen, but they are most likely not just gonna stop making movies all together. These movies make way too much money to just stop, so there should be speculation on what could happen post Avengers 4. – cbo10947 years ago
Interesting topic. In David Ehrlich's review of Civil War, he describes the MCU as "A film franchise so immense and self-perpetuating that a plot’s greatest possible conflict is no longer the end of the world, but rather the end of the brand." In all likelihood marvel will continue to add to its sprawling universe until the audience diffuses or they run out of cash, which could be anywhere from in the near future to decades later. I like the idea of whether they "should". It would be memorable and history-making for them if they ended their run on a well-crafted note, though as the years go on the likelihood seems incredibly slim. They would likely go on making them until the public is entirely bored of it. – Matchbox7 years ago
The Marvel Cinematic Universe had a great year! With phase one and two being over, (phase two ended with Ant-Man) and phase three coming up sooner rather than later with Civil War, I really want to focus on a "What’s to come" sort of aspect of the phases when it comes to phase three.
Phase one was just the beginning and it started the phase’s out pretty decently. You can focus on the aspect of talking about how well those films did for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. 2008-2012 was a time where the MCU was just starting out with the graphic choices and getting into the deeper realms of how they were going to depict these Avengers characters on the screen.
Then you can talk about phase two with the same topic as well, and talking about how they’ve progressed as films and characters from phase one. Which, I feel is an important aspect, from the changes of directors to different choices made by those directors and even to Marvel being partnered with Disney as well, which happened in 2009.
Then you can even focus on what’s to come. Civil War is supposed to be the film of all films, it supposed to start phase three off really well. And from what the trailer shows and what we all know about it, it really is supposed to be great.
You can also talk about how phase two ended with Ant-Man, do you as a comic reader/MCU film watcher feel it was right to end with Ant-Man, was that a good ending spot for the phase to end with? And upcoming films such as; Doctor Strange, Guardians 2, Thor: Ragnarok, Ant-Man and the Wasp, Avengers: Infinity War, Inhumans, Captain Marvel, Black Panther and Another Spider-Man. What creative choices can be made with these now that we’ve had two completed phases and kind of a reaction to those; but also, what can be done to keep the attention of watchers of the MCU and etc.,
In the mid-twentieth story auteur theory was developed, naming the director as the main author of a film work. In this theory, directors get named auteurs primarily through the development of an individual aesthetic. Does the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the Marvel house style, achieve a similar individual aesthetic? Can Kevin Feige be considered the auteur of the franchise for his production decisions like naming directors and deciding which projects get produced? This can be supportive or critical of the Feige and the MCU.