Thoughts on WandaVision and the Multiverse of Madness

It's been a little over a year since the tragic ending of WandaVision, which presented some of the classic Disney Princess archetypes in an innovative and contemporary way. Ever since it ended, Disney has teased that the conclusion of Wanda Maximoff's story would be revealed in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, which was released in theaters last weekend. I enjoyed this movie, but I will not be giving it a full review. Instead, I would like to open up yet another discussion about the direction the media is going with female characters in modern times. As the Disney Princess genre pushes more in the direction of superhero films with characters like Raya and Elsa, Disney doesn't know what to do with those who exhibit traits of classic Disney Princesses like Snow White. Right now, the best solution they have is turning them into villains like they did with the title character in Cruella last year.

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness poster featuring the Scarlet Witch

I am under no delusion that the Scarlet Witch is not supposed to be a villain. She was introduced in Marvel Comics as the daughter of Magneto, the primary antagonist for the X-Men. However, the specific comics that Disney chooses to portray these characters from is telling about how the political climate affects modern media. WandaVision was a beautiful work of art that made a character's villainous actions understandable and even relatable at times. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness takes Wanda's villainy and turns it up to 11, counteracting any growth she may have from her experiences in WandaVision. While I found the film enjoyable, it seems like Disney doesn't know what to do with a female character in the modern era whose only desire is to start a family and live an ordinary life--just like classic Disney Princesses.

Even though WandaVision was a love story--albeit a messed up one--from the title alone, the follow-up film has a rather disturbing lack of Vision (pun not intended). Wanda only mentions him one time in the movie, and we never find out if or how he fits into the alternate universe where she raises his children as a single mother. It seems as though the "true love" story that Disney used to be famous for is now old hat, and heteronormative romance is taboo in the modern climate--well, as "normative" as a love story between a mutant witch and a synthezoid can be. As understandable as it is for Wanda to want to get back the children she was never able to have with Vision, it is odd that she is no longer concerned about finding him again when her entire motivation in WandaVision revolved around him, especially after the series ended with a new version of Vision whose resolution was left open-ended.

I truly appreciate that there is still a place for characters like Wanda Maximoff in the media in some form. It is just unfortunate that in a time where princesses are always warriors, the one fantasy character whose only desire is to live a peaceful and loving life must go crazy and resort to violence like all the other princesses and princess-like heroines. Of course, in this film, Doctor Strange is the hero, to Scarlet Witch's villainy. In that respect, it perfectly follows the modern trend of making relatable villains, which Disney has done in both of their most recent animated princess shows, Tangled: The Series and Elena of Avalor. Maybe the real problem is that Wanda's loneliness hits a little too close to home, considering how recent events have isolated people more than ever, making it even harder to find or be around those we love. Most people turn to fantasy to escape the less enjoyable aspects of reality, but the two are now spiraling into one multiverse where anything is possible except happiness.

WandaVision and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness represent a bitter truth that the times of prosperity and happy families have come to a close. Today, everyone struggles with health and finances, and not even superheroes can have a happy ending. Disney may never go back to the days of fairy tales and happily ever afters. As grown-up princess fans, that is something that we need to accept. All we can is try to be a little more like Wanda Maximoff and use our powers to create our own happy ending--just without the brainwashing or senseless destruction. Don't do that part.


There's an interview that came out on Wednesday where director Sam Raimi said that he didn't know about Wandavision until he was part way through making the movie, like at least halfway through. He was mainly told about the key moments anyway.
Lisa Dawn said…
That is very sad. :(

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