Doctor Strange 2 is finally out in theaters, where it will dominate the box office until Top Gun: Maverick rolls out in late May. That means we know exactly what happens in Multiverse of Madness, and we can start discussing how the film will influence the rest of Marvel’s MCU Phase 4. One of the things that Doctor Strange 2 does brilliantly is offer an easy fix to a big Avengers problem that Phase 4 has. It’s something incredibly simple that Marvel can implement with ease.
Before we explain what this key event is, I’ll point out the obvious. Big Multiverse of Madness spoilers follow below. If you haven’t seen the film yet, you’ll want to check out our spoiler-free Doctor Strange 2 review.
The reason fans are still in love with the MCU after all these years is Marvel’s ability to intertwine these seemingly independent movies into a major storyline. The payoff is movies like Civil War, Infinity War, Endgame, No Way Home, and Multiverse of Madness.
You get plenty, if not most, of the MCU heroes on-screen together in some of these movies. Doctor Strange 2 is the latest example of that. It’s not an Avengers story, but it’s the closest thing we have to one, given the Avengers and multiverse variants in it.
The cameos and the Easter eggs from other projects make these bigger crossover movies possible. But the more movies and TV shows Marvel makes, the richer the universe gets. And we get to learn its rules along the way.
Marvel’s Avengers problem in Phase 4
The Avengers is a very tight-knit team after all these years. An organization that has continuously evolved and is still in operation after Endgame.
Yet Phase 4 minimizes that, and it’s a significant issue. Marvel’s desire to focus on the new story at hand is understandable. But Marvel also goes out of its way not to involve links to the Avengers in these stories. To the point where it feels like a plot hole.
WandaVision, which is relevant to Doctor Strange 2, is one such example where we had a significant situation occur without Avenger intervention. We don’t need the big stars in every Disney Plus TV series. But we do need proof that the Avengers are paying attention.
Marvel gave the audience a hint of that in Shang-Chi. The post-credits scene where Wong (Benedict Wong), Captain Marvel (Brie Larson), and Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) appear shows the Avengers are carefully monitoring the goings-on on Earth.
Marvel can always explain that these stories do not need Avengers or Avengers teasers. But it would only contradict itself. It’s not just Shang-Chi where the Avengers link is clear. Doctor Strange 2 has it also, and it happens early in the film.
How Doctor Strange 2’s plot fixes things
The plot leaks said that Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) and Wong (Benedict Wong) would both be at the wedding of Christine Palmer (Rachel McAdams). But that’s not the case. It’s just Stephen in attendance, and it so happens that the Gargantos battle takes place right across the street.
Doctor Strange was in the right place at the right time when a giant demonic monster appeared in New York. Strange fought the octopus alone initially, but Wong appeared, portaling into the fight. This is all a movie or TV show needs to fix Marvel’s Avengers problem. You send someone to help.
It doesn’t have to be Wong, and it doesn’t need to be an Avenger. But there needs to be some kind of reaction from the superheroes fighting evil on Earth.
Wanda (Elizabeth Olsen) kidnapping an entire town in WandaVision? You need more than SWORD and the FBI. A giant emerging from the Indian Ocean? Avengers should be investigating. Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner) using a huge arrow in the middle of New York? You ask questions. As for Moon Knight’s finale, it wouldn’t have been a stretch to call in Doctor Strange.
The Avengers’ intervention doesn’t have to be similar to Doctor Strange 2. Wong appeared in the middle of that fight because he saw what was happening. Or someone warned him. Or maybe he’s just helicoptering when it comes to Strange. Then again, Wong let Strange perform that spell in No Way Home, so he has plenty of independence.
We need an Avengers stand-in
But Avengers-related characters could appear after the events if the action happens too fast — like in Hawkeye and Moon Knight. Post-credits scenes also can help with that.
It’s up to Marvel to decide. Maybe we need a new Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson). Or a Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg) to stand in for the more expensive Avengers cameos.
But ignoring this issue will only lead to stories where the absence of Avengers heroes becomes a glaring plot hole. Let’s not forget that Marvel is painting the Avengers as hugely popular with regular people. Doctor Strange 2 is the latest proof of that. People love Strange and take pictures of him in restaurants. Hawkeye showed that people also right musicals about Avengers and cosplay on the street.
That’s to say there must be a way in the universe to call for the help of the Avengers. You know, a hotline or bat signal that goes off when unexplained, dangerous events happen. And people would surely use them to ask for help from the Avengers. Even if that help doesn’t come in time. After all, save for Wong and the sorcerers, the other Avengers can’t travel anywhere on a whim. Not even Wong and Strange can help in every situation. Superhero-ing is a full-time job that has its limitations.
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