The best and worst moments from 'Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness,' ranked


Wanda, Doctor Strange 2
Wanda had many of the movie's best scenes.

  • Warning: There are spoilers ahead for "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness."

  • Insider ranked the best and worst moments in the "Doctor Strange" sequel.

  • Zombie Strange and the Illuminati reveals and deaths were all some of the film's best and worst moments.



Best — Bruce Campbell being introduced as Pizza Poppa
Bruce Campbell holds a microphone on stage.
Long live the Pizza Poppa.

Campbell has had cameos in all of director Sam Raimi's films. Fans waiting to see how the "Evil Dead" star would pop up in "Multiverse of Madness" likely weren't disappointed. 


Campbell played the owner of a food cart, hilariously named Pizza Poppa, who chases down Doctor Strange and America Chavez for stealing some food. In a nod to "Evil Dead II," Strange places a spell on the Pizza Poppa that causes Campbell's character to attack himself repeatedly for three weeks.


Even if you didn't care for the film's final end-credits sequence, which featured the return of Pizza Poppa to close out the movie, you have to admit it was a very clever way for Raimi to pay homage to his earlier work.



Worst — Doctor Strange's classical music showdown with his darker variant
Doctor Strange 2 music fight
Only someone as arrogant as Strange would use something as highbrow as classical music to engage in a battle to the death.

Near the film's end, Doctor Strange and his darker, more sinister variant engaged in a perfectly pompous battle of wits to the tune of classical music.


The concept of combining Beethoven's "Symphony No. 5 in C minor" and Bach's "Toccata And Fugue in D minor" into a track titled "Lethal Symphonies" sounds like a composer's dream. 


Though a wildly fun piece by composer Danny Elfman that likely left music aficionados salivating, the scene's inclusion felt incredibly random. Such a track could've appeared in nearly any Marvel movie. Here, it comes across as little more than a cool idea someone had.


According to Elfman, the musical fight was a late addition from director Sam Raimi. Elfman admitted he didn't initially understand what Raimi wanted.


"I said, 'Sam, honestly, I have no idea what the hell you're talking about. It doesn't make any sense to me at all,'" Elfman told ComicBook.com.


Perhaps, the battle was supposed to highlight Strange's higher intellect and former life as an elite member of society. But it felt odd that this battle relied so heavily on specific musical notes.


Strange needed to have a deep knowledge of sheet music in order to succeed in this battle against himself and that's never been established in the Marvel Cinematic Universe other than the glimpse of him owning a piano in 2016's "Doctor Strange." Are we to presume that the Master of the Mystic Arts and one of the world's previous best surgeons was also a skilled musician?



Best — Doctor Strange briefly entraps Wanda in a mirrored room full of illusions
Doctor Strange 2 Wanda mirrors
This is the only moment in "Multiverse of Madness" that comes close to the mind-bending M.C. Escher-inspired moments of 2016's "Doctor Strange."

Early in the film, Doctor Strange briefly traps Wanda (Elizabeth Olsen) in a room encased in endless reflections that slightly resembled a funhouse mirror room. The more Wanda engaged with the room, the more it fought back against her until she found a clever way out using puddles.


This wound up being the film's most visually stunning and trippy moment.



Worst — Doctor Strange, America Chavez, and Christine Palmer abruptly stop running from the Scarlet Witch in a tunnel
From left: Doctor Strange, America Chavez, and Christine Palmer in "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness."
This scene played out for a few beats too long.

One of the most frustrating moments of "Multiverse of Madness" occurs as the trio attempt to outrun Wanda. After getting past a blast door, the three stop for an extended period of time. This baffling moment lingered for a few beats too long in the movie until Wanda was allowed to catch up.


During an opening night showing I attended, the scene resulted in an audience member yelling out, "Keep going," receiving some laughter from the crowd.



Best — Strange and America fly through over a dozen universes
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness multiverses
This sequence was visually delightful, but we wished we spent more time in other universes.

"Multiverse of Madness" teases multiple other universes in a dizzying sequence that showed animated and paint forms of our protagonists. It's one of the sequences that fans will want to watch slowed down when the film eventually comes to Blu-ray. 


The only complaint here is that we didn't get to spend more time in some of these alternate realities.



Worst — Killing off John Krasinski's Reed Richards
fantastic four marvel comics john krasinski
John Krasinski played Mister Fantastic in "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness," briefly.

Fans had hoped to see Krasinski appear on screen as the Fantastic Four leader for years. It was largely unsatisfying for fans to feel seen and heard only to watch as the Scarlet Witch shredded the character apart like string cheese minutes later. 


In part, it made the cameo feel like a knock to fans who waited to see the character on screen. Hopefully, this isn't the last time we'll see Krasinski in the role.



Best - Wanda absolutely destroying a group of superheroes
Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda in "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness."
This is a moment that Elizabeth Olsen has been waiting years to see on screen.

We may have problems with the deaths of some of the Marvel characters and the brutal fashion in which they were taken out, but there's no denying that it wasn't amazing to see Scarlet Witch unleash her full potential. The Xavier death scene in particular, though horrifying, was aesthetically unlike anything we've ever seen in the MCU, making it an instantly memorable scene.


Years ago, when promoting "Avengers: Age of Ultron," Elizabeth Olsen told a reporter that she would've loved to see a version of Marvel's "House of M" comic story play out on screen where Wanda had two fake children and then slaughtered members of the Marvel Universe. She never thought that it would come to fruition though because she deemed the story too dark.


It's satisfying that Olsen's wish was finally fulfilled to some extent. However, it would've been more impactful to see Wanda take out the lives of MCU characters we've grown to love over the years.



Worst — The death of Captain Carter
agent carter hayley atwell
Hayley Atwell reprised her role as Peggy Carter in "Doctor Strange 2."

Fans waited years to see Hayley Atwell play a live-action version of the alternate Captain America character.


Giving fans, and female fans, the hero they wanted for about 10 minutes before slicing her in half with her own shield felt like a slap to loyal fans who have wanted to see more female superhero representation on screen.



Best — Zombified Doctor Strange takes control of the souls of the damned to fight off Wanda
Doctor Strange 2, zombified Strange
You have to admit that this visual was pretty cool.

Early in the sequel, Wong says that a Master of the Mystic Arts can't get all the way to Wundagore mountain solo. Pairing a zombified, ponytail Strange with demonic souls to fly off to the sacred location was visually cool, but also thoughtful in terms of solving a narrative dilemma where Strange would've been stranded otherwise.


It was too bad this reveal was spoiled early on in some trailers.



Worst — Charles Xavier's death
X-Men Professor X
Sir Patrick Stewart as Professor X in the "X-Men" movies.

Sir Patrick Stewart told Variety he "was a little unsure" about reprising his role as the X-Men leader after 2017's "Logan" gave his character a proper send-off.


Stewart's return to screen elicited one of the largest in-theater reactions during an opening weekend screening I attended. Clearly, fans were eager to see the actor back in a beloved role. Much like Captain Carter and Reed Richards, it felt odd to see Stewart bring the character back to life once more, just to see him killed off in a brutal fashion minutes later. 


Whereas "Logan" gave Stewart a beautiful, heartfelt death, the "Multiverse of Madness" script violently tore his face in half. 


Though Stewart hinted to Variety that this may not be the final time we see him in the MCU, his appearance in the film almost felt like a giant ad for Disney+'s upcoming animated series "X-Men '97."



Best — Alternate reality Wanda shows a moment of compassion towards the Scarlet Witch
Scarlet Witch vs Wanda in Doctor Strange 2
Wanda shares a tender moment with her variant.

Instead of striking down the Scarlet Witch for making her murder the Illuminati and trying to steal her sons, Earth-838 Wanda sees a heartbroken, grief-stricken woman and empathizes with her.


Wanda shows a moment of tenderness by gently touching the Scarlet Witch's face, looking into her eyes, and letting her know that their twin sons, Billy and Tommy, will be loved. 


It was one of the sole moments in the movie that felt like it truly acknowledged and understood Wanda's pain.


If this moment didn't make you teary-eyed, then you may not have a soul.



Worst — Wanda brings down the Darkhold fortress with herself trapped inside
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, Wanda at Darkhold fortress
Wanda's likely not dead, but the film left the fan-favorite in a precarious situation.

The film's end makes viewers think that Wanda sacrificed her own life in order to destroy the Darkhold (aka the Book of the Damned) in every multiverse. 


Wanda's likely not dead (she's one of the most powerful characters in the MCU), but it felt like a disservice to fans — and female fans, especially — to see every character in the film get a proper resolution except for the motherly figure who was hurting the entire film.


After Disney+'s "WandaVision" handled grief and loss so delicately, "Multiverse of Madness" did more harm than good for female viewers.


The sequel alienated women who may have difficulty childbearing or who have suffered the loss of a child by showcasing a mourning mother as little more than a crazed, vengeful woman who will murder anyone in her sight to try and recapture the children she lost.


While Wanda's alternate self showed her kindness, the film's ambiguous ending with Wanda possibly deciding she's better off dead sends a rather bleak message, suggesting that there's something wrong with having that pain in the first place.



Best — The Illuminati reveal
Doctor Strange 2 Illuminati reveal
This moment received the largest cheers in theaters.

The cheers throughout this entire scene as Captain Carter, Black Bolt, Captain Marvel, Reed Richards, and Professor X were all revealed one by one were probably so loud that you likely couldn't hear some of the dialogue said on screen.


That's why it was such a blow to see these characters killed off one by one moments later, almost in comical fashion.




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