Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness must have had one of the most anticipated and discussed arrivals in years, aside from Infinity War and Endgame. This movie led us into the multiverse with the horror atmosphere that Sam Raimi is known for and the adaptability of bringing heroes to other genres that the Marvel Cinematic Universe has worked hard to build.
Again, SPOILERS AHEAD.
Now that you know I’m going to spoil this, let us consider the goals and focus of the villain, namely Wanda Maximov, or rather, the Scarlet Witch. She wasn’t just a hero who has gone off the path, she was willing to destroy lives to get what she wanted with no concern for how many people she killed. This is, it turns out, a result of her being corrupted as she used the Darkhold, which seems to be a source for many dangers. While we first saw it in Agents of Shield, the book really came into prominence for the MCU in WandaVision. That photo above isn’t just a variant, that is the Wanda we saw in WandaVision and first met in The Avengers: Age of Ultron.
It seems that in her isolation after the events in Westview, Wanda has continually used the book which has led to her gaining the role of The Scarlet Witch as Agatha had foreseen. Interestingly, Agatha could have taken the Darkhold and ran. She could have seen what Wanda might be turning into and left town. Instead she kept messing with Wanda and even led her to the book that turned her into the Scarlet Witch.
Her motive also comes straight out of WandaVision. In the middle of her reality bending grief, Wanda had created two sons out of thin air; giving birth to them after a dangerously speedy pregnancy. These kids were great kids. She was understandably crazy about them and after so much loss, who can blame her? When she ended the spell/reality she had created, the boys were lost along with her idealized Vision.
With the Darkhold in hand and her grief of losing both Vision and her sons, after years of building grief and losing family over and over, she chose the corruption of the book because she wanted to get her boys back. She became obsessed with them to the point that she was willing to destroy and kill in order to gain the power to travel to another universe for the purpose of regaining the kids. She didn’t care that she would have to kill their real mom. She didn’t even consider that they might see her fight and kill their real mom.
There is a recurring lie out there about life that seeped into her soul. If I don’t have X, I am not complete. X equals a job. X equals a spouse. X equals a house. X equals… I doubt any human has not been affected by this. We all want to feel complete. We all want wholeness. We all dream of certain relationships or certain experiences.
In WandaVision we got to walk with Wanda in her grief. But in Multiverse of Madness we find her deprived of her ability to love by the corruption of this book. It took natural desires and twisted them. Isn’t that how sin works? It takes our natural desires and corrupts them with egotistical intent.
If you are married, you know your spouse can’t complete you, even if they are wonderful and amazing. If you own a house you know there is always more work to do. If you have a job, you know that you still need something outside of work. How many relationships were lost because the job was more important? How many marriages killed by unattainable expectations?
Wholeness can not be given to us by any of these. We were created by a God who loves us. This God designed a world we live in. He designed a route of salvation for us that included a painful death as a sacrifice to cleanse us of sin. He is our wholeness.
Jesus expressed this in some of his I Am… statements.
I am the Bread of Life.
I am Living Water.
I am the Good Shepherd.
I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
He never promised we would not desire anything. He didn’t necessarily say we would always feel great. In fact, John 16:33 says he warned us that “in this world are many troubles…” but than said “take heart, for I have overcome the world.”
One might ask, How do you know this Jesus really does all this? I have always wanted a wife. At the time of this writing, I have not been on a date for years. Jesus walks with me in my pain. He, along with pastoral counseling and help of others, has helped me heal. I still have rough moments. I still have difficult days when I want a wife and feel the loss. But Jesus is here with me.
Through Christ you can be a better family member. Through Christ you can be a better employee. Through Christ you can realize that the qualities held by the family do more to build a home than a physical building.
Along with that, through Christ you can heal from loss with effective grief. Through Christ you can navigate the pain of a life that lacks these needs. He can even give you peace in the middle of these longings. Not a peace based on feelings or circumstances, but one based on Christ Himself.
The Scarlet Witch did not see how horrible she was until the children she wanted were scared of her. She didn’t know her own depravity until they showed it to her in their own fear. After she saw this depravity, she chose to end the book she had been corrupted by. She chose to destroy the place of it’s creation, even risking her own life, to keep such terror from continuing to destroy. I pray you find direction from Christ before you have to see terror from your own actions.
Even if you have already been a Scarlet Witch, Jesus can help you change. He can help you change your habits and motivations. He isn’t just a ticket to Heaven, but a mentor here on Earth. Imagine if Wanda had sought out Doctor Strange or another mentor after the events in Westfield. How might this have been a different story?