Doctor Strange 2 is out in cinemas right now, and it’s a heckuva wild ride. Fair warning: you will need to do a bit of Marvel MCU homework to catch up and get the plot bits of the film, like tuning in to shows like WandaVision and Marvel’s What If?
You definitely won’t be bored watching the film this weekend during the Hari Raya holiday period. With that said, here are the explanations of what’s going on in the film provided you’ve watched and are still confused. Spoiler warning, of course, because we will be talking about the major bits of the film, all the way to how it ends. This is your last warning.
How Many Doctors Are There In The Film?
three four versions of Doctor Strange.
The first one has a ponytail. He helps out America Chavez at the start of the film. He ends up betraying her, taking her multiverse-hopping powers but ends up getting killed by the demon. His body ends up being in the MCU 616 Universe and will be important later.
The second Doctor Strange is the title character. You met him in the first Doctor Strange movie.
The third one is in Earth 838 and is part of the Illuminati. We’ll talk about those bits later.
The fourth Doctor Strange is NOT the one from Marvel’s What If?: Strange Supreme/Dark Strange, though he is kinda similar. This Dark Strange has the Darkhold book and is corrupted by it. And he also killed other Doctor Stranges in alternate universes trying to find happiness via a new Christine. He also spawns a third eye thanks to the Darkhold’s influence. He’s obsessed with having a happy life with Christine Palmer, to the point where he would barter with 616 Doctor Strange for this.
Wait, Did You Say 616 Universe?
Yes, this is the first time the MCU main universe is officially dubbed the 616 universe in the movies.
The universe that Doctor Strange ends up Multiverse-hopping in with America Chavez when escaping from the big bad is called 838.
Who is the Big Bad in Doctor Strange 2?
It’s ex-Avenger Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch. After what she’s gone through in Avengers: Infinity War (killing Vision for the greater good) and WandaVision (using magic to create a new reality where Vision is alive and she has two children), as well as possessing a dark sorcery book called the Darkhold that is corrupting her, the natural progression story-wise is to have her be the antagonist who just wants to go to a reality where she can be with her two kids Tommy and Billy.
In Doctor Strange 2, she literally kills people and sorcerers just to get America Chavez’s multiverse-hopping powers. And yes, Doctor Strange add in a quick joke about her not being on an Avengers lunchbox for being this evil.
The Darkhold is a magic spellbook with dark magic spells and sorcery held by Agatha Harkness (WandaVision). Wanda Maximoff has possession of it in WandaVision and now in Doctor Strange 2. It made her crazy, more or less. It also corrupted Dark Strange; more on how that panned out later.
What About Baron Mordo?
Oh, he’s the new Sorcerer Supreme in the 838 universe when 838 Doctor Strange sacrificed himself to save his universe from Thanos. He greets 616 Doctor Strange and America Chavez, then drugs them with sleep-inducing tea (oldest supervillain trick in the book) to cart them away to the Illuminati, who reside in what may be the BAXTER building.
Yes, THE same BAXTER building where science stuff is done in all other facets of the Marvel universe.
Wait, How Did Doctor Strange And America Chavez Ended Up In the 838 Universe?
By accident. America freaks out, creates star portals, and escapes Scarlet Witch during her assault in Kamar-Taj.
How Is Scarlet Witch Going To Capture America If She’s In Another Multiverse?
This is when Scarlet Witch uses the technique called Dreamwalking where a being of magic powers can use a source like the Darkhold to possess a counterpart in another multiverse; like how one controls a puppet in another place remotely to do stuff far out of your reach. 616 Scarlet Witch possesses 838 Wanda Maximoff, who has her own kids by the by which triggers 616 Scarlet Witch to really want to go through with her vengeful mission, and heads off to find America.
How Many Versions Of Christine Palmer Are There In This Film?
Two: one in the 616 who is happily married to some guy who claims to be a big fan of Doctor Strange.
There is also a 838 version of Christine Palmer who works as a scientist from the BAXTER foundation who also knows how magic relics and MCU magic works. She also had a thing with Doctor Strange before that got, well, enstranged.
She also fixed Doctor Strange’s magic cloak, which got a burnt patch during the fight with Scarlet Witch.
The Illuminati: Are They Real?
Yes, they are, and they have their own army of Ultron robots too.
The 838 Universe Illuminati consists of Baron Mordo (above),
Captain Carter (Hailey Atwell),
Captain Marvel, the Monica Rambeau version (Lashana Lynch),
Black Bolt of the Inhumans (Anson Mount),
Dr. Reed Richards/Mr. Fantastic (John “Jim Halper” Krasinki), also the guy who runs the BAXTER Building,
…and Charles Xavier/Professor X of the X-Men (Patrick Stewart), complete with a short-but-sweet orchestral remix of the 1992 X-Men: Animated Series theme song. It should also be mentioned that both Mr. Fantastic and Professor X’s reveals received the biggest cheers and pops in the cinema we were in. Professor X was also on his hyper-sleek futuristic wheelchair like in the comics and ’92 series!
The Illuminati are hosting a trial to judge 616 Doctor Strange, who said they were just in 838 by accident and were escaping from Scarlet Witch. The Illuminati, formed by 838 Doctor Strange, had to judge 616 Doctor Strange because they concluded that all Doctor Stranges have tampered with forces beyond their control. This is evident with 838 Doctor Strange who used the Darkhold to dreamwalk onto different multiverses. He caused an Incursion in one of them, which is a catastrophe where the world’s reality and the interloper’s reality gets messed up (from something powerful like a dreamwalk) and cannot be fixed. Thus, both worlds become ruined. To prevent this, they have to put 616 Doctor Strange in magic-dampening cuffs and judge him.
As for 838 Doctor Strange? He managed to get the Book of Vishanti to defeat Thanos. However, his Darkhold multiverse tampering didn’t go unpunished; he had Black Bolt kill him with his powerful voice as judgment for his magic crimes.
SPEAKING OF DARKHOLD, WHAT HAPPENED TO IT?
The book gets destroyed halfway. After interrogating Sorcerer Supreme Wong (Benedict Wong), she finds out that the one she’s been using is a copy. The original spells being inscribed onto the walls of an ancient ruins located in the Wundagore Mountain. She gets Wong to teleport her there, brings him along as a hostage, and then ends up in a temple feature servants of Chthon.
What Is Chthon?
An evil elder god of Chaos in the comics; the first demon to walk the Earth in the MCU. Probably where all Chaos Magic and the Darkhold comes from. His servants look like big hulking black creatures that can shoot chaos magic; they help keep Scarlet Witch safe.
So Back To Scarlet Witch. Did She Find America?
Yes, in the Baxter building. But before she could approach her, she is accosted by the Illuminati. They tried stopping her, but her reality-altering magic is too much for the group. She killed Black Bolt, Mr. Fantastic, Captain Carter, Captain Marvel, and Professor X in pretty gruesome but PG-13 fashion.
Black Bolt got his mouth removed and accidentally kills himself with his voice, Mr Fantastic gets shredded to ribbons, Captain Carter gets sliced in half with her own shield, Captain Marvel gets depowered and crushed by a Doctor Strange monument statue, and Professor X gets his neck snapped by 616 Wanda while he’s in 838 Wanda’s mind.
So Marvel Just Introduced Old And New Heroes, And Just Killed Them Off Like That?
For shock value, yes. But rest assured, they’ll appear again albeit in different multiverse forms. This also confirms that Marvel and Disney are guaranteed hard at work on a Fantastic Four and X-Men project in the MCU universe. Which means we’ll eventually get an Avengers VS X-Men type movie thing in the far, far future…
…and we’ll finally see long-lost Fantastic Four villains be given the proper MCU treatment they deserve.
Back To The Plot. Let’s Wrap It Up
Doctor Strange and Dark Strange fight each other after Doctor Strange says “no” to trading 838 Christine for Dark Strange’s Darkhold. A pretty cool battle involving bringing musical notes to life happens. Doctor Strange won, pushing Dark Strange out of the window and getting impaled by the fences outside his Supreme Sanctorium in Dark Strange’s messed-up Incursion-filled world.
Doctor Strange uses Darkhold magic to use Dreamwalk on the dead ponytail Doctor Strange’s corpse back in the 616 universe, so that he can rescue America Chavez and stop Scarlet Witch. Possessing the corpse means dealing with dark spirits that can literally guilt users to death, but 838 Christine helped and Doctor Strange can now command the dead spirits. The corpse and spirits managed to incapacitate Scarlet Witch, and Doctor Strange convinces America that he won’t sacrifice and absorb her powers like ponytail Strange. Instead, he insists that she believes in her powers.
She does, and ends up using her star portals to bring her to the 838 universe to make 616 Scarlet Witch guilty, as 838 Wanda’s children are now terrified of her. She regrets her actions, gets everyone to flee from the temple, and destroys the whole place, having it collapse onto her and ponytail Strange’s corpse. By destroying the Darkhold source, she destroys all copies of the Darkhold in other multiverses.
Doctor Strange, Wong, 838 Christine, and America escape and head back to their respective universes. All’s well that ends well, thanks to wise words from Wong to Doctor Strange to just be content with the hand you’re dealt with because having kickass superpowers and helping lives is pretty awesome. America Chavez is also a student at the Kamar Taj.
Also, Doctor Strange ends up growing a third eye, probably due to the Darkhold magic that’s now residing in his being. And Baron Mordo is trapped in magic-dampening handcuffs back in the 838 universe like a bitch.
What Is The Obligatory Mid-Credits Scene?
A sorceress in purple getup played by Charlize Theron meets up with Doctor Strange in the middle of New York and asks for his aid. He accepts and gets ready his magic cloak and third eye to head off into what looks like Dormammu’s realm in the first Doctor Strange movie.
Who Is Charlize Theron Playing In The MCU?
A sorceress named Clea. In the comics, she’s a Sorcerer Supreme of the Dark Dimension. She also ends up taking the mantle of Doctor Strange Sorcerer Supreme when he died in the comic universe.
This is a Sam Raimi movie. Where Is Evil Dead actor Bruce Campbell?
He plays a pizza ball seller who resides in the 838 universe. He pissed off Doctor Strange, and ends up being cursed to slap himself for 3 weeks straight. He also made an appearance at the post-credits scene as a punchline, so to speak.