Scarlet Witch Breaks An MCU Villain Rule In Doctor Strange 2

SPOILERS for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness
.,Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness designates the Scarlet Witch as its primary antagonist, as Elizabeth Olsen’s formidable magic-wielder redefines the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s portrait of villainy. Otherwise known by the name Wanda Maximoff, the Scarlet Witch appears in 
Multiverse of Madness having harnessed Chaos Magic and committed to reuniting with her sons Billy and Tommy in another universe following the events of
WandaVision. Influenced by the Darkhold book, Wanda pursues America Chavez (Xochitl Gomez) in
Doctor Strange 2 for her ability to travel the multiverse, as Doctor Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) strives to protect America and locate the Darkhold’s antithesis, the Book of Vishanti. The Scarlet Witch’s willingness to massacre those in her way superficially labels her as a villain, though beneath her brutality lies so much more.,Prefacing her transformation into the Scarlet Witch, Wanda’s backstory is plagued by trauma and grief. Orphaned in Sokovia at the age of 10 when their parents were killed by a series of bombings, Wanda and her twin brother Pietro later joined HYDRA — who experimented on their superhuman abilities and augmented Wanda’s powers using the Mind Stone. Wanda and Pietro entered the MCU as antagonists in
Avengers: Age of Ultron, united with the genocidal robot Ultron on their disdain for Tony Stark. The twins switched sides upon learning of Ultron’s ill intentions and fought with the Avengers, though at the cost of Pietro’s life. Wanda then began a romance with Vision, which ended devastatingly. The events of 
Avengers: Infinity War forced Wanda to destroy the Mind Stone embedded in Vision’s head to keep it from Thanos. Although Wanda fell victim to Thanos’ Snap, she returned five years later in
Avengers: Endgame, joining the decisive battle against the Mad Titan. Alone with her grief, Wanda then created a makeshift reality in Westview, complete with Vision and their children. Upon learning of the pain her subjugation inflicted upon the town’s residents, Wanda dismantled the anomaly. At 
WandaVision‘s culmination, Wanda recovered the Darkhold from Agatha Harkness and fulfilled her destiny as the Scarlet Witch — an immeasurably powerful mythical being prophesized in the book.,Related: Why Scarlet Witch Is So Different In Doctor Strange 2 From WandaVision,Enduring one tragedy after another, Wanda lives in the gray area between hero and villain and is primarily motivated by her individual desires rather than a lust for power. The MCU’s definition of a villain varies, with one-dimensional madmen like
Iron Man 3‘s Aldrich Killian and 
Black Widow‘s General Dreykov coexisting with more sympathetic and nuanced antagonists such as Thanos, Loki, The Winter Soldier,
Black Panther‘s Erik Killmonger, and 
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings‘ Wenwu. In
Doctor Strange 2, the Scarlet Witch breaks Marvel’s longstanding rule that a villain stays a villain, even if their motivations are just. By shining a light on Wanda’s individuality and the unfair judgment of her character,
Multiverse of Madness cements the Scarlet Witch in a league of her own within the realm of MCU villains.,Created by the demon Chthon, the Darkhold contains dark magic spells that amplify the powers and
“corrupt” the morality of its reader. While Wanda has studied the Darkhold for some time when
Multiverse of Madness begins, Strange succumbs to its corruption when faced with a version of himself that safeguards the book. After defeating this variant, Strange uses the Darkhold to conjure the Souls of the Damned and dream-walk into a corpse of himself to save America from the Scarlet Witch.,In
Multiverse of Madness, the Darkhold symbolizes the temptation to control what normally falls outside of one’s control. Wanda has been dealt one bad hand after another and saw those close to her perish under gut-wrenching circumstances. Armed with the ability to alter reality to her liking, the Scarlet Witch sees no reason not to pursue the happiness that was taken from her by dream-walking into herself in Earth-838, where her children exist. The Scarlet Witch and Doctor Strange resemble two immensely powerful magic-wielders with pasts defined by personal turmoil, as 
Multiverse of Madness pits its central characters as foils. Wanda has already given into her malevolent side and resolved to escape her desolate reality, while Strange ponders his happiness and reckons with his failed relationship with Christine Palmer (Rachel McAdams). All in all,
Multiverse of Madness explores the question of whether giving in to one’s darkest desires is worth the larger cost — in this case, wreaking havoc on the multiverse.,A literal interpretation of
Doctor Strange 2 might conclude that Wanda and the Scarlet Witch are two entirely separate entities and that the Darkhold is solely responsible for the character’s immoral deeds. In fact, 
Multiverse of Madness features the line,
“It won’t be Wanda that comes for [America]. It will be the Scarlet Witch,” while Strange
 later declares that 
“Wanda’s gone.” In actuality, the Darkhold hardly commands Wanda’s wrongdoing — it merely augments her grief to the point of action.
 The Darkhold’s corruption in
Doctor Strange 2 metaphorically illustrates Wanda’s acceptance of villainy for the sake of her children. This noticeably differs from the evil of Bucky Barnes, who became the Winter Soldier due to HYDRA’s brainwashing. For the Scarlet Witch, there exists a profound agency in both her adoption of the Darkhold and her ensuing bloodshed, as she believes death and destruction justify her need to reunite with Billy and Tommy.,Related: Is Elizabeth Olsen’s Marvel Contract Over? Will Scarlet Witch Return?,One of
Multiverse of Madness‘ most compelling lines of dialogue follows Strange’s request for Wanda’s assistance in protecting America. After unveiling her true intentions, Wanda declares, 
“You break the rules and become a hero. I do it and I become the enemy. That doesn’t seem fair.” The hypocrisy she references targets Strange’s decision to relinquish the Time Stone to Thanos in
Infinity War, enabling the Mad Titan to erase half the universe’s population — which Strange deemed the Avengers’ only chance of victory. While her mission begets a death toll, Wanda, like Strange before her, believes the end justifies her means. Strange’s hypocrisy extends to 
Multiverse of Madness, as his engagement with the
 Darkhold results in an incursion and his lasting corruption. Concurrently, the Scarlet Witch reverses course and eradicates the Darkhold from every reality. The film essentially proves Wanda right, as Strange is branded as the film’s hero, yet in the end, he’s the one who arguably inflicts more destruction.,Multiverse of Madness defines the Scarlet Witch’s perceived villainy as a product of the hypocrisy surrounding her character. Strange carries a hero’s reputation. However, in every reality explored, he defies morality by using the Darkhold or inflicting destruction upon the universe in the name of a just end. Elsewhere in the MCU, Tony Stark aka Iron Man began as a billionaire war profiteer who later created Ultron, then coerced a teenage Peter Parker into fighting his war against Steve Rodgers in
Captain America: Civil War. Yet, Stark never endured proper repercussions, as the Avengers’ leader was eventually hailed a hero for giving up his life to defeat Thanos. It’s astounding that the MCU villainizes Wanda for less. Strange’s request for Wanda’s help reeks of insincerity. Like the vast majority of the MCU’s heroes, Strange fails to acknowledge Wanda’s well-being and instead aims to exploit her power. After being used by others for her entire life, Wanda finally establishes her authority in
Multiverse of Madness. The Scarlet Witch’s villain arc generates from her observation of those around her breaking the rules without consequence. The glaring hypocrisy is that she’s the one vilified for it.,Multiverse of Madness proves that Wanda’s sinister turn still doesn’t reduce her to a villain stereotype — unlike the MCU’s most complex antagonists. For instance, a combination of personal vengeance and systemic oppression corrupts Killmonger, however, his insistence on sparking a global war diminishes Killmonger into a threat for T’Challa to neutralize. In the case of Loki, one can easily sympathize with his distraught upbringing, but his quest for universal rule is hardly a rational response. Similarly, Thanos deliberately eradicates billions, which, regardless of his unfortunate past, is impossible to justify. Finally, Wenwu’s arc resembles Wanda’s in that his villainy stems from grief. However, Shang-Chi’s father commanded the Ten Rings organization as a brutal warlord and conqueror long before his wife’s death drove him to recklessness.,As a means to render its villains irredeemable, Marvel often employs the trope of an egomaniacal mass murderer who pursues some form of large-scale authority. The Scarlet Witch’s MCU story deviates from this archetype, as she exists as both a hero and villain depending on her motivations at any given point. As do the aforementioned characters, Wanda seeks control. She acknowledges that, as the Scarlet Witch, she can rule everything, but doesn’t want to. Wanda’s despair leaves her in search of nothing more than a better life in which she’s surrounded by people she loves. Massacring Kamar-Taj and slaughtering five of the six Illuminati members aren’t exactly commendable actions, but they didn’t transpire before the Scarlet Witch advised those in her way to stand down. Wanda only seeks control over her own life — something rarely afforded to her. Her ambiguity exists nowhere else in the MCU, as, regardless of their complexity, Marvel villains never defy this label. Although Wanda is no more or less human than the aforementioned characters, her arc comes across as more authentic than any MCU antagonist before her.,Related: Marvel’s WandaVision Season 2 Plan Avoids Ruining Scarlet Witch’s Story,Olsen’s Scarlet Witch wavering between hero and villain not only serves as a fascinating character study but also compels audiences to identify with her either way because she exhibits a nuanced psyche that doesn’t simplify to lusting for world domination. In the end, Wanda’s humanity drove her to commit immoral deeds and take accountability for them. As a grieving mother, she was human enough to pursue her children and human enough to stop herself — which proves that she, unlike other MCU villains, possesses the compassion and self-awareness to recognize her own villainy and rescue herself from complete ruin.,Doctor Strange 2‘s character work using the multiverse reinforces the idea that no one knows one better than oneself. Through meeting their variants, Wanda and Strange see themselves how others see them, which teaches them to let go of the past and accept their imperfect lives. While the Scarlet Witch witnesses the love her alternate children have for their mother, Strange confronts the fact that his variants have all committed horrible deeds of selfishness — both of which lead them to their respective endings. More specifically, the Scarlet Witch’s arc sees Wanda become her own hero. The scene in which Earth-838’s Wanda comforts a devastated Scarlet Witch after witnessing Billy and Tommy’s terrified reaction to her illustrates how only Wanda herself, possessed the strength and compassion to overcome the Darkhold. Essentially, Wanda realizes her misstep and accepts accountability upon looking in the mirror.,Typically, the resolution to such a conflict would involve another character physically defeating the Scarlet Witch or talking her out of villainy, but Marvel fittingly manifests Wanda as the hero of her own journey by reflecting her identity as an outsider that few people understand. Now that every confidant of hers is gone, Wanda only stops in her tracks when her variant assures her that the children will be loved. None of Strange, America, Wong and the Illuminati are strong enough to defeat Wanda or free her from the Darkhold’s corruption. Wanda must act as the film’s true hero by destroying the book. The MCU’s handling of Wanda following 
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness will be crucial, as her journey with accountability warrants healing from both her grief and the harm she has caused. Whether she reappears in the MCU as a hero or villain, Wanda is poised to follow a captivating arc after all she has endured.,Next: How Scarlet Witch’s Doctor Strange 2 Fate Sets Up Agatha Harkness’ MCU Show