Viewers of Spider-Man: No Way Home know that Doctor Strange was integral to the movie’s plot. But weirdly, it did seem like the movie insulted Doctor Strange in some pretty significant ways.
We know that No Way Home tied the previous two Spiderman movie franchises together due to a faulty reality-changing spell by Doctor Strange. This led to the villains of Spider-Man’s past along with the other Spidermen appearing. However, the movie wasn’t entirely respectful of the way Doctor Strange got characterized in the previous film, and there are two instances where he is pretty much greatly disrespected. Let us check those moments out.
When Peter’s life gets turned upside down due to Mysterio outing his secret identity, Peter Parker seeks Doctor Strange’s help in trying to make everyone forget that he’s Spider-Man. But in his haste to save his and his friend’s lives, Peter failed to mention the names of several people who he still wanted to remember his dual identities. This led to the reality-altering and multiverse melding conflict in No Way Home.
Peter disagreed with Strange about how to handle the five multiverse supervillains. During this argument, Peter subdued Strange, took his sling ring, and gave it to his friend Ned Leeds, who then used it to summon Andrew and Tobey’s Spiderman variants. Doctor Strange was a necessary addition to No Way Home. But his decision to cast the reality-altering spell was pretty reckless in context, even if it was actually in character for him to use his powers to help someone in need.
When he got defeated in the mirror dimension, it showcased Peter’s intelligence, but in the process, it made Doctor Strange look weak. Now Ned’s use of Strange’s sling ring led to the most anticipated moment of No Way Home finally happening. But it cheapened Strange’s origin shown in the 2016 movie.
We know that Strange would use his powers to help Spider-Man, but the circumstances of the whole spell seemed reckless for the normally-pragmatic magician. He chastised Peter for never reaching out to MIT before opting for a reality-altering spell, but he never discussed the spell in detail with Parker before casting it. His haste, devil-may-care behavior, and lack of pre-planning seemed impulsive and out of character for the magician.
These moments cheapened Strange’s experience with the mystical arts and the years he took to become a master. Spider-Man’s quick thinking during the mirror dimension fight scene was a great demonstration of Peter’s brilliance. However, Strange should have been aware of Peter’s strategy even then. After all, Strange is intelligent too and has been studying the mystic arts for years.
Ned Leeds using the sling ring for the portals does fit The Ancient One’s advice for using magic- that one has to believe in it and ignore all of the other preconceived notions. But it also severely cheapens Strange’s years studying it in Kamar-Taj. These moments highlight the fact that the plot was given precedence over characterization.
No Way Home deserves all its accolades, but it should have been more careful and creative with Strange’s powers and abilities. This way, they would have been able to adhere to Strange’s characterization from the previous movies. Overall, in an otherwise fantastic film, Spider-Man: No Way Home does make insulting errors concerning Doctor Strange.
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