Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness just dropped this week in Philippine cinemas.
The film is the 18th installment of the MCU, and a lot has happened in the events leading up to the unraveling of the multiverse.
Before you dive right into the latest MCU flick, it will be very helpful to watch or revisit some key Marvel films and shows.
Doctor Strange (2016)
While he’s appread in various MCU films, it’s been six years since Doctor Stephen Strange’s last stand-alone movie.
In the original movie released in 2016, we followed the brilliant but arrogant neurosurgeon played by Benedict Cumberbatch who journeyed to Kamar-Taj where he was trained by the Ancient One in the ways of Magic and the Mutliverse.
A handful of characters reprise their roles from the original film, including Karl Mordo, Wong, Nicodemus West, and Christine Palmer.
In case you want a refresher on these characters and their relationship to Stephen Strange, you might want to rewatch the first movie again.
Along with Doctor Strange, Wanda Maximoff played by Elizabeth Olsen, plays an extremely crucial role in the film.
Her character was first introduced in Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014) and went on to appear in numerous MCU films including Avengers: Infinity War (2018) and Avengers: Endgame (2019), where she begins a romantic relationship with Vision.
Wanda loses Vision to Thanos before disintegrating in the event known as The Blip, but is restored to life five years later and transported via portal to the destroyed Avengers Compound to join the final battle against an alternate timeline version of Thanos and his army.
But it’s only her lead role in the miniseries WandaVision, released in 2021 where viewers get a real sense of just how powerful she really is.
WandaVision kickstarted Phase 4 of the MCU, and tells the story of Wanda and Vision living a simple suburban life in various sitcom scenarios. The series also introduces twin sons Billy and Tommy, who make an appearance in Multiverse of Madness.
The series dives deep into Wanda’s origin story and shows her evolution into The Scarlet Witch, who is prophesied to be even more powerful than the Sorcerer Supreme.
If you haven’t watched WandaVision on Disney Plus yet, it is absolutely essential that you do in order to empathize with her story arc and understand her motivations leading into the Doctor Strange sequel.
But in case you have no time to binge on the nine-episode series, you might want to check out the ultimate 30-minute recap below.
Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021)
The last time we saw Stephen Strange on screen was in Spider-Man: No Way Home alongside Tom Holland’s Peter Parker.
In the film, the multiverse explains how other versions of Peter Parker and villains from previous non-MCU movies can exist alongside the current MCU, and sets the stage for future crossovers.
The Doctor Strange sequel dives deep into the multiverse, and No Way Home is one of the most fun movies that will make viewers appreciate and understand the concept of how the multiverse works and its role in the MCU.
The Spidey filck also directly sets the stage for the Doctor Strange sequel, with a key scene in the sequel seen in No Way Home's end-credits.
While the show’s events don’t really directly impact the events in the Doctor Strange sequel, the Loki miniseries can give viewers a better understanding of the concept of the multiverse.
Loki starring Tom Hiddleston focuses heavily on the concept of the multiverse, revealing that the Time Variance Authority has been trying to fix various timelines in order to flatten the multiverse into a single thread (aka, the Marvel Cinematic Universe).
The entire series takes place after the events of the film Avengers: Endgame (2019) in which an alternate version of Loki created a new timeline.
Loki shows how Marvel’s superheroes and villains all have various versions of themselves spread out across different universes, which is also explored in the Doctor Strange sequel.
The Loki series actually ends with the unleashing of an uncontrollable multiverse with alternate timelines.
What If? (2021)
For hardcore fans, Marvel’s animated series What If? also offers valuable insights into the multiverse.
The animated anthology series explores alternate timelines in the multiverse that show what would happen if major moments from the MCU films occurred differently.
In case you don’t have time to watch the entire animated series, there are a couple of key episodes you might want to check out.
Episode 4: What If… Doctor Strange Lost His Heart Instead of His Hands? is set in an alternate reality, where Strange’s motivation for learning the mystic arts is due to Christine Palmer (Rachel McAdams) dying in a car accident and trying to bring her back to life.
Fans might also want to check out Episode 5: What If… Zombies?! just because of the appearance of certain variants in the Doctor Strange sequel trailer.
So now that you've caught up with all those Marvel movies and shows, you're ready for a cinematic experieence of the year.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is now showing in Philippine cinemas nationwide.