Ditto on finally getting chance to see it. I’ll just briefly rephrase what I said on Twitter and Letterboxd: I think I liked it (as in, I enjoyed it more than found it offputting), but it felt weird. There was something just off about the whole thing. I know Raimi replaced Derrickson partway through production and I have no idea how far along that previous version was in pre-production, so I don’t know if it’s that clash, or the obvious Raimi-ness clashing against the wider MCU tone. Broadly speaking, I don’t have any problem with the film going with Wanda as a villain, but I completely agree it was undersold. It was, kind of like you said, almost the worst of both worlds: nodding to WandaVision but not entirely reliant on it or following it? Very strange (no pun intended).
“Perhaps. But I don’t judge.”
So, as far as I can tell, the original original Derrickson version of what would become DSitMoM was almost completely different in plot (and was rejected by Marvel top brass), but even the second version was very different (Derrickson’s original interviews about it mentioned that it was going to explore “each definition of the word ‘madness’”, which doesn’t sound like what we got).
Waldron’s script was written, from scratch, after Derrickson’s departure, and the implication from a few interviews is that he was the source of the Wanda is now the villain from the start angle, even if other elements came from previous iterations of the pre-production work. Similarly, the Illuminati seem to be mostly due to Waldron… and together, that’s a big chunk of what happens in the final version of the movie!
Interesting! I had a read of the Wiki for it after posting the above and got the gist of some of that. A bit stuck out about Waldron deliberately “writing for Raimi’s strengths” which is an… interesting way of putting it. Some of the "Raimi"ness really worked for me (I particularly liked the musical note battle which I could totally see in an Evil Dead movie) but sometimes it bordered on a pastiche of his older, campier stuff. Maybe what I’m describing as disjointedness came not from differences in Derrickson and Raimi’s visions, but more from the script being a mix of Waldron’s ideas (e.g. the Illuminati and that whole angle) and him feeling the need to hit those Raimi-esque touchstones. It just didn’t feel like everything quite melded together.
I don’t want to just be negative on it though! I’ll add that I had been dancing around trying to avoid spoilers since the theatrical release and was mostly successful. Even so, I’d got some preconceptions from criticisms I’d heard that made it feel like the ‘multiverse’ was going to be a kind of cop out - a place to go scoop up replacement characters if your ‘originals’ meet an untimely end (which would be par for the course for comics, but something the MCU has mostly avoided so far) or where events didn’t really matter. While I think the multiverse opens up so many storytelling and aesthetic possibilities that this movie either didn’t explore or touched on only briefly, I don’t think it felt cheap like that, either. We got real consequences for “our” MCU that weren’t just papered over by other dimensions being out there.
(But I wish we’d spent literally any time with 616 Mordo or the rebooted Vision from WandaVision).
I’m disappointed that I’ve seen so much Multiverse stuff from the MCU but no Jonathan Majors again. Bring that dude back.
I have a horrible feeling that he’s literally just going to be in Antman and the Wasp: Quantumania and nothing else. Wasted talent!
I’m probably setting myself up for disappointment, but Majors (well, Kang the Conqueror) seems like a good fit for a Thanos-style recurring villain. I had thought that post-Endgame there might not be another of those - too much of a long game - but saw Feige floating it in a headline recently. The great thing about him is even if he’s killed off in one movie there are built in reasons to keep bringing him back.
The impression I got from Loki was that we were going to be seeing a lot of Jonathan Majors in the future. As what character was yet to be determined.
Sure, I got that impression too… but I thought that if anywhere was going to be the start of the hints popping up, it would be DSitMoM, and… nothing…
(To be fair, it might be that he’s also going to be in Fantastic Four, given the connection of Kang with the Richards and von Doom families.)