Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (one of the worst movie titles of all time) opened this weekend and it continues a trend started by WandaVision: "The Rise of the Evil Marvel Mom." It's only been a few days since the movie opened so we're not going with spoilers, but it's safe to say just from the trailers & previews we've seen that Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) aka the Scarlet Witch is going to be a baddie in the film- at least a version or two of her (it's the multiverse, you know). And that speaks to a bigger issue at play because while Phase 4 of the MCU has struggled with consistency & thematic coherence, the one trope it seems comfortable consistently tapping into is "Evil Marvel Moms." You could just shrug and say, "Well, there are bad moms in the world, so why not tell stories about them?" It's a sexist theme that's become common in stories, but we wonder why it's suddenly so constant in MCU projects.
So Many Evil Marvel Moms!
The MCU's Evil Marvel Moms trend started in WandaVision and popped up again in Hawkeye where Kate Bishop aka Hawkeye 2.0 discovers her mother (Vera Farmiga) is really a gangster who has ordered a lot of people murdered, including Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner). Eleanor Bishop broke bad with the Kingpin (Vincent D'Onofrio) to pay off her late husband's debts and ended up becoming a gangster in the process, all because she said she wanted to keep her daughter Kate safe. In Moon Knight, it turned out that Marc Spector's mental illness was caused by endless physical and mental abuse by his unhinged mother (Fernanda Andrade) who went mad after the death of her younger son and she blamed Marc for it. And it appears that trend might be coming full circle with Wanda in Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness. If Wanda is becoming the MCU's Dark Phoenix, any proper Dark Phoenix storyline would be redundant when the X-Men are brought to the MCU. We've already been here… twice.
That's four major MCU projects whose story was fueled by an Evil Marvel Mom. Is this on purpose? It's possible that this theme emerged completely by accident, the producers, executives & writers didn't notice while they were just looking for some fuel for their stories. But why take the tact that moms go crazy and evil as a consistent pattern in Marvel movies and TV shows? Granted, Evil Marvel Moms have been a recurring trend in the comics since the 1970s and got even bigger in the 1980s and after. Wanda Maximoff didn't even have any real personality until she was written as emotionally unstable in the 1980s comes then a completely unhinged mother who commits genocide in the 2000s out of grief for her imaginary sons.
WandaVision was only recreating that theme and plotline. What's the point of owning a comic book publisher if you can't use their backlog of stories and ideas? Given how much the MCU now wants to appeal to the most diverse audience, especially females, the question is, why did the screenwriters and producers decide that Evil Marvel Moms was a good idea to push in one movie & TV project after another in quick succession? Are there so many screenwriters who are mad at their moms? Is society really so terrified of Moms Going Bad? These MCU projects seem to scream, "MOMS 'R CRAZY, YO!"
We don't have an answer for that. A Freudian psychoanalyst could probably come up with some interesting ideas and questions. Meanwhile, we'll see if more Evil Marvel Moms pop up in the next MCU and TV shows. Or if there's another season of WandaVision: Wanda Goes Bananas Again!
WandaVision is now streaming on Disney+.