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5 Bad Decisions Doctor Strange Has Made In The Marvel Movies, Including In The Multiverse Of Madness

Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness
(Image credit: Marvel Studios)

SPOILER WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. If you have yet to see the latest Marvel movie, proceed at your own risk!

There are few characters (strong or otherwise) in the Marvel Cinematic Universe who have made more of an impact than Doctor Strange. Over the years, the magically-inclined and incredibly arrogant superhero has done everything from beat Dormammu into submission, assist in saving the universe on more than one occasion and even aid his fellow heroes in need.

But in the same stretch of time, the Master of the Mystic Arts has also made some massive mistakes, and not just texting while driving, allowing the love of his life to get away or constantly bickering with Tony Stark when they could have come up with a better plan to defeat their most powerful villain yet. No, I’m talking about those massive, potentially cataclysmic lapses in judgement that the character has made in various Marvel movies, including his latest adventure in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.

Benedict Cumberbatch in Avengers: Infinity War

(Image credit: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)

Doctor Strange Hands Over The Time Stone To Thanos (Avengers: Infinity War)

The primary of goal of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, the Guardians of the Galaxy and everyone else involved in the events of Avengers: Infinity War was to prevent Thanos (Josh Brolin) from getting his hands on all six Infinity Stones and putting his diabolical, yet self-rationalized plan into motion. And while a lot of the blame can be placed on Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) for allowing his emotions to get the best of him and punch the Mad Titan out of a state of hypnosis, that angle has been covered time and time again. But there was another mistake made on the surface of the once prosperous planet.

The biggest mistake made that fateful day was when Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) willingly handed over the Time Stone to Thanos, which meant he only needed one more stone to put his ultimate plan into action. Sure, Strange rationalized it (this was the only possible outcome out of 14,000,605 possible futures) at the time, and he was later justified in Avengers: Endgame. That said, he didn’t he see a future (like Earth-838) where he didn’t have to hand over the Stone, allow countless souls to be lost and also create one of the most unhinged and deadly villains the MCU has ever seen in Scarlet Witch?

Benedict Cumberbatch in Spider-Man: No Way Home

(Image credit: Sony Pictures Releasing)

Doctor Strange Casts The Memory Spell (Spider-Man: No Way Home)

There’s the old saying that the road to Hell is paved with good intentions, but in the case of Doctor Strange in Spider-Man: No Way Home, those good intentions almost paved the road to multiversal destruction. In the 2021 Marvel movie, Strange agreed to cast a spell that would make the world forget Peter Parker (Tom Holland) was Spider-Man after Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal) revealed his secret identity in the Spider-Man: Far From Home end credits sequence. But when Parker began adding names to the list of people who wouldn’t be subjected to the effects of the Runes of Kof-Kol, everything went to hell in a handbasket.

If Strange had listened to Wong’s (Benedict Wong) objections, not gone through with the casting of the doomed spell and told Parker to kick rocks, he would have saved the universe (and the multiverse) a ton of trouble. Sure, audiences would have missed out on quite possibly the best Marvel moment, but Aunt May (Marisa Tomei) would still be alive, Spider-Man wouldn’t be living in a crappy apartment, and the potentially cataclysmic incursion event could have been avoided entirely.

Benedict Cumberbatch in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

(Image credit: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)

Defender Strange Tries To Kill America Chavez And Steal Her Powers (Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness)

In the lead-up to the release of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, there were multiple trailers showing the different versions of the character we would see throughout the movie, each having their own faults. This was apparent in the film’s opening moments when Defender Strange was running through the space between universes with America Chavez (Xochitl Gomez) as they searched for the Book of Vishanti. Believing that the young girl couldn’t control her ability to travel through the multiverse, this Strange variant trieed to kill her and take her power instead of trusting her.

I know, I know, this isn’t the Doctor Strange we’ve come to know and love over the course of the past six years, but it’s hard to argue that our Strange wouldn’t do something similar if he were put in that situation. Sure, he probably wouldn’t have tried to kill her, but he does have a history of not listening to anyone, let alone trusting them.

Doctor Strange looking at a statue in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

(Image credit: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)

Earth-838 Strange Uses The Darkhold And Almost Destroys His Universe (Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness)

Earth-838, the universe Doctor Strange and America Chavez visited after traveling through the multiverse, also had a run-in with Thanos, but it was the Illuminati and not the Avengers who defeated the Mad Titan. And just like in Earth-616, this version of Doctor Strange was consequential in saving his universe, but this time at the expense of countless lives that were put out in an instant.

After being captured by the Illuminati, our Doctor Strange learned about his Earth-838 counterpart’s fall from grace (he used the Darkhold to find the Book of Vishanti to kill Thanos, but in doing so completely destroyed another reality) and how the other members of the group dealt with him after the Mad Titan was slain. And while those living on Earth-838 lived on, countless others weren’t as lucky, and 838-Strange was killed for his actions and to prevent him from doing that again.

screenshot dr. strange trailer

(Image credit: Marvel)

Doctor Strange Triggers Another Incursion Through His Use Of The Darkhold (Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness)

No action in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is without consequence, and that was especially true during the Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness end credits sequence when Clea (Charlize Theron) appeared to tell Stephen Strange that his actions throughout the movie ended up causing another incursion in an alternate reality. Basically, Strange used the Darkhold to jump into the body of Defender Strange’s corpse, which, as we learned throughout the movie, is a big no-no.

Once again, Doctor Strange’s plan technically worked and solved the matter at hand, but in turn created a whole mess of trouble for someone else down the road. It looks like he’ll solve that problem at a later date, but let’s just hope he fixes this mess for good next time.

All of this isn’t to say Doctor Strange is a bad guy, but instead a superhero who would be a little better off if he listened to other people and didn’t always think he was the smartest person in the multiverse. If you want to know when you’ll see the rest of his fellow comic book heroes in action, take a look at our list of all the upcoming Marvel movies.

Philip Sledge
Philip Sledge

Philip grew up in Louisiana (not New Orleans) before moving to St. Louis after graduating from Louisiana State University-Shreveport. When he's not writing about movies or television, Philip can be found being chased by his three kids, telling his dogs to stop yelling at the mailman, or yelling about professional wrestling to his wife. If the stars properly align, he will talk about For Love Of The Game being the best baseball movie of all time.