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Suffering and Growth: Wanda Maximoff and the MCU

The MCU keeps expanding, becoming more wondrous in its settings and characters. But one character above the rest has been relentlessly struck with hardship and sorrow: Wanda Maximoff, the Scarlet Witch. Though she has been downplayed in some of the most recent Avengers movies, she has proved herself to be one of the strongest characters in the vast, ever-growing Marvel universe.

In Endgame, she lets her thirst for vengeance get the better of her. She’s out to get Thanos–like everyone else. But what was the breaking point for Wanda? She has been facing loss and guilt for quite some time. These instances can be documented throughout her activity in the previous MCU films. In every film she has appeared in, with the exception of Endgame, Wanda has lost a loved one or faced grave circumstances that cause her to question herself.

Her Brother – The First Loss

Wanda is one of the Maximoff twins. Her male counterpart, Pietro, shares an unique relationship with her. Both are gifted with supernatural powers. Pietro can move faster than a speeding bullet. Hence, his superhero identity: Quicksilver.

Wanda has abilities which stem mainly from mental powers. She can implant visions in the minds of others. Additionally, she is able to move things with her mind.

The Maximoff twins are officially introduced to the Avengers in Age of Ultron where Wanda and Pietro are strong-willed enough to choose their own path. Though they initially side with Ultron, the two orphans eventually decide the AI’s objective is unjust. Once they have given themselves to service with the Avengers, they are able to more clearly see all the destruction and turmoil Ultron has thrust upon the world.

Wanda reminds us that there is hope on the winds of the future.

Wanda and Quicksilver dedicate themselves to protecting the innocent and saving lives, an aspect also seen in the Avengers’ protection of civilians in the 2012 Chitauri invasion. It is in this valiant endeavor that Quicksilver is mortally wounded. He knew it was better to sacrifice himself than to watch an innocent child get killed. Wanda, of course, understands her brother’s motives. Nevertheless, it remains a devastating incident in Wanda’s life. The person closest to her has been killed.

Guilt and Hesitance Over Using Her Powers

While in the process of healing over the loss of her brother, Wanda focuses her energy on serving the common good. She becomes an elite hero, an Avenger. At the beginning of Captain America: Civil War, Wanda saves Captain America’s life. She shifts a fireball of explosive energy upward, away from Cap, and then she relinquishes her control over the fireball. The explosives are free to erupt, but they do so in close proximity to a building.

A number of innocent people, those same innocents for whom Quicksilver had given his very life, are injured and killed. It damages the reputation of the Avengers and their intentions. It  damages Wanda’s self-trust too, leaving her deeply troubled about her powers. A moment such as this is common in the hero story: this moment in which, for one reason or another, the hero feels like she should step away from her job. Wanda does not see herself fit for the calling of an Avengers.

It is with the aid of the great motivational speaker, Captain America (he does the inspirational speech thing pretty well), that Wanda is inspired to move beyond the accident. He shows her how her powers are true gifts, that they can and should be used for the common good. Otherwise, it’s a waste, a call of vocation rejected.

The Loss of a Significant Other

The lovey-dovey relationship between Wanda Maximoff and Vision, the advanced humanoid AI, begins in Captain America: Civil War. By Avengers: Infinity War, the two are a committed couple. However, one of the hardest things to accept in life is the truth that none of us are ever in full control. Things happen. More often than not they follow an unforeseen course of events.

Thanos, lustful for the power of the infinity stones, takes the Mind Stone from Vision’s forehead. This reduces Vision to an inanimate, empty body. Now, Wanda has lost a second companion. The deepest relationships she has entered into have been prematurely severed. She has had to bare the burden of severe emotional pain.

A Character of Heartache and Hope

By Avengers: Endgame, it is more than understandable that Wanda Maximoff wants retribution for Vision’s wanton demise. It isn’t out of vengeance that the heroes are called to overcome the Titan, but rather out of mere defence. Thanos intends war on the Avengers and a large-scale annihilation of life to follow after. It is against this outcome the Avengers must fight.

By the close of the film, many characters have had to come to terms with the loss of a loved one or dear friend. We get a brief glimpse into the sorrow experienced by all the mourners for another fallen hero, but when it comes to Wanda, she seems to be coping with all the pain and loss of life extraordinarily well.

Wanda establishes consolation and contentment within herself with the idea that her loved ones have found peace. She believes they are aware of their labors coming to fruition with the fall of the Titan. An external peacetime ushers in a new era of consolation for Wanda. Among her supportive group of friends, who have become like her own family, she enters into emotional prosperity.

Wanda reminds us that there is hope on the winds of the future. Wanda showcases the strength needed to pull through the difficult times we confront in life. Notice also that she is prompted into action by her friends and finds consolation in their company. Her character not only highlights the importance of moving on, but she also draws attention to the necessity of friends who boost morale.

The comfort and kind words Wanda receives are not to be merely reserved for the fantastic. People are meant to be more like the Avengers: defending the righteous, protecting the innocent, and consoling the conflicted.

John Tuttle is a journalist, blogger, and photographer whose work has been featured by Interstellar Flight Magazine, Movie Babble, Cosgrrrl, Excelsior!, Digital Fox, and other publications. He is also the founder of the site Of Intellect and Interest.

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