The new trailer for Spider-Man: No Way Home has arrived, swinging a whole Willem Dafoe's worth of teases and Easter Eggs at the internet and churning up dozens of questions about the Multiverse, Tom Holland's tenure as Peter Parker, and the conspicuously absent Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield. Perform whatever janky spell you need to erase all of that from your mind immediately. None of that matters here. Amid the theories and speculation surrounding this new trailer, quite literally the only one that matters to me in any way involves what the actual hell Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) means when he tells Peter, MJ (Zendaya), and Ned (Jacob Batalon) to, quote, "Scooby-Doo this crap." I have crunched the numbers and come at this line from every angle, and the only conceivable scenario here is that Doctor Strange has never actually seen Scooby-Doo and is just saying stuff to say stuff. We simply cannot trust this man.
As (mostly, with a heaping dose of obfuscation and some truly wild editing) revealed in the trailer, the general plot of Spider-Man: No Way Home involves Peter asking Strange to whip up a spell to erase his secret identity—revealed to the masses at the end of Spider-Man: Far From Home—from the minds of the general public. However, thanks to a relatable combo of Peter's social awkwardness and constant desire to touch shiny things, the magic goes awry, ripping a hole in the fabric of reality and ushering in supervillains from alternate timelines; namely, Doctor Octopus (Alfred Molina), Green Goblin (Willem Dafoe), Electro (Jamie Foxx), and Sandman (Thomas Haden Church). It's at this point that Strange instructs Spider-Man to "Scooby-Doo this crap," a phrase he is ostensibly using to mean "clean up this cosmic mess" and/or "send these supervillains back to the alternate dimension from whence they came."
I am currently stuck in the multiverse of madness that is deciphering the reason you'd use Scooby-Doo as the analogy here. The primary thing Scooby-Doo has been known for since 1969 is unmasking monsters who turn out to be harmless elderly men trying to scare teenagers away from a valuable plot of land. The character usually accomplishes this by running in sheer terror away from the threat next to his gangly human friend, who is Mt. Everest high on 50 mg of Acapulco Gold at all times. The most generous explanation for Doctor Strange's aggressively weird metaphor is that Scooby-Doo technically "solves problems"? The least generous reading is that Doctor Strange is a humongous dumbass in any area that requires interacting with other human beings, but is also fueled by the type of hubris that causes a man to be confidently, loudly wrong. This all-powerful wizard really used "Scooby-Doo" as a verb meaning "successfully pull off a series of physical challenges against monsters who are real." What in the dad-trying-to-relate-to-his-distant-son hell? That's like pumping someone up to kick a game-winning field goal by saying "Charlie Brown this crap."
The line is also fascinating in relation to the MCU as a whole, and no this is not sarcasm. This franchise has carved out such an indelible identity on pop culture that its blueprint is even recognizable in its marketing. The "Scooby-Doo this crap" moment follows all the rules; it's the part of the Marvel trailer in-between big, loud (spoiler-free!) crashes where we get a bit of banter. The score drops to an undercurrent, a quip gets slung, and the "please Scooby-Doo this crap" stinger flings us back into the fray. The familiarity is such a warm blanket to long-time MCU diehards, it takes a few seconds for the words "Scooby-Doo is not a relatable analogy especially in the context of this gigantic epic superhero movie" to repeat in your head like an air raid siren. It almost feels like an experiment; it feels like Marvel seeing if their aesthetic is finally all-encompassing enough to just drop nonsense into a trailer without anyone noticing.
In conclusion, the line makes no sense and Doctor Strange is clearly Mephisto in disguise. He would have gotten away with it if it weren't for these meddling kids. Spider-Man: No Way Home hits theaters on December 17.
"Wait, no. Seriously. What’s your actual name?"
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