This is a cloak appreciation post. We’re still not clear on the exact difference between a cloak and a cape, but Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness made it clear it’s more than just a name. The Cloak of Levitation may not get tons of screen time, but it gets great character beats. More than some actual superheroes, for better or worse. Apparently some motion capture work even took place behind the scenes. As we learned from Aladdin, broad emotional range can be conveyed through fabric and tassels. That shines through in scenes where the cloak captures more subtlety than some of the human characters.
Disney+ put together a supercut of all the times the cloak saved Doctor Strange, through Endgame. But its appearances in Spider-Man: No Way Home, What If…?, and now Multiverse of Madness have only made us love it more. Let us count the ways!
Let’s start with the big one. The Cloak of Levitation gets snapped into dust by Thanos. It could certainly have detached from Doctor Strange, but it chose not to. As Tony Stark says, it is a seriously loyal piece of outerwear. This saves us from one more heartbreaking storyline of whether it would have moved on in those five years.
The cloak chooses to protect Doctor Strange from their first meeting. It dies over and over with him in the Dormammu time loop. It never abandons him (at least in this reality).
Right from the start, the cloak gives good defense. It parries weapons of all kinds and drags Doctor Strange away from harm, even if he’s unconscious. Even in alternate realities, the cloak never backed down. Its fight scene with the evil bug cape in What If…? was an excellent contrast to Strange Supreme’s wizard battle.
On the other side, the Cloak of Levitation can kick some ass if needed. It becomes a blanket of death to wrestle Drax. It gives the Zealot that stabbed Strange at least a head injury if not the fatal blow. And let’s not forget that the cloak played a huge part in the battle to prevent the snap. Though ultimately unsuccessful, it contributed more than some (cough, Quill).
This is truly an adaptable accessory. No matter what else Doctor Strange is wearing, the cloak is there. Kamar Taj duds, check. Sweat pants and alumni hoodie, check. It comes in other colors, at least in alternate realities. It can be patched with Earth-838’s blue cloak. Here’s hoping that some portion of the blue version’s personality comes through.
When Doctor Strange decides to tamp down the weird wizard vibes, the cloak can be folded into any manner of other accessories. Pocket square for formal occasions. Scarf for walks through NYC. Would love to see the Martha Stewart clip showing us how to fold these. Can’t be harder than a fitted sheet, can it?
5. Saving Others
If you’re an ally of Doctor Strange, you also get the benefit of the cloak. It can cushion your fall, as it did with America Chavez while she was under attack by Gargantos. When it caught Ned in No Way Home, it actually attached itself to him. Here’s hoping for further team-ups between these two pure characters. Ned is worthy.
6. Other Masters
Here’s where the loyalty comes back around. In other realities, it seems the Cloak of Levitation has abandoned Doctor Strange. Its limit was reached when he was turned into a zombie in What If…? Instead, it helps fight zombies, including its former master. It even takes up the role of transporting Scott Lang’s head in a jar.
In Multiverse of Madness, Reed Richards holds Strange’s blue cloak on Titan. It is not fighting to save him from his fate. Earth-838’s Strange was beholden to the Darkhold and thus lost his sidekick. Honestly, it’s good to know the cloak has standards.
In maybe the Cloak of Levitation’s best moment, it wipes tears from Doctor Strange’s face. Like a good friend, it offers comfort as he reels from the death of his mentor and an emotional moment with Christine. Even though it literally has his back throughout most of the storyline, this is a heartwarming moment.
I still have questions about how the cloak actually helps Doctor Strange levitate while only being attached at the lapels. But there’s so much to appreciate about it that I will forego them and just enjoy it.
Melissa is Nerdist’s science & technology staff writer. She rates the Cloak of Levitation as the second best MCU character, after Goose. Melissa also moderates “science of” panels at conventions and co-hosts Star Warsologies, a podcast about science and Star Wars. Follow her on Twitter @melissatruth.