WandaVision: An Odd Delight
Marvel Studio’s first attempt at a television series was something nobody really expected. On paper, completely throwing out the normal Marvel action in favor of sitcom humor sounds kind of outlandish and ambitious. However, “WandaVision” exceeds all expectations and suppresses most doubts about how this show would be received.
“WandaVision,” while having both heroes in the name is less a story about Wanda (Elizabeth Olsen) and Vision (Paul Bettany) and more a story about Wanda featuring Vision. This show is all about exploring Wanda’s grief and past as she learns she must take a step back to move forward. In the words of Jimmy Woo (Randall Park), “the world created a sitcom starring two avengers.” While at first everything seems to be perfectly normal (other than the fact that Vision previously died, and seems to be alive and well), things take a turn when things seem a little out of place.
While being a television show, the season can still be divided like any marvel movie. The first three episodes set the scene, establish the world while still letting the audience know that something is not quite right. The next three episodes raise the stakes revealing events that took place before the timeline of the show, and exploring what is really going on here. By the last three episodes, the audience has a pretty good grasp on what exactly is going on here and the show feels more like another Marvel movie. While this formula seems simple, it is complimented by the week by week releases of each episode. With each episode releasing every Friday, the audience has time to theorize and speculate on what is to come in the next week’s episode. This gives each episode more of an incentive to return, the feeling of finding out if your theory comes true, while discovering some new clue that completely changes the game. It gives the show a truly unique experience that could not be achieved if Marvel decided to release each episode at one time to make it bingeable.
In my opinion the show shines the most in its acting. Olsen and Bettany absolutely steal the show. Accurately acting each character in a new sitcom style all the way from the 50’s to the early 2000’s is no easy feat, but both characters absolutely excelled, it made me wish the two characters got more screen time in the earlier movies as they have proven their talent. Furthermore the show is complemented by the side characters. It was so fun to see Monica Rambo (Teyonah Parris) fully grown after last seeing her as this little girl from “Captain Marvel” dreaming of one day going to space. Darcey Lewis (Kat Denning), a character we have not seen since “Thor: The Dark World” was an excellent addition as she is just as quippish and out there as I remember her in the Thor movies. Most importantly seeing Jimmy Woo finally nail that card trick he has been working on in ‘Antman and the Wasp” was a moment I can only describe as absolutely satisfying. However with every great character, there comes a lacking character and that sadly comes in the form of Tyler Hayward (Josh Stamberg). The character really just feels fuller, there was really no building for the character. By the end of the show we have no clue of his motivations, what drives him, or how he ended up in the position he is now. The writing was just very weak for his character and there was really no reason for it to be as the writing for the rest of the characters was done so well.
Probably one of the biggest tropes with “WandaVision” was the big build up with little reward. As discussed above, with the way the show was released it sparked a lot of speculation, which was furthered by all the references and callbacks. This led to fans coming up with theories of some bigger villain such as Mephisto (the Marvel equivalent of Satan) due to all the references to his character riddled throughout the show, but there was no such villain. Fans were expecting an X-Men and MCU crossover due to them casting Evan Peters (the original Quicksilver from the FOX X-Men films), but his character ultimately led to a joke that wasn’t funny at all. By the end of the show, the experience felt like a giant slap in the face to MCU fans with this big lead up little pay off formula.
“WandaVision” showed the audience what they can really expect moving forward in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The risk they took neglecting the normal MCU action in favor of something different resulted in a well-written, engaging story that had a satisfying ending while also setting up more for both Wanda and Vision. With the weekly release schedule and the celebration of sitcoms through the decades, fans constantly had something to look forward to. While some characters were lacking, and the plot did not play out quite as people expected, these negatives did not take much away from the full experience. WandaVision was a great introduction to what the MCU can do in the television world, and makes me excited to see what the future holds not just for Wanda and Vision, but for the MCU as a whole.