Marvel Does it Again: WandaVision Review

Angela McKinzie ’21, News Editor

When WandaVision promotions first started airing in the fall of 2020, the general public and Marvel fans alike were, in a word, confused. The Marvel Cinematic Universe, or MCU, is known for its action-packed blockbusters, so the 50s-style sitcom trailers created an image of the MCU that people have never seen before. However, the marketing worked: with the first trailers release taking place during the 72nd Primetime Emmys, it received 55.7 million online views within 24 hours, including 36.1 million on YouTube, 4.9 million on Facebook, and 10.1 million Instagram (Wikipedia). Every teaser trailer leading up to the January 15th premiere date earned similar views, as everyone wanted to try and understand what the show was actually about. Unfortunately, their efforts to discover the meaning were to no avail, as each one was similar to the last. So…what is the show about? Well, according to the description on Disney Plus, WandaVision is “a blend of classic television and the Marvel Cinematic Universe in which Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) and Vision (Paul Bettany)–two super-powered beings living idealized suburban lives–begin to suspect that everything is not as it seems.” Of course, Disney and Marvel cannot give away the plot of the show, but the description does introduce the main characters, Wanda Maximoff and Vision, while also hinting at a looming conflict beneath the surface. 

 

After seeing the first trailers like everyone else, I was reluctant to start watching the show because 1.) the promotions were getting on my nerves, and 2.) the characters featured in the show did not really interest me. Eventually, though, I put my initial thoughts aside, and I started watching about four weeks after the show was released. Soon after, I was hooked; I binged four episodes back-to-back and was quickly disappointed when the “Next Episode” option did not show up because each episode only came out on Fridays. I thought the concept of the show was really interesting and almost refreshing, as each episode took on the look of a different sitcom through the decades. From the “Dick Van Dyke Show” to “The Brady Bunch” to “Modern Family,” WandaVision’s director Matt Shakman and writer Jac Schaeffer truly paid homage to the costumes, dialogue, and even theme songs from sitcoms in the 50s all the way up to the mid-2000s. At first, I thought the show was a stand-alone show that was not canon to the rest of the movies in the MCU, but, like many of the concepts related to Marvel, everything is connected. The earlier episodes of the show were light and comedic like most sitcoms are, but it began to take a turn when it was revealed that the looming conflict was actually Wanda herself. While she was quickly painted as the villain, the show threw in yet another twist that shifted the blame off of her once again. With her character arc largely revolving around the “villain-gone-good” trope, I was kind of surprised that her character was the first one to get a TV show spin-off, but now I am glad she was chosen. In the latter episodes of the show, Marvel fans were able to see how her life was full of grief since the beginning, with the loss of her parents, her twin brother Pietro in Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015), and now her husband Vision after the events of Avengers: Infinity War (2018). With the show, I also got to see Wanda and Vision as a couple who loved each other very much, and not just a mispaired side couple that did not really enhance the MCU storyline. In addition to exploring Wanda’s history and her relationship with Vision, the show also introduced the new organization S.W.O.R.D and how the world has changed since the end of the most recent Marvel film Avengers: Endgame (2019). Overall, I highly recommend WandaVision to anyone who knows a bit about the MCU but wants a different take on the usual storyline. The show is well-structured and brings many facets to the realm of stereotypical sitcoms. 

 

 Since the show concluded last Friday on March 5th, I have been thinking about what this means for the MCU going forward. Now that most of the original Avengers either left the world of superheroes or were killed, the MCU has to introduce new heroes and villains that will keep the storyline alive for years to come. They have already started to do just this with the conclusion of WandaVision, for the show acted as a bridge between the end of Avengers: Endgame (2019) and the unreleased sequel Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. On top of this, Marvel has already announced the following TV shows and movies that are to be released in Phase 4: 

  1. Black Widow
  2. The Eternals
  3. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, Spider-Man 3
  4. Thor: Love and Thunder
  5. Black Panther 2
  6. Captain Marvel 2
  7. Ant-Man 3
  8. Guardians of the Galaxy 3

Going forward into this new phase of the MCU, I am excited to see how Marvel will continue to build the arc of character development that they began in 2008 into the years to come. If WandaVision is any indication of what is to come, the MCU will live on as a powerhouse in the superhero industry.