A review on American Television miniseries, WandaVision ep IV-VI (2021). The miniseries is directed by Matt Shakman and stars Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda and Paul Bettany as Vision. The show is a continuation of the saga from the Marvel Cinematic Universe and is a Disney Plus Original series.
(Note: If you’ve already read the review of the previous episode, you can skip directly ahead to the High points section).
- Directed by Matt Shakman
- Cinematography by Jess Hall
- Music by Christophe Beck
- Produced by Chuck Hayward
- Created by Jac Schaeffer
- Production by Marvel Studios
- Distributed by Disney Platform Distribution
WandaVision is continuation of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (Phase 4) where we get to explore more the relationship between the two popular Marvel characters; Scarlet Witch and Vision. The series is cleverly disguised as an American vintage sitcom with multi camera shots and canned Laughter from the audience in a (supposedly) TV Studio. WandaVision is clearly inspired from 50s-60s sitcoms like ‘I Love Lucy’, ‘Bewitched’ and later in color, ‘The Brady Bunch’, where situational comedy plays a key role to the show. Since Disney Plus has only released three episodes up till now, it is still unclear where they are heading with this but one can safely assume, WandaVision is unlike anything MCU has produced up till now.
+ Main Cast
- Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda Maximoff / Scarlet Witch
- Paul Bettany as Vision
- Debra Jo Rupp as Mrs. Hart
- Fred Melamed as Arthur Hart
- Kathryn Hahn as Agnes
- Teyonah Parris as Monica Rambeau
- Kat Dennings as Darcy Lewis
- Randall Park as Jimmy Woo
WandaVision starts off in 1950s suburban America. A husband and a loving wife have just moved in the neighborhood and get along with their neighbors quite well. But unbeknownst to the neighbourhood, they are no ordinary couple. In fact, they are the famous Avengers; Scarlet Witch and Vision who hide their super powers in order to live a happy, wholesome life. But something doesn’t seem right about this scenario. It’s almost too… perfect? How did present day Avengers end up in decades old American TV sitcoms? Where or how did they enter this delightful comedy of errors? What is exactly wrong with WandaVision?
+ High Points
i – Since the last three episodes, many lingering questions have been finally answered as to what is actually happening in WandaVision and most of them have been fairly satisfying. What’s excellent about the show is that it has been brilliantly structured; Firstly, it lets you as the viewer in on the absurdity of the premise without giving much away. Secondly, it lets out short pieces of information which allows the audience to gather them together to fit the overall puzzle of the narrative. Say what you want about the Marvel Cinematic Universe but the creative team has a very clear vision and control over the plot and their interconnected Cinematic universe. The writers pay attention to every single detail in the show and Marvel rewards you for being a loyal, long time fan.
SPOILER ALERT!: (From here on out, there will be spoilers for the show as it is impossible to discuss the other plot points without spoiling anything. If you still haven’t seen the show and would like to see it, you can skip directly to Overall section)
ii – So Episode IV “We Interrupt This Program” was the expository episode in the series which explains what exactly is going on in WandaVision. Since the climax of Avengers: Infinity War, some heroes failed to make it out alive through this catastrophic world changing event, one being Wanda’s husband Vision. This prompted Wanda (through her magically, psyche manipulation powers) to take control of a town called ‘Westview’ and create a utopian, make believe world of her own which of course includes the American nuclear family; consisting of her, Vision and their twin children. This is such an excellent character development of Wanda, tapping into the unknown potential of her powers and in the process, also explains the Homage to American sitcoms throughout the decades of American Television. WandaVision is not a show taking place in a vacuum, it is directly and harshly affected by the cataclysmic events of the previous films. It’s a brilliant direction for the MCU and as a viewer, keeps you on your toes as to what could develop next in the overarching narrative of WandaVision.
iii – I love that WandaVision is playing around, taking risks with their established characters. While It is still not a debate yet if Wanda has turned her back on humanity, one can sincerely sympathise with her emotional pain. Her loss of her brother in Avengers: Age of Ultron and her husband Avengers: Infinity War has left her emotionally in shambles and yearns for the perfect, happy world that she envisioned within herself. This character progression is organic and makes absolute sense to Wanda’s overall character arc.
iv – The “recasting” of Evan Peters as Quicksilver. And let’s be honest, the X-Men films’ Quicksilver is clearly the better choice here. He is infinitely the more charming and interesting one.
v – The eventual realization of Vision of how he might not even exist brings a great conflict to the forefront of the show. In Avengers: Infinity War, Vision was straight up murdered by Thanos and perhaps he will not take it too kindly that he has forcefully been revived by Wanda to take part in her fantasy of a perfect world.
vi – The Episode VI; “All-New Halloween Spooktacular!” comic accurate costumes for Scarlet Witch, Vision and Quicksilver were a cheeky touch and shows Kevin Feige’s respect for the source material.
vii – The visual effects by numerous SFX houses are top notch. This clearly shows that DIsney Plus always had strong faith and was 100% behind this show.
+ Low Points
i – Although WandaVision shines the most when the show is having fun with its own premise, it bogs down to a halt when we are forcefully thrown back into the “expository dialogue” scenes at the S.W.O.R.D. camp. The jokes seem forced, the dialogue is bare minimum and it only serves its purpose of moving the plot along so we can get back to Wanda and her family. It is obvious that expository dialogue is necessary but none of the characters there are engrossing enough to keep you interested.
ii – Up till now, Episode IV “We Interrupt This Program” was by far the weakest one and it’s no surprise that the majority of it took place at the S.W.O.R.D. base camp. Jimmy Woo, Monica Rambeau and Darcy Lewis; none of them are compelling enough characters to drive the episode through.
iii – Of all the characters they could have brought back for WandaVision, why did the writers decide on Kat Dennings’ Darcy Lewis? She is unfunny, fails to serve as a comedic relief and brings no urgency to the plot. It’s obvious that the Marvel Cinematic Universe has good and mediocre films along its three Phases. Why not settle for characters that were proven to be more likable?
Six episodes in and WandaVision still refuses to fade your interest away. It’s dark, unique and a shining beacon of hope that even after 12 years, MCU is still capable of coming up with fresh new ideas for its fan base and beyond. Although expository scenes can be made much more interesting, it is Wanda/ Vision that take the center stage and they have proven more than capable enough to captivate your attention through.
Rate: 4.25 (subject to change) out of 5 stars