Feature Length Films

Mr. Khan’s Review on Black Widow (2021)

A review on American Superhero film, Black Widow (2021). The film is the first of Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Phase Four films and is directed by Cate Shortland. Scarlett Johansson reprises her role as Black Widow and the list of cast includes Florence Pugh, David Harbour, Rachel Weisz and Ray Winstone. The film is a continuation of the saga from the Marvel Cinematic Universe and is now in cinemas and Disney Plus streaming service.

+ Crew

  • Directed by Cate Shortland
  • Screenplay by Eric Pearson
  • Story by Jac Schaeffer and Ned Benson
  • Cinematography by Gabriel Beristain
  • Music by Lorne Balfe
  • Edited by Leigh Folsom Boyd and Matthew Schmidt
  • Production by Marvel Studios
  • Distributed by Walt Disney Studios and Motion Pictures 

+ Note

The character of Black Widow as the ex-Russian spy first made her appearance in the Marvel Cinematic Universe in Iron Man 2 (2009). Since then, she had made dozens of appearances all across the three phases of the MCU and in turn, grew in popularity amongst the fans. A standalone Black Widow film was always on the cards for Kevin Feige (Marvel Studios President) but due to big event shattering films like Avenger: Infinity War (2018) and Endgame (2019), the filming got delayed till the end of the Phase Three. 

After hinting at it through numerous films, Black Widow was set to reveal the origin story of the character and how she became a super spy, entangled in the world of espionage. The main list of characters included Natasha Romanoff’s estranged family of misfits. Black Widow was to be released in the Summer of 2020 but due to the pandemic, the film kept getting delayed till it was finally released in the summer of 2021. As of July 23, 2021, Black Widow has grossed $146.7 million in the United States and Canada, and $132 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $278.7 million.

+ Main Cast

  1. Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff / Black Widow
  2. Florence Pugh as Yelena Belova / Black Widow
  3. David Harbour as Alexei Shostakov / Red Guardian
  4. O-T Fagbenle as Rick Mason
  5. Olga Kurylenko as Antonia Dreykov / Taskmaster
  6. William Hurt as Thaddeus Ross
  7. Ray Winstone as Dreykov
  8. Rachel Weisz as Melina Vostokoff / Black Widow

+ Plot

The events of Black Widow take place after Captain America: Civil War (2016) where she serves as a fugitive from the Sokovia Accords. Due to political conspiracy and espionage, Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) ends up confronting her dark past as a spy and mending broken relationships with her “parents” and sister. In the quest of searching for the truth, Natasha comes across a mysterious “Red Room” and the potential mastermind behind the Superspy program.

+ High Points

i – The main cast of characters of Black Widow have great chemistry with one another. The exposition/ quieter moments of the film reveal the depth of personality each of the characters pertain within themselves. The screenplay gives vital time develop each of the estranged relationship in the dysfunctional “Romanoff” family and by the far the best thing going about the film.

ii – Speaking of estranged relationships, Florence Pugh as Natasha’s Superspy sister is wonderful casting and an assent to the Black Widow saga. The banter with Scarlett Johansson and her performance walks the fine line of cynicism and comedy with rewarding results. Pugh’s dialogue delivery and subtle gestures play a key role in cementing her as one of the quintessential non-superhero characters of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.   

iii – And of course, a shoutout also goes to David Harbour as the bumbling “Red Guardian” who’s tall tales of fighting Captain America never cease to amaze his listeners. If not written correctly, the character could’ve ended up being a liability to the film but it is Harbour’s comedic timing and emotions that make him hilarious but loveable at the same time. 

iv – The dark opening sequence of the film was admittedly fantastic and unique from the rest of the Marvel films. It was unapologetically tragic and disturbing to say the least but unfortunately for the film, the originality ended right after the opening scene and the film devolved back into pointless action sequences.

+ Low Points

i – So I guess we should address the elephant in the room; why now? Why did Kevin Feige feel that the audience needs a Black Widow film when she already died in the previous Avengers film? Black Widow is admittedly a competent Superhero film but what purpose does it serve in the Marvel Cinematic Universe? The film feels 3 or 4 years too late and it shows. The biggest issue with Black Widow is that regardless if you love the film or not, it is inconsequential and therefore, lacks the stakes of engaging its audience. 

ii – Like Captain Marvel (2019), Black Widow feels dull and a mediocre product of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The plot and action sequences seem like nothing that we already haven’t seen time and time again. The big baddy Dreykov kidnapping and brainwashing solely female subjects is never justified. There seems to be a clear distinction between the dialogue heavy scenes to the mind numbing action sequences. Apparently, the film’s creative team was already working on the action scenes of the film long before they even approached the director of the film! And the results are clear as day. Black Widow doesn’t feel like a coherent film or a vision of a sole filmmaker but rather just some interesting character developing moments, followed by bland CGI explosions. 

iii –  While watching the film, the question that always popped in my head was; is Black Widow invulnerable to pain? As far as I know, Natasha was never injected with the Super serum, how (for the love of God) can she jump 100 feet down on the ground, take a massive beating to the face and still walk away scratchless? I understand that suspension of disbelief is a common trait one must have while watching a superhero film but this was just plain ridiculous and numerous times took me out of the film.

iv – Normally, I do not compare the source material to the film adaptation but Taskmaster was such a major disappointment in the film. The cunning copycat of the comics has so much devious personality that could have served the cinematic counterpart quite well but unfortunately, Taskmaster in MCU is just another bland, generic villain in the film that Black Widow must overcome. I cannot talk much about the character due to spoilers but whatever emotions the film was trying to bring to its audiences, it sadly did not work.

v – Ray Winstone as the big baddy also never lived up to its true evil potential. He was evil for the sake of being evil. No real motivations or character development, Dreykov had the depth of a James Bond villain from the 1960s.

vi – There was a cute subplot with the Red Guardian who claimed to have fought Captain America and then… nothing. There was no pay off to the story. Again, so much potential but none of the creativeness to bring it all together with the main plot of the film.

vii – Even though the family interaction scenes were the best part of the film, the third act of the film was entirely forgettable, CGI nonsense that betrayed the very core of an espionage film. Instead of constructing something unique, the creative team opted for yet another “world threatening, ships in the sky exploding” conclusion that will challenge to keep the audience’s attention span till the end of the film.

+ Overall

Black Widow is a perfectly serviceable but bland Marvel film that never lived up to the character’s potential. MCU needs to be a lot more creative if they don’t want to lose their core audience with the upcoming phase four films.

Rate : 2.0 out of 5 stars

TV series

Mr. Khan’s Review on Loki (2021)

A review on American Television miniseries, Loki (2021). The mini-series is created by Michael Waldron and directed by Kate Herron. The show stars Tom Hiddleston as Loki, Owen Wilson and Sophia Di Martino. The show is a continuation of the saga from the Marvel Cinematic Universe and is a Disney Plus Original series.

+ Crew

  • Directed by Kate Herron
  • Cinematography by Autumn Durald Arkapaw
  • Music by Natalie Holt
  • Edited by Paul Zucker, Calum Ross and Emma McCleave
  • Created by Michael Waldron
  • Production by Marvel Studios
  • Distributed by Disney Platform Distribution 

+ Note

The concept of Loki TV series was first introduced as a core part of the Phase Four MCU content. Since the success of Loki as a character in The Avengers (2012) and other MCU films, it was clear that Tom Hiddleston might reprise his iconic role and will be explored much more as a stand alone character. The series explores the concept of branching timelines which were first introduced in Avengers: Endgame (2019) where upon “disruption of the pre-planned events”, the past does not change but rather a whole new timeline is introduced. After the disruption of the main timeline by Loki in Avengers: Endgame (2019), the series plays as a redemption arc for the character as he follows through different versions of his own self due to the possibility of different timeline “variants’ “.

After WandaVision and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Loki is the third in the Marvel/ Disney Plus series which brought worldwide praise from critics, especially for Tom Hiddleston’s effortless performance as the famous Norse Mythology trickster. 

+ Main Cast

  1. Tom Hiddleston as Loki
  2. Gugu Mbatha-Raw as Ravonna Renslayer
  3. Wunmi Mosaku as Hunter B-15
  4. Eugene Cordero as Casey
  5. Tara Strong voices Miss Minutes
  6. Owen Wilson as Mobius M. Mobius

+ Plot

After Loki’s (Tom Hiddleston) devious escape with the Tesseract in Avengers: Endgame (2019), he ends up getting arrested by an organization called  Time Variance Authority (TVA). Their sole mission to avoid disruption of the timeline and capture ‘Variants’ who were responsible for the timeline split from the main continuity. At the TVA, Loki meets agent Mobius (Owen Wilson) who believes that Loki could be used for a mission that has been plaguing the TVA for a long duration of time now; to capture a renegade Variant who is hiding in the different timelines of the Marvel Universe.

As the story progresses, Loki and Mobius soon realize that something does not seem right about the TVA and combine strengths in order to search for the truth.

+ High Points

i – After watching the last episode, I can sincerely concur that Loki is the best Marvel/ Disney Plus show to date. Tom Hiddleston is once again fantastic as the charming yet devious Loki and the rest of the cast contributes wonderfully to the convoluted story of Timelines in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. While such thematic elements can get tricky at times, Marvel has done a brilliant job in maintaining a balanced view and moved the story along each of the six episodes. 

ii – Speaking of great performances, Tom Hiddleston and Owen Wilson work seamlessly as a buddy cop movie duo where the banter is fun and never gets overbearing like in some of the lesser MCU films. At this point, I feel Tom Hiddleston can play Loki with his eyes shut whereas Owen Wilson is a welcome addition to the MCU family with his dry dialogue delivery and wry humor. 

iii – Another vital character that is introduced in Loki is Sophia Di Martino as Sylvie. I cannot talk much about her character as it would prove to be a major spoiler for the show but suffice to say, she is very charismatic whenever she is alongside Loki onscreen. 

iv – I think what should be most widely applauded about Loki is the writing. Michael Waldron and team have done a really special job in bringing a whole new concept of TVA into the MCU without disrupting anything around the already established storylines from the previous Three phases of the MCU. The episodes move at a brisk pace, provide vital details along the way and most importantly, have a keen eye on character progression for each individual throughout the series. With such a convoluted plot involving timelines, the writing team has done a stupendous job throughout the 6 episodes. Well done!

v – Some of the cinematography by Autumn Durald Arkapaw is truly inventive and much more creative than the previous two Marvel/ Disney Plus series. The frame travels alongside our main cast, explores the TVA’s corridors in the earlier episodes but pulls back in the later episodes, revealing odd and ominous landscapes (a galore of Marvel easter eggs!).

vi – The Music by Natalie Holt is haunting and memorable. The preference of introument’s lower bass range proves ideal for the series as it meticulously mixes vintage Sci-Fi elements with slow melancholy. 

vii – The Costume Designs, Special Effects and Set Design are all praiseworthy. What could truly be admired about Disney Plus is that they have undeniable trust in their Marvel content and are willing to financially back it up all the way. When they don’t, you can see the mediocre CGI in films like Black Panther (2018).

viii – Where both the previous Marvel/ Disney Plus shows (WandaVision and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier) staggered for me were the final episode. It was a barrage of unnecessary epic battles with virtually no real organic progression towards it. Thankfully Loki avoids all that and concludes the story according to the previous events leading up to it. A new character is revealed in the last episode which systematically changes much of the Phase Four and could prove to be a worthy foe for the next generation of the Avengers. I cannot reveal much but the actor who plays the role is just simply outstanding in this. Whenever he was on screen, he clearly hijacked it and the mesmerizing performance was just an icing on the Loki cake.

+ Low Points

i – With all that is great and praiseworthy about Loki, there are problems that could’ve been ironed out during the writing process, mainly the over reliance of exposition. During the first two episodes, there were just way too many scenes with 10 minute long explanations about what the TVA is, how it works and what it accomplishes. To soften the blow, the 1920s style animated character ‘Miss Minutes’ was introduced and while that does work to a certain extent, the exposition still continues on in the next few episodes which slightly bogs down the pacing of the show. A tighter, more fluid progression of scenes were needed and while it is never detrimental, it would have surely been improved upon.

SPOILER ALERT!: (From here on out, there will be spoilers for the show. If you still haven’t seen the show and would like to see it, you can skip directly to Overall section):

ii – The romance between the two Loki variants was not organically earned by the show. Although it’s an interesting concept, the romance did feel a bit rushed and perhaps, some might feel it to be unnecessary to the overarching story. 

iii –  The show looks really dark… and I don’t mean the tone. It is literally low on brightness at times. Whether it was to compensate on the greenscreen/ CGI backgrounds is anyone’s guess but a bit of vibrance would have made the moving images more appealing to look at.

+ Overall

Loki is a blast from start to finish! It respects and understands its cast of characters brilliantly while does not shy away from pushing the complex boundaries of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Rate : 4.25 out of 5 stars

TV series

Mr. Khan’s Review on WandaVision (Ep VII-IX) – Series Finale! (2021)

A review on American Television miniseries, WandaVision ep VII- IX (2021) which marks the finale of the show. The mini-series 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 episodes, you can skip directly ahead to the High points section).

+ Crew

  • 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 

+ Note

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.

+ Main Cast

  1. Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda Maximoff / Scarlet Witch
  2. Paul Bettany as Vision
  3. Debra Jo Rupp as Mrs. Hart
  4. Fred Melamed as Arthur Hart
  5. Kathryn Hahn as Agnes
  6. Teyonah Parris as Monica Rambeau
  7. Kat Dennings as Darcy Lewis
  8. Randall Park as Jimmy Woo

+ Plot

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

SPOILER ALERT!: (From here on out, there will be spoilers for the show as it is impossible to discuss the 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 below).

i – So the last three episodes of the show have all been about ‘Revelations’. Agnes, the nosy neighbor from the previous episodes, is the master manipulator Agatha Harkness who played the puppet master of sorts behind the curtain. Kathryn Hahn’s heel turn has been magnificently handled by the actress and was fully aware of the fine balance between campy and solemnity when necessary. Although it was far from perfect, Agnes serves great and memorable as Scarlet Witch’s formidable adversary in the series finale (and the catchy jingle at the end of episode 7 was just the icing on the cake!).

ii – Episode 8 “Previously On” was the best episode in the series. The emotional journey of what Wanda had to go through to become what she is now, was brilliantly handled and executed. It is indeed tragic to see in the past few MCU movies, how Wanda slowly lost everyone she ever cared for; her brother Pietro Maximoff (aka Quicksilver) to Vision’s sacrifice in Avengers: Infinity War (2018). The scene when Wanda has to witness the autopsy/ dismemberment of Vision’s body was gut wrenching and one could easily forget that WandaVision is supposed to be a mere superhero show. The question was set up in the first episode; why or what is WandaVision? And the answer has been well delivered. Kudos to the writing of the show.

iii – Although very short lived, the dynamics of Wanda’s family; her husband Vision and her twin sons, was fantastic. The actors work great off one another and bring a much needed warmth and empathy to the show.

iv – The newly designed costume of Scarlet Witch is slick but also does not deviate too far from its source material. The leathery, muted red can work very well on the silver screen.

v – Once again, I have to praise the lead actors of WandaVision. They were incredibly well rehearsed with the script, delivered with such impeccable precision and skill that quite frankly, is hard to pull off. WandaVision was comedic and dramatic whenever it needed to be and none of this would have been possible if not for Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany’s outstanding onscreen chemistry together. WandaVision is essentially a tragic love story between a Witch and an A.I. And as silly as it sounds, the lead actors managed to make it not only believable but relatable at the same time.

vi – While in the previous episodes, the scenes involving the S.W.O.R.D. were the more ‘boring’ aspects of the show, the last three episodes manage to make them more essential and interesting for the developing plot so that the center conflict of the show could flourish. As the show went on, the characters of Jimmy Woo and Rambeau became more central and integral to the plot and with good writing, became much more fleshed out as the show reached its climax.

vii – Even with the greenscreen fight scene at the end, the Special Effects were brilliant throughout the show and never faltered at any point. 

viii – After reaching its conclusion, one can mention countless assets to credit WandaVision’s success but none can be more important than the writing itself. Jac Schaeffer and co. really knocked this one out of the park and while the finale did turn out to be just another epic MCU battle in the sky (more on that in the Low Points section), the writing was consistent in quality throughout its nine episodes. And it cannot be emphasized enough how integral the writing was to WandaVision’s success.

ix – The emotional send off from Wanda to her family was tragic but beautifully handled. After 9 Episodes, the show gave enough time and space to understand Wanda’s actions and her motivations. The loss of her loved one and her wish to have a family became a distant dream. The show meticulously handles Wanda’s character arc, the crescendo and the finale of it. Where will Wanda go from here? That is a question MCU fans will be eagerly looking forward to. 

+ Low Points

i – With all that was great about the show, the finale was a disappointment of sorts. Instead of a clever and unique way to resolve the conflict, the producers felt the necessity to end this in the most generic fashion they could think of. Wanda battles Harkness in the red greenscreened sky, shooting magic lasers out of their hands. Yawn. The show really lost its luster during the fight and will leave viewers and fans disappointed with lack of creativity. Come on, Jac Schaeffer. I’m sure your team could have come up with something more inventive than that…

ii – It was also a disappointment that Evan Peters’ introduction as Quicksilver in the MCU was used as a punchline for a lackluster joke. Why? Evan Peters was fantastic as Quicksilver and a major asset to the franchise. Why throw it all away? A baffling decision really. 

iii –  So the two Visions have a go at one another, they talk and for some reason, the reprogramed ‘white’ Vision just gets up and leaves? Were the writers really clueless what to do with him? I understand they will introduce him later on sometime in MCU but this whole conflict turned out to be pretty forgettable at the end.

iv – By taking the whole town of Westview hostage, Wanda was psychologically torturing the citizens of the town. In the end, Wanda does the right thing and gives up on her fantasy life to release the Westview citizens of torment but are there no repercussions to Wanda’s actions? Is the S.W.O.R.D.  just going to let Wanda walk away from all this? Although it is understandable that the anguish Wanda had to endure after losing her loved ones but for Wanda to just walk away from all this scott free….it just feels wrong.

+ Overall

WandaVision is a show of many accomplishments. Not only was it engaging television but it proved that even with the current pandemic, Marvel Cinematic Universe can still flourish as a miniseries on the streaming platform Disney Plus. The finale was an unfortunate and predictable letdown but nonetheless, the show was still a triumph and a brilliant in depth look into the psyche and relationship of Wanda and Vision. 

The 9 episode mini-series is now complete and available on Disney Plus.

Rate (Ep VII – IX): 3.5 out of 5 stars

Rate (WandaVision): 4.0 out of 5 stars

TV series

Mr. Khan’s Review on WandaVision (Ep IV-VI) (2021)

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).

+ Crew

  • 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 

+ Note

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

  1. Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda Maximoff / Scarlet Witch
  2. Paul Bettany as Vision
  3. Debra Jo Rupp as Mrs. Hart
  4. Fred Melamed as Arthur Hart
  5. Kathryn Hahn as Agnes
  6. Teyonah Parris as Monica Rambeau
  7. Kat Dennings as Darcy Lewis
  8. Randall Park as Jimmy Woo

+ Plot

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?

+ Overall

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

TV series

Mr. Khan’s Review on WandaVision (Ep 1-3) (2021)

A review on American Television miniseries, WandaVision (2021). The miniseries is directed by Matt Shakman and stars Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda/ Scarlet Witch and Paul Bettany as Vision. The show is a continuance of the saga from the Marvel Cinematic Universe and is a Disney Plus Original series.

+ Crew

  • 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 

+ Note

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 comedy sitcom with multi camera setup 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’s premise. 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

  1. Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda Maximoff / Scarlet Witch
  2. Paul Bettany as Vision
  3. Debra Jo Rupp as Mrs. Hart
  4. Fred Melamed as Arthur Hart
  5. Kathryn Hahn as Agnes
  6. Teyonah Parris as Monica Rambeau
  7. Kat Dennings as Darcy Lewis
  8. Randall Park as Jimmy Woo

+ Plot

WandaVision starts off in 1950s suburban America. A husband and a loving wife have just moved in a house next door 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 – The “I Love Lucy” meets “Bewitched” 50s situational comedy is perfectly replicated to a tee. The dialogue, costume design, make up, Production design; it perfectly fits to the vision (no pun intended) of what Marvel Studios were going for.

ii – Since working together in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany have really grown accustomed to each other’s performances and are just picture perfect. For this show to work, their onscreen chemistry is undeniably vital and it’s always a treat to see them together onscreen.

iii – Ever since the trailer for the show came out, WandaVision felt unique and bold to what MCU fans were, for many years, accustomed to. After the end of the Thanos and the Infinity stones saga, MCU needed to move into a fresh new direction as the lack of innovative ideas made MCU films (for the most part) extremely predictable. And WandaVision does exactly that.

iv – The dialogues and humor of the show is witty, charming and at times, also very dark. The show does have a slight “David Lynch” surrealist vibe to it. One minute, you are witnessing a cute sing and dance number, the next you see someone on the dinner table, choking himself on a piece of meat. I loved it!

v – The multiple opening theme songs/ jingles are memorable and composed wonderfully by Kristen Anderson-Lopez, Robert Lopez and Christophe Beck.

vi – The “Hand drawn” animations in between live action set-pieces play wonderfully to the overall vibe and atmosphere of the show. Love these little but essential touches that they’ve given to it!

vii – The “advertisements” in between the show are the “Bees knees!”. ‘Nuff said!

viii – Although only 3 episodes are out at the moment, the show has me hooked! The story and pacing takes its time but is extremely rewarding in the grand scheme of things. Let’s see where it all leads us to.

+ Low Points

i – The length of each episode is inconsistent. Not a huge drawback by any stretch of the imagination but old vintage TV shows had very strict time limitations. So if the show is going for that, might as well stick to a consistent 3 Act structure and the time constraints that come with making a TV broadcast episode.

ii – Although it’s hinted that the show doesn’t actually take place in decades old American history (or does it?), the racial diversity in the show seems too modern for the 1950s sequences and takes you out of the show time and time again. Segregation was unfortunately very prevalent in the US in the 50s so to see the characters mention contempt for the “Bolsheviks/ Communists” but are fine and dandy with a colored person sitting next to them at the dinner table, it’s just odd and the show seems a bit confused as to what it really wants to be. Even in a ‘make believe’ reality, the horrors of history should never be ignored (the perfect example could be the highly underrated 1998 film Pleasantville).

iii – Even after 3 episodes, the mystery of “what reality they are living in” might be a tad bit obvious to loyal MCU fans. Perhaps we all might be rightfully swerved by the end of the season. 

iv – Among all the episodes available, episode 3 was the weakest due to its lack of focus to the overall narrative and the situational comedy slightly overstaying its welcome. But cliffhanger at the end did make up for it I suppose.

+ Overall

WandaVision is fun, eerie and exactly what MCU needed to kick start their ‘Phase 4’ list of films and TV shows. The performances are wonderful by the two main leads and the show proves that Superheroes are not all about “Good Guy vs Bad Guy”. Comics is a medium explored to such vast lengths of ideas and it’s tremendous to see a commercial, crowd pleasing Disney corporation try something very different. Of course, this could all change for better or worst in the review for the next episodes so stay tuned! 

Rate: 4 (subject to change) out of 5 stars