WandaVision Review


All Rights go to Walt Disney Studios

By Graham Jones, Reporter

2020 was a year absent of many things and for comic book fans, the lack of new content from Marvel Studios stood out like a sore thumb. In 2019, the film studio ended the third phase in its series of superhero films called the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) with the massively popular Avengers: Endgame and Spider-man: Far From Home. Though having films planned to release for the following year, the pandemic prevented them from premiering leading to the longest break between two MCU films since the release of  The Incredible Hulk in 2008 and Iron Man 2 in 2010. I enjoyed this break since after the colossal scale of the last Avengers film, it was nice to have time to take a breath before jumping into the next story. In January, the MCU made its return in the form of a Disney + streaming show named WandaVision. Its mysterious trailers hinted at something never seen before in the MCU, so I, as did many, prepared myself for an experience like no other. While large portions of the show do provide that otherworldly experience, WandaVision doesn’t always land on its intended mark. 

WandaVision follows the characters of Wanda Maximoff and The Vision as they live their lives in what appears to be a picture-perfect “sitcom world.” Unfortunately, not all things are as they seem as strange forces begin to break into their town and home. Off that simple synopsis, it should be easy to pick up that this is something very different from the rest of the MCU. While absurd things have happened in these comic book blockbusters, nothing has ever been as strange as seeing two superheroes play out life in an I Love Lucy type of environment. For the first three episodes, I was amazed at how well the show was able to replicate the sitcom vibes of the ‘50s, ‘60s, and ‘70s. Unusual events would occur every once in a while, but for the most part, the show stayed true to its classic television portrayal. This posed a very interesting mystery for viewers to begin solving knowing that somehow these events were occurring within the MCU. Though I was wrapped up in this puzzle, I couldn’t help but be slightly disconnected from the opening episodes due to their dedication to the sitcom format and my personal dislike of the genre. That being said, the accuracy of how each decade of sitcom was replicated and the overall mystery of the show had me engaged.

All Rights go to Walt Disney Studios

I feel as though the show truly hit its stride with the three episodes in the middle. Episode 4 finally gave the audience a view of the world outside of the sitcoms, giving minor explanations of what was going on while still leaving a large mystery to be solved. This episode brought new and old characters to the screen and felt like a breath of fresh air after the laugh-track-filled fever dream that was the first three episodes. The next two episodes jump from within and outside of the sitcom world, loading the show with new twists and clues for viewers to feast on. The scenes outside of the sitcom world are fun as we get to solve the mystery of the show alongside the characters, though at times these scenes can feel straight out of a cheesy ‘90s action film. What really stands out in these episodes are the elevated sitcom scenes that find a way to balance an eerie tone of creepiness with laugh-out-loud, meta-humor. It was an absolute joy to watch the two superhero stars navigate through a crumbling sitcom world, reminding me of the 2014 adult swim short Too Many Cooks, which shares a similar premise. Between giggling at warped sitcom tropes and being frightened by unsettling images, WandaVision felt like the most original thing the MCU had ever created. Then the last three episodes happened.

The conclusion of WandaVision is in no way awful, not even close to being bad, just…disappointing. What had begun as something so innovative and unique quickly became the same old material the MCU had been serving for the last ten years. Each of the last three episodes had their own amazing moments, some that even stand out as being some of the best scenes in the entirety of the MCU, but as a whole, they forgot what made the majority of the show so entertaining. Instead, the conclusion became the usual good versus evil story where superheroes fight each other while flying in the sky. The best thing to come from these episodes was the acting displayed from the two leads, those being Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda and Paul Bettany as Vision. Bettany injected life and personality into his character, who so far had been used to mainly progress plots and be a love interest for Wanda. Olsen, who had already shown her acting chops in her previous films as Wanda, took it to the next level by portraying a realistic display of grief and depression while still being a badass superhero. I can’t wait to see these two characters again in future projects, especially with what has been set-up with their characters in the season finale.

All Rights go to Walt Disney Studios

If WandaVision has told me anything, it’s that the MCU is done explaining things. By that I mean, while before a person who was not a fan could see an MCU film and still understand it for the most part, now some background knowledge of the other films will be required before jumping in. This is surprising since it seems the MCU is a brand that would want to attract as many viewers as possible, but after the success of Avengers: Endgame, I believe the studio has faith that every new project will be a triumph. This can be further shown with how WandaVision is the closest the MCU has come to dipping into the genre of horror, another shock since the MCU has always targeted a family demographic. This does make sense when you consider that the film Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness has been called the “first scary MCU film,” a film that is a direct continuation of the WandaVision story. This personally excites me since horror has always been one of my favorite genres in all forms of media. The MCU’s newest installment is weird, hilarious, chilling, and most important, different. It’s sure to be a good time for any MCU fan and will not be forgotten any time soon. If it weren’t for its generic conclusion, it may have become one of my favorite parts of the MCU as a whole. Nonetheless, WandaVision shows that the MCU is moving in the right direction with its projects and will continue to be entertaining for the foreseeable future.