A Warning before this review begins, this review will be filled with SPOILERS.
“She was a lady with the Magic Touch, and he was a lad with an Indestructible Head,” Today’s review is going over the popular Marvel Studios Series WandaVision. Set three weeks after the events of Avengers: Endgame, Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) and Vision (Paul Bettany) live in an idyllic suburban life in a town called Westview in New Jersey, concealing their true nature. But when the couple begins to enter new decades and encountering Television Tropes, they begin to realize that not everything is what it seems. We see several familiar faces and meet new characters along the way as the duo jump from One Decade into Another, mixing comedy with a sense of dread and horror.
With the series beginning in the 1950s type of Television Sitcoms, it was a great tribute to television shows such as I Love Lucy, The Dick Van Dyke Show, Father Knows Best, and channels that vintage feeling perfectly, right up to Paul Bettany’s rendition of The Coasters “Yakety Yak”. That scene was priceless, both Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany handled the vintage script with ease, certain shows have tried to pick up that similar spark but don’t live up to it. It plays off with a delightful theme tune and self-aware title cards that use the characters’ names rather than their actors, and that is quite clever. Another example of the commitment between the two is the couple’s confusion involving the date “August 23rd,” which fuels not only the mystery about the date but also doubles as a typical sitcom plot.
The Writers provided great gags in what they had to work with, especially when replicating the styles of the 1950s and 1960s in the first two episodes. Including a gag of Vision having issues handling the Bubble Gum, he swallowed that messed with his inner system, using an animated scene to show what was causing the trouble. While it can have lighthearted moments, it can also turn dark rather quick in cases such as Vision’s boss beginning to choke on his food after a strange interrogation, Dottie cutting her hand open due to handling broken glass, and for a brief moment, the world changes briefly when you splash the color red and inject it in the monochrome palette. While Vision and Wanda’s life is being portrayed as a sitcom someone is watching with a Television Set, we learn that S.W.O.R.D.(Sentient Weapon Observation and Response Division) is also involved in this situation, they are stationed outside of Westview, where stood a strange wall of static.
As I mentioned before, we meet familiar people along the way, hence being Jimmy Woo (Randall Park) the FBI Agent and former parole officer of Scott Lang in Antman/The Wasp. Woo is working with S.W.O.R.D. on a missing person case onhand, Darcey Lewis (Kat Dennings) the Astrophysicist who also is working with S.W.O.R.D. who deducted that because of this strange phenomenon the people of Westview were also part of the “Cast”. We meet Monica Rambeau again, she was introduced in Captain Marvel but was only a young girl at that time, Monica has grown up and become a Captain at S.W.O.R.D. she also was affected by Wanda’s ongoing sitcom which moved into the decade of the 70s, Wanda was pregnant with twins and Vision began to notice even more that things weren’t what they had seemed with subtle hints from the neighbor’s responses. The moment that Monica mentioned the death of Wanda’s Brother and Ultron, also noticing that Monica (who was Geraldine in Wanda’s Westview) wore a pendant that had a Sword in the emblem. After Wanda interrogated her, she grew suspicious and that caused her to be blown out of Westview and the wall.
What works well for this series is that not only an homage to sitcoms but also tackles emotional and psychological trauma, how Wanda was processing the grief she was experiencing and learning how to overcome it and cope with it. If you notice with the later episodes also carry a pattern of how she is in the stages of grief. Jac Schaeffer had an interview with the New York Times’ Dave Itzkoff discussing how she brought WandaVision to life and how they had a Grief Counselor come in and map out the stages of grief for the creative team.
Another fascinating part of WandaVision was the use of Commercials in the show, there was an ongoing pattern that laid out clues about both Vision and Wanda in some way or what was involved. The moment that shook the world was when Pietro suddenly came back from the dead, that Wanda had “recast” him brought fans hope that the X-Men were finally going to come into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It moved into another decade, this time in the late 90s, early 2000s, the twins had powers and grew up rather quick, Vision was in the middle of exploring further away from their house and finds residents of Westview standing frozen in their positions, including Agnes. Vision speaks to Agnes’s real self and she tells him that he is dead. We learn that Agnes isn’t who she seems to be, her real name is Agatha Harkness, one of Marvel’s most powerful Witches and Magic-Users. She has been interfering with Wanda by sending a fake Pietro and killing their pet dog Sparky. Kathryn Hahn is spectacular in this series, fans know her from her roles such as Olivia Octavius’ “Doc Ock” in Spiderman Into the Spider-Verse. She also has a song that highlights her misdeeds, which now thanks to Marvel is currently on Spotify.
Teyonah Parris, who plays Monica Rambeau in the Marvel Cinematic Universe was one of the breakout characters of the show, as mentioned earlier that she was thrown out of the CMBR field and Westview, it changed her molecular structure causing her to have Superpowers. She could relate to the grief that Wanda was experiencing because she was one of the people affected by the Blip when Thanos eliminated half of the Universe in the Infinity War Film. When she returned after Tony Stark sacrificed himself to bring back the universe she learned that her mother passed away from cancer. The final battle between Wanda and Agatha was a visual treat but also served as Wanda coming full circle, into what she truly was and that is being the Scarlet Witch, possessing the most powerful form of magic, Chaos Magic. Wanda and Vision’s Children, played by Julian Hilliard and Jett Klyne were great in their roles of Billy and Tommy who would eventually become Wiccan and Speed a nod to their Young Avengers counterparts.
In the final part of my review, while it paid homage to classic television shows, countless comic book stories, the final episode served not only to close a chapter in Wanda and Vision’s Life together but also set up a new chapter with Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. Also, the battle between Vision and his doppelganger served a great purpose, presenting the paradox of the Ship of Theseus, and mutually agreeing that both of them, in a state of being and not being, is the true Vision. Not until, “Vision” restores the Vision’s true memories as an Avenger and his love for Wanda, that he remembers he was the true Vision. The series was beautiful, well-written, and worth watching. All Nine Episodes are available on Disney Plus.
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