Following the epic conclusion of Avengers: Endgame and Spider-Man: Far from Home, the Marvel Cinematic Universe still had many loose ends that were eagerly compelling to fans. Fortunately, some of those loose ends are addressed in one of the most anticipated television series of the year in Marvel’s WandaVision. Creator Jac Schaeffer has concocted an interesting take on how to explain the after-effects of Endgame through the eyes of Wanda Maximoff, who has been grieving the death of Vision alone. Despite her immense power and mostly widespread popularity, Wanda has never explicitly been called the Scarlet Witch as described in the comic-book lore and has never truly explored the source and limits of her power. Regardless of the initially perplexing start of the series, WandaVision truly expands on the MCU in diverse, meaningful ways with the incorporation of supernatural elements but the classic Marvel Studios charm.
To start, the series begins as a 50s sitcom with Wanda (Elizabeth Olsen) and a somehow resurrected Vision (Paul Bettany) as a newly wedded couple moving to the suburbs of Westview while trying to keep their identities and powers contained. The primary conflict of the first episode seems trivial-comedic at best. For example, in one instance, Wanda and Vision ponder on what the heart-shaped symbol on their calendar means with Wanda perceiving it to be their “anniversary” alongside their nosy but friendly neighbor Agnes, while Vision quickly discovers it was a reminder of his dinner with his boss Mr. Hart. The chaos and utter randomness of the first episode is sure to confuse both die-hard fans and casual watchers. However, it likely won’t dissuade them from future episodes, but nothing is for certain. That is the danger of weekly episode releases like WandaVision had. One poor episode can tank appeal and public interest.
The second episode: “Don’t Touch That Dial” warps the time frame to the 60s with the majority of the episode centering around a magic show and Vision’s malfunctioning powers after swallowing some gum. But unlike the first episode, there is firm intrigue here. The idea of a much greater, more sinister conflict is presented when Wanda spots a colored toy helicopter in the black and white setting of the show and then hears someone calling for her through a radio. The end of the episode leaves even more questions with the sudden pregnancy of Wanda after an interaction with an unknown bee keeper from outside of the house. Next, the third episode of the show acts as the turning point of the show and introduces a familiar character from a previous Marvel film (hint: it stars one Carol Danvers in the lead role) that will be expanded upon later in the season and the broader MCU.
As an attempt to limit spoilers for the remaining episodes which reveals much about the Scarlet Witch herself, how Vision was revived, and the anomalies present in Westview, the remainder of this review will be fairly general. Many familiar characters such as Jimmy Woo and Darcy Lewis from previous Marvel films make reappearances and help in the momentous finale. The final conclusion of the series explains the true meaning of the Scarlet Witch and leaves room for Marvel Studios to further explore the fate of other characters following Endgame such as the Falcon and Winter Soldier in their own Disney+ series.
At its core, the show is well-produced with realistic, practical VFX and excellent performances from Olsen and Bettany that stay true to their characters but play around more with their personalities than in previous Marvel films. The different sitcoms are done well to reflect the unique characteristics of each era while also including the Marvel quirks which make the universe its own such as the genius advertisements shown during each episode. Despite all of these clear strong suits of the series though, the first season, and presumably only season, of WandaVision stumbles in its final episode, which felt rushed and poorly executed, especially in resolving the arc of one of the main titular characters.
Flaws aside, WandaVision is an imaginatively conjured TV production, developing a richer origin story for the Scarlet Witch than in Age of Ultron. Though I have not fully indulged into the intricate universe that Marvel has created, this show was still very enjoyable and pleasant to watch albeit some initial confusion from the debut episodes. Whether you are looking for an interesting show on Disney+ to binge or are looking to dive into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, WandaVision is sure to entertain and satisfy.
Marvel Studios presents "WandaVision," 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.
WandaVision is Available Now for Streaming on Disney+