WandaVision series review (2021)

WandaVision is the most personal, creative, original, and unique piece of content the Marvel Cinematic Universe has ever produced. It starts off a bit weird, but sticking with it till the end is incredibly rewarding.

Due to 2020, the lack of Marvel content for an entire year really took a toll on me and I believe I speak for most of the fanbase. I guess we’ve been spoiled by Disney and Marvel Studios since it was popping out between two and four MCU films every year. Think about this; the last MCU movie to release in theaters was Spider-Man: Far From Home, which was July 2, 2019. The next one to release is Black Widow, which is tentatively scheduled for a May 7, 2021 release date, but who knows if that’ll hold up. Even if it does, it’ll be close to two years since the last movie. No one ever thought something like this would happen, but here we are. Thankfully, Disney+ is a thing and WandaVision is finally here in its entirety for all of fandom to experience. If I’m being honest, it’s probably the riskiest project Marvel has embarked on, but it paid off in a multitude of ways.

Throughout its build up, I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect. I’ve read comic book story lines, such as Tom King’s The Vision (which is fantastic), and Brian Michael Bendis’ House of M. I figured both of these stories would heavily influence what would transpire in WandaVision. I can say, in some ways, you can see the inspiration in the series from these trippy, different comic books. However, I can confidently say WandaVision is its own thing and sets up a number of exciting stories to come in the MCU.

Taking place not long after the events of Avengers: Endgame, Wanda and Vision go away to live the typical suburban life in a New Jersey town known as Westview. As they make an effort to blend in and not reveal who they really are, they go through a series of different types of television genres, specifically sitcoms. As it goes on, they begin to realize something is off and not everything is as it seems.

It starts off extremely weird. As stated and most know according to the build-up, most of the series is portrayed as a sitcom. For example, it goes from The Dick Van Dyke Show, to The Brady Bunch, to Full House, and even Modern Family. Those who have seen these shows, as soon as you watch the different episodes of WandaVision, you’ll be able to pinpoint each show it’s trying to emulate, and it’s pretty neat. But, as stated, it’s still pretty bizarre. If you aren’t a fan of any of these kinds of shows, I can understand why you might be a bit turned off by what WandaVision is trying to accomplish, especially considering what we’ve already seen and what came before it.

This series is simply one you have to stick with, though. Each and every episode reveals something entirely new and it leaves you theorizing and anticipating what’s going to come next. Out of every film I’ve seen in the MCU, this is the one that left me thinking about every single possibility, especially with all of the hints and callbacks to certain moments in the MCU, and even some comic book storylines. Of course, some things did end up happening, but most of the outlandish theories and all the speculation didn’t come through. I have no one else to blame but myself, however, since I didn’t keep my expectations in check. Then again, it doesn’t mean I enjoyed the series any less.

I believe WandaVision taught everyone a valuable lesson in terms of letting the writers tell the story they want to tell rather than getting upset or being disappointed when something you were hoping for never comes to fruition. It’s extremely critical to let creators do exactly that: create. They shouldn’t have to live up to the expectations of the fans and should focus on what they want to do and bring to life the story they’ve envisioned, and WandaVision excelled in that.

How the story progresses is phenomenal. Each revelation in each episode only gets you more hooked for the next installment, and how the characters change from episode to episode is excellent. It was impressive seeing how different these characters can be from one episode to the next according to the setting around them and what’s happening in the story. Every big detail truly does change things according to how the story is told and how the characters interact with each other. It’s another piece of story structure I have yet to see in anything else. The way it sets up future stories is exciting as well. Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness may be my most anticipated upcoming MCU release. That is, of course, if we aren’t counting Spider-Man: No Way Home, which I also think will have major multiverse implications.

Let’s talk about Elizabeth Olsen, who’s simply phenomenal in this series. She’s had her moments in the MCU and has shown slight glimpses of greatness. In this series, she’s really given the freedom and room to really grow into this character and deliver something we have yet to see from her. She truly sells everything she’s doing and as a viewer, it’s easy to buy into what she’s trying to accomplish with her performance. It’s incredibly layered and detailed and it’s hard to think of another character in the MCU who has been able to hit so many different themes and tones with a specific character. I’m sure there’s some out there, of course, and this statement isn’t saying there isn’t. But, this is definitely Olsen’s moment as Wanda, and she hits it out of the park. How she copes with her grief, her interactions with the people around her, and how she digs deeper into her skillset and powers is some of the best character development the MCU has produced.

Paul Bettany isn’t far behind as Vision either. I honestly don’t think Bettany gets the credit he deserves. I remember reading somewhere that he thought his career was over before Marvel came along. It’s very shocking to see since he’s such a talent this industry needs more of. For the most part, Vision provides most of the comedic relief in this series, especially in the first three episodes. I would discuss a bit more about his character, but that’s definitely diving into spoiler territory, and this is a story you need to experience for yourself. But, expect to see a different Vision. It’s one you definitely aren’t used to. Then again, there are certain beats and familiar sequences you’ll recognize from this character, which in all, creates something refreshing and entertaining to watch.

One standout is Teyonah Parris as Monica Rambeau. Making her MCU debut, she’s another character to lookout for in future films. I’m looking forward to seeing what exactly is her role in Captain Marvel 2. There’s an interesting dynamic between her and Carol Danvers that’s hinted at in the series, so I’m eager to see how that plays out and how this movie expands on this storyline. I was also impressed with both Kat Dennings (Darcy) and Randall Park’s (Jimmy Woo) roles as well. It may not seem like it sometimes, but their part in this series is pretty critical and they become a duo to root for, along with Monica, who does most of the dirty work.

Josh Stamburg as Tyler Hayward really got on my nerves. He seems to be an absolute jerk for no apparent reason, and once you figure out who he really is, you dislike him even more. You think he’s destined to rise to something even more villainous as the series goes on, but he never really does. A slight disappointment, but again, keep your expectations and wild speculations in check.

The fan favorite has to be Katherine Hahn as Agnes, though. For the majority of the series, she plays a bright, clever, and sometimes annoying neighbor. You get the impression there’s something more to her based on certain scenes and how she conducts herself. Then again, I’ll let you see it firsthand (if you haven’t seen it already, obviously).

WandaVision excels in more ways than one. It does start off somewhat different than almost anything we’ve seen, but it pays homage to what it’s trying to copy, while also crafting its own narrative. The payoff and end result was worth it, at least for me, and I truly feel if most people give it a chance (for those that haven’t), they’ll be glad they did. It’s original and unique, but also lives up to what we’ve already witnessed with the MCU. I hope this isn’t the last time we see something like WandaVision.

Score: A


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