WandaVision is the first of many Disney+ series to be set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It’s also the first bit of MCU entertainment we have gotten in quite a while because of the pandemic. That, along with the mind-bending mystery the story offers, had fans especially excited to see the series. Does Wanda and Vision’s latest adventure live up to that excitement, or is this one broadcast worth taking off the air? Let’s give it another viewing to find out.
Something the series was advertised to do was to celebrate classic sitcoms, and it does so perfectly. There are countless homages to old school sitcoms to make those of us who grew up with them (from any decade) happy. They do so with the set design, comedy styles, theme songs, scripted commercials, and other tropes. Of course, they put a bit of a Marvel twist on them to add to the fun. It’s a blast seeing a superhero couple having to struggle with last minute preparations for their boss coming over for dinner or what the nosy neighbor is thinking.
Throughout the series’ nine episodes, there is an intriguing mystery and a feeling that something more is happening in the quaint town of Westview. Something always feels “off,” even after it’s revealed that S.W.O.R.D. agents are trying to investigate from outside of Westview and aren’t affected by whatever is going on inside this “Hex.” This mystery easily pulls in the viewer and makes it almost impossible to not be excited for the next episode.
The acting throughout the show is fantastic. Everyone involved is able to seamlessly blend their comedic sides with their more dramatic ones without ever leaving character. What’s even more impressive is that many of the actors, especially Elizabeth Olsen, switch their acting style to match the decade of sitcom being parodied. Wanda’s dialect matches that of characters from 1960s sitcoms during the early episodes, but feels more modern later on. Kathryn Hahn’s performance as Agnes is also particularly great; so much so that she’s become the breakout star of the show for good reason. She plays a dual role perfectly.
WandaVision stands out from many other MCU properties by focusing on a single, contained narrative rather than spending most of its time building up future stories. This show tells a powerful story about grief and the impact it can have on a person’s mind and emotions. Viewers currently experiencing a loss of a loved one may see themselves reflected. It makes this one of the more emotional stories set in the MCU.
Even though WandaVision focuses on a contained story, it does seem to leave an impact on the rest of the MCU. There is plenty of set up for stories to come, like Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness. It may focus on this one part of Wanda’s life, but it does set up enough to be excited about going forward.
The Vision, one of the most powerful superheroes in the Marvel movies, can apparently be defeated by a piece of gum. When he swallows gum, it prevents him from being in control of his mind, body, and powers. That’s a pretty easy exploit for any villains hoping to take him down. What’s especially bothersome is that we see Vision phase his hand through a person’s throat to remove food he’s choking on in one episode, but can’t remove the gum from his own body in the next. He could have just reached into his body and pulled out the gum that was causing his issues.
Hayward reveals that he’s tracking the Vision while he’s in the Hex. However, Hayward is also in possession of the Vision’s actual body. He and his agents have never interacted with the Vision that’s in the Hex, so how is he able to track him? There was never an opportunity to put a tracking device on him.
This is a minor frustration, but a rather large portion of each episode’s runtime is the credits. If you’re checking to see how long an episode is on Disney+ and it says 39 minutes, that episode is only 30 minutes long. Don’t get your hopes up for a longer episode since most of that extra runtime is a lot of nothing.
On one hand, WandaVision does set up future installments in the MCU quite nicely. On the other, it does mean there are a few plot points that we don’t see resolved here, like Monica’s arc, that will likely be resolved in a future show or movie. This is expected for the MCU at this point, but it’s still a bummer to see a TV series with plot points left open.
WandaVision may be a TV series, but it plays out like a full-length movie, and is a welcome addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It’s humorous when it needs to be and emotional when it needs to be without ever feeling like the wrong tone at the wrong time or feeling like a completely different show. The mystery aspect of the series is exciting and suspenseful. It may be a gradual build-up to the action sequences, but when they happen, the wait pays off. The homages to classic sitcoms are a lot of fun for those who grew up watching them. There may be a couple of noticeable plot holes here and there, but Wanda’s emotional journey is worth seeing.
Rating: 8.5 / 10