Image from Marvel Studios promotional art
by Jon Donohue, staff writer
On Jan. 15, 2021, Marvel Studios released the TV show WandaVision, which takes place in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, or MCU. The show stars Paul Bettany and Elizabeth Olson, both returning to their roles as Vision and the Scarlet Witch, respectively. WandaVision takes place roughly three weeks after the events of Avengers: Endgame, where Wanda and Vision are found to be living in Westview, Indiana. Day to day life in Westview is very questionable, and episode by episode, more and more is revealed about what makes Westview different from other places. True to its high Rotten Tomatoes score of 91 percent, it does not disappoint. Disclaimer: there will be some small spoilers in this article, so if you do not want WandaVision to be spoiled for you, then don’t read this article.
In the preliminary episodes, we learn that Wanda and Vision are living inside of a 1950’s sitcom, bringing up many questions about what is really going on in Westview. The first two episodes are in black and white, and each one is based off of a specific TV show. The first episode was based off of The Dick Van Dyke Show, and each preceding episode has its similarities to TV shows that took place in that time period. Each episode jumps ahead a decade, so older viewers recognized lots of the connections to old TV shows. For example, episode two is based on the 1960’s, the third on the 1970’s, and so on. I personally could not relate, but many older fans were pleased with this format.
I really enjoyed that the first three episodes built up a lot of questions and suspense, while every successive episode fills in a lot of confusing information. We saw at the end of the second episode a mysterious beekeeper, and Wanda just said “no.” Everything totally reversed in time to minutes beforehand. It was like nothing happened. I really liked this because it was dark and mysterious. There was also the moment when Herb just started cutting into a cement wall while acting weird around Vision. I liked this because it got me excited. No one knew what was going on with Westview, but we definitely knew something was wrong. It was killing me to not know what was happening at the time. Each episode gets better with more and more twists. The decision to make the first several episodes a little underwhelming led to more solid concluding episodes.
I really enjoyed the emphasis on grief and Wanda’s past. Wanda spent a lot of her life with her brother, and she eventually lost him. Then, while she was with the Avengers, she still felt the emptiness inside. She found companionship in Vision, but had to watch him die twice. After Avengers: Endgame, she was completely alone. The amazing acting by Elizabeth Olson really made me think about deep things like grief. I felt genuinely sad for Wanda, even though she is a fictional character.
Wanda could be seen as the villain throughout the show, and maybe even the hero. I loved that there was a lot of grey area when deciding who was bad and good. It was never truly clear, even in the ending, on who was doing the right thing.
Additionally, three characters, Jimmy Woo, Monica Raumbau, and Darcy Lewis, despite not being as popular in the MCU are pretty likeable this time around. Jimmy Woo especially, with several throwbacks to his encounters with Scott Lang that were very funny, has become especially popular with fans. Darcy Lewis was relatable to fans, because she was watching WandaVision the same way the fans were. There were a few funny parts when she was watching the broadcast. Monica Raumbau was fun to see since the last time we saw her was when she was very young.
One thing I did not really like about WandaVision was how the finale was overhyped by theorizers on YouTube. As a Marvel fan, I usually watch a few YouTube channels that do reviews on each episode as they are released. I learned the hard way that honestly I did not like watching all the theories and stuff when the show had not even finished yet. All these youtubers overhyped the finale coming up with these crazy ideas that never came to light. I still loved the finale episode, but I know now that in the future I am not going to watch any reviews of episodes until the show is entirely over.
In the end, WandaVision is a great show to watch. The TV format allowed Marvel to tell a story through a unique lens, where each episode has its own specific purpose. Hopefully Marvel can keep this up in the future, for they have much more to release in 2021.
Let’s see how their films Spider-Man: No Way Home, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, Eternals and Black Widow stack up against their TV shows What If…?, Hawkeye, Ms. Marvel, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier and Loki.