Marvel’s New Limited Series “WandaVision” Surpasses Expectations


Marvel Studios

Wanda and Vision sit on their couch in a replica set of The Dick Van Dyke Show.

After a full year and a half without anything from Marvel, the powerhouse studio has returned with one of the strangest and most unique shows ever. WandaVision stars Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany reprising their roles as Scarlet Witch and Vision. After Avengers: Endgame, the couple moves to a suburban town in New Jersey, living out their ideal life, but layered by a sitcom format that progresses through the decades. As suspicious activity begins to occur, the two of them realize everything is not what it seems.

This first section will be free of spoilers, but if the reader has not watched the show, and wants to watch it from a completely fresh perspective, I suggest watching it before reading this article. However, if you are unsure of whether the show is worth your time, read on and I will try to explain why I think it is.

WandaVision is an interesting, engaging, and mysterious show that always leaves me wanting more

— Anna Roth

What makes WandaVision unique, and, in my opinion, enjoyable, is that six out of the nine episodes of the show are legitimate sitcoms. They are inspired by iconic sitcoms across the decades such as “The Dick Van Dyke Show”, “Bewitched”, “I Love Lucy”, “The Brady Bunch”, “The Mary Tyler Moore Show”, “Family Ties”, “Malcolm in the Middle”, “Modern Family”, and even “The Office”. The production design replicates the sets and aesthetic of those television shows perfectly, providing a fun homage to years of classic television. Even if you haven’t watched these shows, Marvel throws you right into an incredibly entertaining world with characters and performances that you love. Something so unique and fresh is exactly what Marvel needed to convince audiences that they aren’t going anywhere.

Since the show is recreating these sitcoms, the dialogue mimics the manner of speaking that was used throughout the decades. The cast is fully invested in this, also perfectly capturing the style of actors and actresses in those shows. The extreme gestures and exaggerated voices are something that has not been present in pop culture for decades, but WandaVision reintroduces that in an incredible fashion. However, every time one of the characters breaks out of the sitcom reality, the episode shifts from feeling like “I Love Lucy” to feeling like “The Twilight Zone.” The quick changes in tone can catch the attention of the audience, often causing goosebumps to appear and heart rate to increase. The creepiness of the reality breaks is what keeps the viewer invested in the show, which provides an interactive experience, as you are constantly looking for clues and hints as to what is going on. The combo of a love letter to famous sitcoms as well as a slow burn mystery mixes perfectly. Week to week, new fan theories appeared and excitement ramped up. Now that all nine episodes are available on Disney+, people who have been waiting for the entire show to drop will likely binge it in a few days. Its captivating cliffhangers and spooky mystery build is one of the best things that Marvel has to offer within its catalog of content, even with a Best Picture nomination and the biggest movie of all time.

Even if the audience member is not a fan of Marvel, this is something that everyone can enjoy. “WandaVision is an interesting, engaging, and mysterious show that always leaves me wanting more. “I’m definitely not the biggest Marvel fan, but it will go down as one of my favorite shows!” junior Anna Roth stated.

That’s it for the spoiler-free section. Readers should not read the rest if they have not watched all nine episodes.

This is a spectacular start to the post-Endgame era of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. One of the biggest criticisms of Marvel is that they follow a very safe formula that doesn’t change too much throughout the films. This show, however, is way outside of the box. With WandaVision, they took a big risk, and it was a risk worth taking.

Elizabeth Olsen (Wanda), Paul Bettany (Vision), and Kathryn Hahn (Agatha) give three of the best performances inside of the MCU. For an actor to recapture the style of sitcoms is hard. But then to also quickly shift into an intense performance where they are worried or nervous is a higher demand. And all three of them pulled it off, especially Elizabeth Olsen. For example, in episode eight, they dig into Wanda’s past. Olsen gave one of the darkest, saddest, and most emotional performances in that episode. It made the audience sympathize with her and feel what she was feeling.    This show also has a prominent theme of grief. This will be harder to understand if the viewer is watching this without having watched any of the previous MCU installments, but it is still fairly obvious. Wanda Maximoff is a tragic character. She has gone through an unbearable amount of trauma. These themes of grief and not letting go is present from the first episode. Wanda gets progressively sadder and darker throughout the show, and the audience can feel that. One of the most memorable moments from the series is when Vision says to Wanda “What is grief…if not love persevering?”. This line says it all and immerses the viewer in Wanda’s emotions and the trauma that she has experienced.

Many fans were disappointed by the finale. That is understandable. The answers that were given were not the most satisfying, especially those involving Pietro. But the show wasn’t going for shocking answers and stunning action sequences. The reason that the finale is good is because of the characters and emotions. What people don’t understand is that WandaVision is a character-driven show. The goodbye scene between Wanda and Vision is devastating, and that is what the writers and director wanted. It didn’t create some big rift in the Marvel universe. The show is simply about Wanda accepting her trauma and moving on. The show has some very high highs, like emotionally poignant character arcs and fun homage to sitcoms. The finale did expose some of the lower points in WandaVision, but it does not take away from the experience that is watching this series.

Overall, WandaVision is a super fun ride that even non-Marvel people will enjoy. There’s something here for everyone, whether it’s emotion, comedy, fabulous acting, or incredible screenwriting. The payoff is imperfect and the finale could’ve been better, but it delivers on emotions and a satisfying conclusion to this story. All nine episodes of WandaVision are streaming exclusively to Disney+. A regular subscription is required.