Marvel gives us its bravest, most adventurous show to date but does it work?
PLOT AND STORY
I always aim to keep my reviews as spoiler free as possible but this series will be very hard not to give away some minor spoilers to explain what it’s all about. **Minor Spoilers Ahead**
We know from the end of Avengers Endgame that Vision is dead but we never see what happens to Wanda. This series shows us exactly what she gets up to post Thanos. As a whole series I found this to be a well constructed story however I do feel it took far too long to actually get to the point. Two episodes in I was bored and completely uninterested in what I was watching. By episode 4 I was more invested as the story had expanded, different characters joined the show and it was finally evident about what the story was and where it was going. By episode 6 I was completely hooked and continued to finish on such a high. I would have liked the first few episodes to have been condensed into one and more meat added to the middle as it did feel a little like an over inflated movie rather than a well structured series.
The show plays homage to sitcoms from the 50’s through to current day and I admire the dedication in making the on screen representation as accurate as it could be. Yes it’s largely stereotypical humour but that’s the style and how the show hangs on these stereotypes to poke fun at the era and the show itself. Although I have no interest in 1960’s sitcoms I find this works really well in telling the story and its connection to Wanda’s sheltered upbringing.
As I previously said, for me it’s the second half of the series that really gets interesting. The introduction and return of a major character in episode 4 opens the door to endless and wonderful possibilities. As the story unravelled I had already guessed this character was going to appear but it was the actor playing said character which I never expected and completely blew me away. How Marvel manages to keep these pivotal moments so secretive has become an art form no other studio can rival.
The last couple of episodes sees the series take a complete shift in direction setting up a dramatic yet somewhat predictable finale. What this series does incredibly well is the way it keeps the audience on their toes by the interchanging plots. The way the show started could not be further from how it ended and makes this a refreshing entry to the Marvel Cinematic Universe which up until this show has been criticized for following the same formula in every other movie/show.
PRODUCTION AND DIRECTION
This show is a visual treat and every episode throughout the sitcom journey we take is beautiful. Towards the end of the series things start to take a slightly darker tone and I was super impressed how the style shifted, at times feeling like an episode from the Twilight Zone.
With streaming services these days shows don’t have to conform to the 22 minute or 42 minute run time and WandaVision takes full advantage of this. The pacing of each episode was perfect for the story being told. Some episodes had a 20 minute story and that was the length of the episode and I admire the producers for not stretching things out longer to just make the episodes a set length. This then returns in later episodes which needed more time to complete the story and run at over 40 minutes. The down side to this though is the inconsistent message it gives for the show as looking back some of the early, short episodes don’t serve much purpose in the grand scheme of the show.
Actors in Marvel movies or shows rarely get award mentions but Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda Maximoff absolutely deserves something for her performance. Her range across the nine episodes is so varied and believable it will be a shame if she gets overlooked. The early episodes show great comedic timing and later in the series, especially episode 8 when she has to revisit some of her childhood memories, she delivers a wonderfully, powerful and dramatic performance.
Paul Bettany returns as Vision and he delivers the same android like personality we are used to from the Avengers movies. His performance at the start of the series as a family man working a 9-5 job was very amusing.
WandVision created a very clever supporting cast to help carry the show through some serious and awkward moments. Kathryn Hahn was on the verge of stealing this series from its main stars with a well rounded hilarious performance in the first half of the series and a lovable yet sinister turn in the second half. Randall Park was a key turning point in the series when he arrived, continuing his innocent and naive yet completely hilarious portrayal as Agent Jimmy Woo (Reprising his role from the Ant Man Movies). Someone else who also brought something different to the show with her wit and deadpan humour was Kat Dennings as Darcy Lewis (Reprising her role from the Thor Movies).
This is a difficult show for me to score because as much as I enjoyed it and loved to see the return of the Marvel logo at the start of something it was very different to what I am used to from a Marvel product. To me the Marvel Cinematic Universe is like a drug, I use it for a certain type of high I can’t get anywhere else and even though every hit is different they are all vastly familiar. This show was so different to anything we have seen before it took me some time to find my feet. I’m not saying different is bad i’m just saying that different is different and for me the different tone and delivery of this show didn’t have the same impact other Marvel products do. I did really enjoy this, especially the second half of the show and I don’t have any real criticism’s but there is just something about it which didn’t make me desperate to see the next episode. I found the first few episodes to be 5/10 and the last few to be 9/10 so my overall score reflects that but I do believe fans of the Marvel brand will take great enjoyment from WandaVision.
I watched this on Disney + and received no incentive to review this show. All images belong to Disney+ and Marvel.