Warning: There are many spoilers ahead, so read at your own risk.
“WandaVision,” a TV series streaming on Disney+ as part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), follows Wanda Maximoff after the events of the Marvel movie “Avengers: Endgame.” This installment begins the next phase of the MCU, dealing with the aftermath of the destruction caused by Thanos, the last villain, in the prior phase. Wanda creates a fake reality with her dead synthezoid husband who was killed in a previous Avengers movie by Thanos himself. Combined with the deaths of her parents and brother, Wanda’s emotions flood into her magic and she imprisons a town to create a sitcom-based fiction where she can grow old with an illusion of her husband. Outside forces and surprise enemies within the town lines present challenges for Wanda, as these combattants work against Wanda for their own purposes, revealed and unrevealed.
When I initially heard of an Avengers-sitcom styled TV show, I scoffed at the idea, wondering who could be so ridiculous as to watch this. However, I could not resist anything Marvel related and soon plopped down to watch this show itself. I was instantly captivated, impatiently waiting for the next Friday of the release of a new episode.
The first episodes exuded a sense of intriguing horror. Set against the backdrop of a normal suburban town, the quirks of Wanda’s creation become apparent as Vision slowly realizes that not everything is as it seems. Although this suspenseful spookiness disappears as more is revealed to the audience, “WandaVision” substitutes this quality for a shock factor. During each episode, a shocking event occurs, captivating the audience until the next episode, whether theorized by the Marvel fandom or not.
Even more intriguing are the vast amounts of Easter Eggs, or messages hidden in an electronic medium, that are apparent in this show. Seemingly meaningless phrases and symbols are all connected to larger themes and developments. The writers brilliantly manage to make these clues reference a lot of storylines, from the comic books to the Marvel Universe to even real life history itself. Each episode follows with a barrage of youtube videos revealing missed Easter eggs and newly conjured, related theories.
The acting of this show is immaculate, with even the most irrelevant character providing a convincing portrayal. Particularly, the casting of Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda Maximoff, Paul Bettany as Vision and Kathryn Hahn as Agatha Harkness stand out. Olsen impressively expresses the massive grief Wanda feels, taking the audience on an emotional journey through such a realistic portrayal. Bettany manages to balance the mechanization of his character with emotions, giving the audience an even greater look into this synthezoid. Lastly, Hahn portrays the secretly evil Agatha Harkness, captivating the audience from the start with double-meaning one liners and a catchy song.
However, a main flaw of “WandaVision” is the shortness of the episodes. With almost ten minute long credits, the episodes end quickly, often leaving the audience feeling slighted. While a successful tactic to convince the audience to return to the next episode, it gets a little annoying as one is left wondering if much really happened that episode.
The most recent episode, the penultimate episode of the show “WandaVision”, was by far the most emotional episode, as it reflected on Wanda’s journey to her creation of the mythical Westview. Showing scenes, happy and sad, of her with her deceased parents, brother and boyfriend, Olsen painstakingly shows the grief Wanda felt through an award-deserving performance by Olsen. In my opinion, “WandaVision” shows an emotional depth within the characters more than many Avengers movies. The TV format accommodates this particularly well as it gives enough time to allow a full fleshing out of the characters, time that is not usually available in movies. Introduced as one of the newer Avengers, this look into Wanda’s feelings allows for her character to be more explored.
Yet, this penultimate episode simply reviewed history, moving very little ahead in the plot and revealing only a few key events. This also leaves much to question as to how all the storyline will be wrapped up in the final episode. The mere 30 minutes are not near enough for all the questions of the complicated storyline to be sufficiently put to rest. Hopefully, the plot will be adequately concluded next episode, not forcing us to wait for the next Marvel project.