“WandaVision” Series Review: The Twilight Zone of the Marvel Universe

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Corey Osborne
CONTRIBUTOR

Marvel’s “WandaVision” gave Marvel fans something they hadn’t seen before from the very start of the series, but did they keep it up? Photo Courtesy of Marvel Studios.

“WandaVision” (2021) was created by Jac Shaeffer, directed by Matt Shakman, and stars Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Bettany, Kathryn Hahn and Teyonah Parris. The synopsis is as follows: merely three weeks after the conclusion of the Infinity Saga, “Avengers: Endgame” (2019). Avengers Wanda and Vision have settled down in the suburbs of Westview, New Jersey. However, their sudden escape to suburbia is not as it seems.

I recently wrote an article on why you should give “WandaVision” (2021) a chance. This article is a more traditional review of Marvel Studios first foray into the small screen for Disney Plus. I had a glowing review for the first few episodes of the show, but after watching the entirety of the series did my thoughts change?

The way I perceived the series has definitely changed now that I’ve consumed the entirety of the series. That’s not a bad thing, it just means that I don’t hold the same opinions that I initially had, and it’s the reason why I felt the need to revisit it.

The show is a delight to watch. Every episode is an homage to a different era of sitcoms from “The Dick Van Dyke Show” (1961) to “Modern Family” (2009). The best part is that these homages are not simply references to sitcoms, they are genuinely charming and funny. It’s a great reprieve from the darker aspects of the narrative, which leads me to one minor critique. When the veil of mystery is lifted, the show shifts into a more traditional Marvel narrative and loses some of its gravitas.

I compared “WandaVision” (2021) to “The Twilight Zone” (1959) and “Black Mirror” (2011), and while both of those comparisons still stand, I wish the creators of the series leaned more into those influences. The show was at its best when there was a dark foreboding tone that permeated the zany exterior of the sitcom realities that were portrayed episode by episode. With that being said, the show is still one the most unique and satisfying entries in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). None of this would have been possible without the stellar cast of the show.

Elizabeth Olsen was incredible as Wanda Maximoff, and Paul Bettany was awe-inspiring as the Vision. It was an immense joy to see their love story unfold on the small screen. For the uninitiated it might seem a tad bit odd to see an android and a witch be in a loving relationship, but “WandaVision” (2021) makes it work. Both in the sitcom reality and in the real world Wanda and Vision are a force to be reckoned with, and Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany did an amazing job portraying their characters.

Teyonah Parris plays an all grown up version of Monica Rambeau who made her MCU debut in “Captain Marvel” (2019). Parris captures the strength of a person who just wants to do the right thing for the people around her. Her thoughtful, and brave soul is a welcomed addition to the unfolding story of the MCU, and I’m excited to see her in “Captain Marvel 2” later next year.

A stand-out performance from Kathryn Hahn as the “nosey neighbor” Agnes should also be highlighted. Without getting into heavy spoilers, Hahn keeps the viewer guessing about her motives, and provides hilarious comic relief when needed. Agnes is a titular addition to the MCU, and she enhances every scene that she’s in. Her character plays with the audience’s expectations, which is a common theme in the show.

As the show goes on it throws various curve balls in order to keep the audience guessing. This is an extremely proficient tactic because Disney wants to make sure that viewers are staying subscribed to Disney Plus week by week. Unfortunately sometimes I felt like “WandaVision” suffered from some awkward “gotcha!” moments. I understand that it’s important to play with the expectation of the viewers, but some of the misdirections didn’t work from a story standpoint. No, I’m not one of those angry nerds who are dissatisfied because my fan theory was incorrect. I’m just not a fan of when plot twists are a detriment to the plot and seem to take away from the story.

In regards to my final thoughts, I highly recommend that you watch “WandaVision” (2021). The series proves that the folks working at Marvel Studios are so confident in their formula that they’re willing to take risks and implement one of a kind storylines. “WandaVision” may have not committed to its initial tone as much as I would’ve liked it to, but it was a magnificent journey, and if the rest of Marvel’s Disney Plus lineup is as good as this, we’re in for a treat.

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