TV REVIEW: WANDAVISION
'WandaVision' is a bright and original start to Phase 4 of the MCU
By Sal LoCicero | March 10th, 2021
‘It’s been 84 years”, is what many Marvel fans have been thinking lately since we haven’t received anything new from them since ‘Spider-Man: Far From Home’. While many anticipated movies and TV shows were scheduled to release last year, the MCU also had some exciting features of their own. Marvel was going to debut their fourth phase starting with ‘Black Widow’ and ‘Falcon and The Winter Soldier’ which was supposed to hit Disney+ much earlier and prior to ‘WandaVision. They also had planned to debut Chloé Zhao’s ‘Eternals’ back in November.
Speaking of ‘WandaVision’, it has (so far) become the most popular show of the year. While ‘The Mandalorian - Season 2’ was the most talked about show at the end of 2020, ‘WandaVision’ appears to have taken its place.
From the pilot episode to its finale, ‘WandaVision’ has proven to be one of the most intriguing shows to be released this year. The pilot episode titled: ‘Filmed Before a Live Studio Audience’ is filled with mystery, leaving the viewer with many unanswered questions. It pays homage to sitcoms reminiscent from the 1950s. It also brings in the retro 1.33:1 aspect ratio that was used for shows of that era. The effort that went into both the pilot and episode 2 ‘Don’t Touch That Dial’, was truly fantastic.
As we dive into episode 3 titled: ‘Now In Color’, things start to get even more bizarre. In episode 3, which feels like it was directed by Charlie Kaufman, everything starts out perfectly normal in the brand-new spectrum of Technicolor, and ends up turning into what might be a hint of something gone terribly wrong.
In Episode 4: ‘We Interrupt This Program', we come to realize that its sole purpose is to provide the viewer with background as to what has been going on in the previous three episodes. It’s pretty much Marvel’s way of helping everyone grasp what they have been witnessing. It’s understandable as to why Marvel and creator Matt Shakmann decided to go this route; although the explanation could’ve been entirely improved.
Episode 5: ‘On a Very Special Episode…’ is where the show's sitcom subplot begins to be revealed. Many characters who are forced to participate in this alternate reality begin to wake up when Vision (Paul Bettany) touches them on their head. Vision's touch brings the characters back to reality from their trance-like state. Episode 5 doesn't really have much to offer, other than providing clarity to its predecessors, and revealing its shocking ending; which is the best fan-service this show has offered.
Every show has a standout episode, whether it’s Breaking Bad, Game Of Thrones, or Stranger Things, and ‘WandaVision’ episode 6: ‘All-New Halloween Spooktacular!’ is no different. Shining like a bright star among all others in the series; it’s as original, nostalgic and bizarre as it could possibly be. Paying homage to kids shows from the early-2000s, it provides a very kid friendly vibe of which Marvel Studios has never really explored before. It is both fun and wacky; however, stay tuned as the final five minutes will have you on the edge of your seat begging for more.
Episode 7: ‘Breaking The Fourth Wall’, episode 8: ‘Previously On’, and episode 9: ‘The Series Finale’, present as a trilogy. The only difference between all three, is in episode 7’s tone; which is a knock off of the show ‘Modern Family’. Other than that, all three episodes could be interpreted as one long extended movie. The mystery finally unfolds, allowing the viewer to witness the question that's been lingering since the pilot. We get an understanding as to why Wanda Maximoff is in her own fantasized reality, we uncover the main antagonist; who unfortunately, comes off weak in the finale, and we get a finale, which while satisfying, is somewhat flawed. The CGI could almost be compared to 2018’s Black Panther, which if you recall, was really bad. Some character reveals presented more questions then were really acknowledged, and for - what Marvel claims is “the series finale”; the episode does a half assed job.
The strongest part of ‘WandaVision’ is the cast, especially the two leads; Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany whose acting is totally on point. Kathyrn Hahn is one of the many scene-stealers, along with Evan Peters, who still hasn’t lost his charm. Teyonah Parris and Rendall Park are both great, leaving you to want more from their characters. Marvel Studios was doing just fine without Kat Denning as Darcy Lewis and this show proved it. Matt Shakmann, who has a long career in television, definitely shows off his directing skills. Jac Shaeffer’s writing blends perfectly with the tone and the directing. The cinematography is very reminiscent of ‘Avengers: Age Of Ultron, having the same cinematic look.
Given that the MCU has so many secrets in their studio office, your best guess is that this is not the end for this show. There may not be a second season, but a spin-off series feels the most accurate. If you are a Marvel fan, you’ll love this show a lot. If you are not a Marvel fan, you’ll still enjoy it.