Review: WandaVision begins a brilliant start for the future of Disney’s Marvel Studios

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Elizabeth Olson as Wanda Maximoff and Paul Bettany as Vision in Marvel Studios’ WANDAVISION, exclusively on Disney+. (Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. ©Marvel Studios 2021. All Rights Reserved.)

by Bradley Gonzales, Staff Writer

In the wake of massive success, Avengers: Endgame, Marvel Studios took a hiatus that lasted an extensive 1.5 years. With the release date being pushed back consistently for Black Widow, fans were hungry for new content. The newest release in the already jam-packed Marvel Cinematic Universe, titled WandaVision, excites, confuses, and is well worth the wait.

Elizabeth Olsen stars as Wanda Maximoff, one of two superhero twins. Paul Bettany returns as Vision, Wanda’s loving cyborg husband, who was seemingly killed off in Avengers: Infinity War but has been mysteriously resurrected. The super-couple finds themselves in Westview, New Jersey in a 1950’s themed sitcom. That’s right – A sitcom.

Starting off the fourth phase of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the show is missing one of the hallmarks of any piece of superhero media: action. There are zero through the first three episodes and have little to no action in the rest of the nine-episode season.

This shocked audiences. Many were left wondering why a sitcom was the logical next step for an epic superhero franchise that heavily relies on its awesome battle scenes.

Despite the initial confusion, WandaVision has charmed audiences, scoring a 93% on Rotten Tomatoes and an 8/10 on IMDB.

Each episode seems to correspond to a decade in its stylistic choices. The first two episodes take place in a black-and-white 50’s and 60’s monochromatic world with later episodes representing the following decades in color. The way each era has been recreated was masterfully done thanks to a feature film-sized budget.

The show cultivates an idyllic suburban life for Wanda and Vision. But, as the plot progresses, mysterious and strange occurrences become more noticeable, causing audiences to question whether reality is being whimsically bent – or if something much more sinister is going on.

Being creative pioneers at heart, Marvel Studios didn’t make the safe play and follow the modern superhero formula where both protagonist and antagonist are clearly defined. Marvel Studios’ prior success granted them room to make something fresh and different.

The imaginary town of Westview is under Wanda’s spell Westview’s inhabitants are forced to play along in a town that seems to be rehearsed like a TV show.

Outside of a forcefield around Westview, there is a joint effort from Sentient World Observation and Response Department or S.W.O.R.D. and the FBI to figure out exactly what is happening and how to help.

 Once these agencies are introduced in the show, some familiar faces return as well. Kat Dennings reprises her role as Dr. Darcy Lewis, Randall Park returns as Special Agent Jimmy Woo, and Teyonah Parris plays Monica Rambeau, daughter of Maria Rambeau in Captain Marvel.

Rambeau finds herself in Wanda’s bubble which is dubbed “The Hex” and tries to infiltrate Wanda’s altered reality. With the belief that there is a larger threat Rambeau befriends Wanda with the intention to save her from danger. Rambeau mistakenly mentions Wanda’s dead brother Pietro, also known as Quicksilver. This is something that directly contradicts Wanda’s constructed reality and is promptly thrown out of The Hex by Wanda. It’s at this moment Rambeau realizes that Wanda is behind it all. 

With the tables turned, fans have questions. Is Wanda evil? How is Vision even alive? Is he alive? These unknowns are still swirling in fan’s minds as the season continues but there is one cameo that can change the MCU forever.

Spoiler Warning: If you have not seen Episode 5 do not read further.

Pietro is back! In a scene where Vision is questioning his present reality, there is a sudden knock at the door. To both Wanda and Vision’s disbelief, Quicksilver is at their doorstep, and a family reunion ensues. Things aren’t quite what they seem, as something is different… very different. That’s because it’s 21st Century Fox’s Quicksilver from the X-Men franchise played by Evan Peters rather than the one from the MCU played by Aaron Taylor-Johnson.

This revelation opens the door for a multiverse – an opportunity for Marvel Studios to introduce their newly acquired X-Men – a principle that will almost surely be explored in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness with Elizabeth Olsen confirmed to return as Wanda Maximoff in early 2022.

Overall WandaVision scores a 9/10 with a creative plot, great acting, charming set pieces and a promising set up for the future of Marvel Studios.

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