Wandavision: a Marvel fan’s review

Please stand by for Wandavision spoilers. After the first two episodes of the Marvel TV series hit Disney+ on January 15th, fans brought Wandavision to the top spot on streaming charts and for the next seven weeks the show would continue to be immensely popular, drawing more viewers each week.

Wandavision is the first television series Marvel Studios has produced for Disney+ and takes place after the events of Marvel’s most recent movie release, Avengers: Endgame which was released in May of 2019.

Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) and Vision (Paul Bettany) are both characters that had supporting roles in previous Marvel movies. Both appearing for the first time in Avengers: Age of Ultron in 2015, Wanda and Vision have been in four total Marvel movies including Avengers: Endgame, who’s events set up the premise of the series. Long-time Marvel fans will notice illusions to other Marvel films throughout the show.

Shot in black and white, the first two episodes of the nine-episode series mimic sitcoms from the 1950’s and 1960’s, and show Wanda and Vision trying to fit into their average neighborhood, despite having anything but average superhuman abilities. While these first episodes follow a typical sitcom structure, they also hint that something strange is happening.

Almost too quickly the charming sit-com style is severed by eerie science fiction/fantasy. By episode three viewers learn that the world they’ve been watching is actually an impenetrable dome, created by Wanda. The rest of the series cuts between government attempts to break in and dismantle the dome and Wanda’s struggles with discovering her true power and keeping her family safe. The show tackles topics such as found family, grief, and trust.

Each of the first six episodes is set in a different decade, from the 1950’s to the 2000’s, and the set, costumes, direction, and dialogue change to fit each decade. The final three episodes are action packed with shocking revelations, battle scenes, and an ambiguous ending that gives fans much to speculate for the future of Marvel films.

Wandavision gave fans a deeper look into characters they had met before like Wanda and Vision, while also bringing completely new characters into the mix such as government agent Monica Rambeau (Teyonah Parris) and Wanda’s nosy neighbor Agnes (Kathryn Hahn.) The show brought back characters fans hadn’t seen in a while such as Darcy Lewis (Kat Dennings,) a scientist whose last appearance was in Thor: The Dark World in 2013, and FBI agent Jimmy Woo (Randall Park) who last appeared in the movie Antman and the Wasp in 2018. I enjoyed seeing these characters take on bigger roles and hope to see more of them in the future.

Newer characters like Monica Rambeau and Agnes were fully fleshed out and brought complications to the plot. Agnes, who we find out is the main villain of the series, is fueled by jealousy and poses as Wanda’s close friend to try and eliminate her. Despite being a villain it’s safe to say Agnes was a fan favorite for her comic relief and witty dialogue throughout the series.

For those who haven’t seen every Marvel movie ever made, the series works to explain important plot points through flashbacks and character dialogue. Additionally Disney+ created short introductory videos people could watch to get caught up on relevant Marvel plot points. I felt the show did well explaining necessary information within each episode, but I had seen all the Marvel movies prior to watching the show, so I did not go in blind.

As an avid Marvel Cinematic Universe fan I thoroughly enjoyed Wandavision. I loved the way each episode was designed around a different decade and I felt the acting, costumes, and set brought me fully into the world. I almost wish there had been more episodes focused on Wanda and Vision’s lives through different decades, though some fans felt bored by the seemingly plot-less beginning episodes.

Paul Bettany brings new life to a role he’s been in since the first Marvel Cinematic Universe film in 2008, while Elizabeth Olson shows her vast talent as an actress, mimicking actors from each decade and bringing so much heart to her character. Kathryn Hahn completely nails her role as a villain and the rest of the cast pulls viewers completely into the story.

After the first eight episodes, I was a bit disappointed by the finale. Starting off action packed with duel battle scenes, moving into Wanda’s discovery of her true power, and ending on a sad but hopeful note, the last episode felt much more like a typical Marvel film, which was fine, but didn’t fully match the wonder and unique storytelling the rest of the series utilized. I enjoyed the way the series ended and thought it set up for future films, and I was fully satisfied with the nine episode structure.

Wandavision made me laugh at times, made me cry at others, and offered wisdom right alongside wonder. I was totally captivated by the portrayal of different decades and the many plot twists kept me interested. I grew to love the characters and I felt both the writing and acting gave these characters depths we’ve never seen before. If you’re a Marvel fan this show continues the Marvel universe beautifully, and even if you know nothing about Marvel, this show is still entertaining and enjoyable.