WandaVision is a superhero based television miniseries, based on the Marvel Comics characters, Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch and Vision. WandaVision is set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) and takes place shortly after the events of the film, Avengers: Endgame. WandaVision is exclusive to Disney+ and is the first series to feature in the MCU.
Across its nine episodes, WandaVision drastically changes episode by episode, as the series progresses. At the beginning of the series, we are introduced to main characters Wanda and Vision in a sitcom style tv show, set in the 1950s. Each following episode progresses through the decades, keeping up with the sitcom style to the show and takes inspiration from popular pop culture tv shows like The Dick Van Dyke Show and Malcolm in the Middle to name a few. The shows ability to capture the essence of a decade through set design and costume, all in a twenty minute episode is astonishing. It’s not surprising that Marvel reportedly spent nearly $25 million on each episode, given the attention to detail went to in perfecting every single scene.
The end of the series is a complete contrast to that whimsical, eccentric sitcom approach in the early episodes. Instead it feels much more like a Marvel movie with impressive visual effects and a stellar cast. I was worried initially as to how the Marvel movies would translate into a television series, but WandaVision is executed perfectly, carrying over all of that charm and character from the big screen. The early episodes can feel a little slow at times, but this is simply as a result of the sitcom style nature to these episodes, as the series progresses the pace quickly picks up.
Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany reprise their roles as Wanda Maximoff and Vision respectively and are undeniably the stars of the show. Not only are their overall performances brilliant, but their ability to adapt to an ever-changing environment is unparalleled. It’s one thing shifting your performance for each episode to suit the period, but to then be able to match the dark tonal shifts in each episode make their performances so captivating. Elizabeth Olsen particularly does a fantastic job at capturing the trauma her character has gone through and forming an emotional connection with the audience.
Whilst the supporting cast might not get as much credit as the superhero leads, they deserve just as much recognition! WandaVision sees Kathryn Hahn and Teyonah Parris debut in the MCU as well as Randall Park and Kat Dennings reprising their roles from Ant-Man and the Wasp and Thor: The Dark World. Kathryn Hahn’s appearance sees her as the character Agatha Harkness, a witch who masquerades as Wanda and Vision’s nosy neighbour and is simply amazing in the role. She undoubtedly makes the role her own and I love that Marvel are casting actors you wouldn’t necessarily think of as heroes/villains, but nailing the casting through quality writing and authentic acting performances.
The performance of the cast is brilliant, but the development of the characters cannot go unnoticed either. The series does a fantastic job at illustrating Wanda Maximoff’s past grief and trauma as the show explores her trauma through a series of innovative ‘commercials’ and flashbacks. As a result, the audience are left emotionally invested in her character and I think the show has done a good job at affirming Wanda as a fan favourite character. Likewise, the introduction of the character Monica Rambeau, played by Teyonah Parris, is eloquently executed and sets her up nicely for Captain Marvel 2 which she is set to star in, when it is released next year.
Be it hardcore fans of the comics or just casual fans of the MCU, the series caters for all forms of Marvel fans. There are dozens of subtle (and not so subtle!) nods to the comics books through costumes, storylines and supporting characters which will appease diehard fans, plus plenty of references to the MCU and previous Marvel films for casual viewers. WandaVision takes place approximately 3 weeks after the events of the film Avengers: Endgame, meaning WandaVision is mandatory watching to understand the events of future Marvel films.
Marvel’s first television series set in the MCU is unquestionably a success. WandaVision takes all of the humour, comic book fandom and feel good elements from the big screen and combines them with a dark and cryptic sitcom-style, to create a unique and wonderful series. WandaVision is certainly one of Marvel’s more abstract pieces but this magical, slightly bonkers at times, approach gets nearly everything right. I just hope future Marvel series’ can equally follow suit.
WandaVision breaks the classic superhero mould with its magical and mysterious approach, making it one of the most engaging and entertaining entries into the MCU so far.