What amuses you the most by the time you finish watching all the nine episodes of the new Disney + original series WandaVision is how the storytelling expands, similar to how the screen aspect ratio expands. I paused watching the show in the middle of the first episode and wondered for a second whether I am about to witness the MCU’s downfall. But as the show progressed, it became more and more exciting, and to be honest, looking at the whole concept behind this series, I must say that it was a terrific choice to be MCU’s OTT debut.
Spoiler Alert! If you have been waiting for all the episodes to get released so that you can binge-watch them all, well, the whole review might well be a spoiler for you. So we are shown this black and white sitcom featuring both Wanda and Vision in the first episode of the series, which obviously looks funny but doesn’t give you any clue about the nature of the show. But as the story progresses, we see this drastic increase in the world around them, and we are suddenly seeing them in another era of the Television sitcom. Wandavision is basically a mystery thriller that eventually tells us why we see it in this format.
If you look at it, almost everyone at the end of Avengers Endgame got closure or hope for a new life. It was only Wanda Maximoff who had to go through an extremely sad phase. In fact, she is the only character among these superheroes who was constantly losing the one person who was dear to her. In that aspect, Wanda is the most emotionally tortured person in this superhero universe. The soul of Wandavision comes from the thought of what someone could do when the amount of tragedy becomes too much for them to accommodate. And that gives rise to a very grey space where the person in trauma will have the shade of good and evil. And this grey nature of the content makes Wandavision fascinating compared to the movies, where it was mostly black and white.
The show directed by Matt Shakman and created by Jack Schaeffer has an escalating structure in terms of the narrative pattern. First, it perplexes you with the sitcom structure. Then it breaks the sitcom narrative in a very clever way. Then it projects the protagonist in an antagonistic shade and enters the grey zone I mentioned. The moral ambiguity through which Wanda goes through towards the end of the season was fabulous in terms of drama. I was a tad disappointed seeing the more of an avengers-like end to the season, but there was still more than enough in the story that unfolded, making you feel overwhelmed.
Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda Maximoff pulls off a terrific performance. Unlike the movies, where she is seen as a constantly grieving person, here you have her being more human (inhuman too). The initial humor bits, the romantic dynamic with Vision, the maternal transformation, and the ultimate transformation to becoming Scarlet Witch, this time the spectrum of emotions was wide, and in each zone, she delivered exceptionally well. Paul Bettany also gets to play lighter and emotionally intense versions of the iconic Vision. The chemistry between the two is terrific on-screen, and that helps the series immensely in intensifying the dilemma and pain through which Maximoff was going through. Another fabulous addition to the cast is Kathryn Hahn as Agnes, the neighbor. The character has drastic transformations and a wicked sense of humor, and Hahn was able to pull it off with ease and grace. The series uses many characters from the MCU movies to take the story forward, and we are given an idea about their contribution to the upcoming MCU movies.
I personally was a bit skeptical when I got to know that some of the creations in the next phase of MCU will be shows for the OTT platform. But looking at the way Wandavision has explored this medium’s perks, I have started to look at it as more of a creative decision rather than a plan to expand the business. Just have the patience to sit through the show’s sitcom nature for the first two episodes; the rest of it is captivating and original.
Just have the patience to sit through the show's sitcom nature for the first two episodes; the rest of it is captivating and original.
Green: Recommended Film
Orange: Okay, Watchable, Experimental Films
Red: Not Recommended