Billed as the first television series produced by Marvel Studios, WandaVision is the first of many limited series for Disney Plus centred on supporting characters from the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).
Following the events of Infinity War and Endgame, the Disney Plus original tells the story of Wanda Maximoff and Vision living an idyllic suburban life in the town of Westview, New Jersey. Trying to conceal their true natures, the pair begin to enter new decades and encounter television tropes, the couple suspects that things are not as they seem.
In more ways than one, WandaVision is Marvel Studios’ most creative endeavour. And that’s saying a lot, considering that the studio has ventured into genres outside of the superhero norm. Whether it’s tackling 60s spy thriller in The Winter Soldier or paying homage to sci-fi romps of the 70s in Guardians of the Galaxy, Marvel Studios have established themselves as one of the more versatile studios in Hollywood. By presenting something that we have never seen before, the Disney Plus Original masterfully blends elements of classic television through the eras and what audiences have come to expect from Marvel, while adding a sprinkle of mystery horror here and there.
Which is why the way WandaVision unfolds is annoyingly frustrating. Because it’s part of the Marvel machinery, the show does not seek to deliver a satisfying story. It is merely a cog in a machine that aims to get audiences invested in the upcoming project. Prior to the release of the streaming series, talks about the show leading into Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness played a significant part in building the show’s anticipation. As a result, the goal of WandaVision is to be part of the build-up to a film about Doctor Strange, not to deliver a satisfying story about Wanda Maximoff.
Sadly, the good will that the show built throughout the season are all thrown out the window as the series regresses into your stereotypical superhero ending. The intriguing mysteries are substituted by two individuals shooting laser beams against each other, the show’s unique blend of thriller and horror are thrown out of the window in favour of shooting a CGI beam into the sky. What could have been a mind-blowing ending to a serialised mystery thriller is now more in league with the ending of just about any mediocre superhero film of the last decade.
For a show that had it debut on Disney Plus, WandaVision is deeply irresponsible in the messages that it conveys. In film or TV, the protagonist of any story takes both moral and immoral actions across the course of that story, and it’s the filmmaker/showrunner’s responsibility to understand which actions are which — and to signal to the audience that they have actually thought about this. In WandaVision, this aspect of storytelling is essentially breezed through in favour of franchise building and crossover events.
With Black Widow having been delayed due to the coronavirus, WandaVision is unintentionally our first entry into phase four of the MCU. Following the massive success of Infinity War and Endgame, as well as the rise of Disney Plus, it’s only natural that Marvel is banking in on shows featuring some of their most popular supporting characters. While WandaVision is certainly entertaining to watch, it remains to be seen whether venturing into television was really the right call to make.
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