REVIEW: Marvel Studios' WandaVision Is Bold, Exciting, Creative & Absolutely Insane. Pop Culture Weekly with Kyle McMahon has your review of the kick off to Marvel Cinematic Universe Phase 4
Since the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) launched back in 2008 with Iron Man, we've gotten a steady dose of Marvel Studios movies throughout each year. With each movie intricately weaving into the other films in the franchise, this ultimately culminated 11 years later with the climactic Avengers: Endgame which grossed $2.798 billion around the world. While the film served as an ending to The Infinity Saga, with Spiderman: Far From Home as a coda, Endgame also set up events that will have repercussions for every Marvel Studios project going forward. And then due to the pandemic, for the first time we got no MCU projects at all in an entire year.
We're finally getting our first MCU project since July 2019 with WandaVision, which also happens to be the first Marvel Studios series. The Disney+ series bills itself as "a blend of classic television and the Marvel Cinematic Universe in which Wanda Maximoff and Vision—two super-powered beings living idealized suburban lives—begin to suspect that everything is not as it seems". This description is dead on accurate.
WandaVision is set up in sitcom format with each episode taking place in a different decade, starting with the 1950's. The first episode re-introduces us to Wanda and Vision, a seemingly happy couple living the perfect life. While the first three episodes I saw don't explain how Vision is alive following the events of Avengers: Endgame, it doesn't much seem to matter just yet. We are just dropped into their lives. Vision goes to work each day while Wanda stays home taking care of the house - it is the 50's after all. They have the perfect house. The perfect relationship. The perfect life. At least it looks that way on the surface. Underneath the surface though, something more sinister is lurking. I can't quite put my finger on it and I doubt any viewer will be able to at first either, but it's definitely there.
There is a moment where a certain conversation, seemingly innocent, triggers Wanda into deep hypnotic thought that forces us as the viewer to question ourselves. As a viewer, we wonder if Vision is really dead and Wanda is dreaming this? Did she somehow revive him? Is this some alternate multi-verse? At least through the first three episodes, these questions aren't answered. But the dread is there. The music changes from a decade appropriate soundtrack to a dark, disturbing soundscape reminding us that something is very, very wrong. As the series goes on, this underlying horror seems to creep in to this perfect life more and more often.
I don't want to give away too much, as this is a much anticipated series and it deserves you to take the ride yourself. I will say that WandaVision is a creative and rewarding risk on behalf of Marvel Studios and it's president Keven Feige. The first Marvel Studios series - and the first project for MCU's Phase 4 - has a lot riding on it and it would have been incredibly easy to give us an easily digestible action or adventure title and it would have been successful. WandaVision is not that and Marvel Studios is better for it.
WandaVision really is an avant garde stroke of genius. It's a highly stylized series using sitcoms as a metaphor for the escape they give us from reality. It even features an in-universe commercial in each episode which are nefariously demented, though again, I'm unable to put my finger on exactly why that is. It's also serves as a statement on women's roles through the decades which is an interesting twist for Marvel Studios second project centering around a woman.
Even the title works on multiple levels with it being a nod to the '-Vision' gimmick uses throughout the years, like Wonkavision or Smell-O-Vision. The title also quite obviously refers to the two main characters. The third potential layer of the title hints that maybe this is all just Wanda Maximoff's vision of what she wants. And that multi-layered insanity is what is so rewarding about WandaVision.
WandaVision is an insane, wild, weird series that is bold, exciting and creative. It quite literally marks a new Phase of the MCU in many ways including the first series for the MCU and the first chapter of Phase 4. WandaVision is a wild, sometimes disturbing ride that gives these two characters a spotlight while pushing the bigger story forward. WandaVision is one helluva weird ride, but it's going to be a ride that you love.