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Saturday, May 18, 2024

Review: ‘WandaVision’

Disney’s newest original series is everything we miss about Marvel movies

“WandaVision” takes place after “Endgame” in a suburban town where Wanda Maximoff (played by Elizabeth Olson) and Vision (played by Paul Bettany) settle down in hopes of raising a family together and living in the comfortable peace they never reached throughout their lives. 

“WandaVision” started out as a playful sitcom, but it lacked that classic energetic and adventurous component of Marvel movies. Each episode takes on a different decade as the setting, with the first episode set in the ‘50s. The show begins as a scripted black-and-white sitcom, where everything seems eerily perfect as two superheroes try to make their lives seem normal. “WandaVision” is the first collaboration with Disney+ and Marvel, so I blamed the bland beginning on Disney+, but the show definitely picks up and becomes the classic Marvel story that we love. 

Fans expected “WandaVision” would be a chance to show Wanda’s Romani and Jewish roots. The controversy first started when they hired the talented—but blonde—Olson to play Wanda. Fans of the original comic were upset that casting directors missed an opportunity to have a character that followed the original comic. Understandably, whitewashing the character made fans upset when she first entered the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). This addition was a possibility for Olson’s character to gain more depth and provide representation, but it fell short and merely referenced Wanda’s Sokovian roots (a fictional country in the MCU) as well as raises questions as to where her once very noticeable accent went. 

Despite the ongoing disappointment of missed opportunities for representation, the show is entertaining, and I will be tuning in to future episodes. Olson plays Maximoff beautifully; she’s an amazing actress, and I’ve loved her since she was first introduced, even if she did try to kill off a bunch of different characters—we all make mistakes. The first two episodes were a bit boring, but mostly because it started off as a type of “I Love Lucy” sitcom that included a cringeworthy laugh track. The episodes were not as intriguing as what we are used to seeing with the fast-paced Marvel environment, but I stuck through it, and in the middle of the first episode, they gave us a sneak peek into something that gave me hope that the show wouldn’t be as bland as it seemed. By episode four the show took a quick turn toward entertainment. 

I don’t know exactly what I was expecting when I first saw trailers for “WandaVision,” but it certainly was not that Wanda was turning into an antagonist, abusing her abilities. The show is full of surprises, but the one that I am most grateful for is the trio star of the show: Monica, Jimmy and Darcy. The three characters are the best ones in the entire series; their interactions with each other make this series entertaining and fresh. It’s nice to see side characters take a step into action, and I loved seeing how they turned out since the last time we saw them in their respective movies and shows. Because I’m not a comic reader, I was always left to guess and look up conspiracy theories about the fate of the side characters, so their addition into the show as main characters was happily welcomed. 

The newest episode brings in Evan Peters as Quicksilver, a potential crossover between superhero universes. By universes, I mean franchises—Peters plays Quicksilver in the “X-Men” movies. While I loved seeing him in the newest episode, mostly because it’s always nice to see him as a character that’s not a brooding teenager, his appearance meshes the worlds together. Nevertheless, Peters was a nice surprise, and he plays the role of the pesky twin brother who is sarcastic and lovable all at once. But he brings in a very different role than what fans would have thought he’d take on. He essentially encourages Wanda to continue torturing people to live out her cruel fantasy with her dead husband. There are also ideas that this recasting of her brother (in Darcy’s words) is because of Mephisto, the villain that people are assuming is taking over this show. While the show hasn’t overtly alluded to him just yet, fans have guessed that the demon character is the one behind Wanda’s altered reality.

Overall, the show has an interesting take and is a beautiful addition to the Marvel Universe. We’ve always known that Wanda is one of, if not the most, powerful Avenger in the MCU, but this show illustrates exactly how powerful Wanda is. When we take a second to think about exactly what Wanda is doing and how she is taking control of an entire town, it’s frightening. “WandaVision” is an entertaining show that feels like a Marvel movie, giving me the same excitement I had watching all of my superheroes take the screen for the first time so long ago. 

Written by: Itzelth Gamboa — arts@theaggie.org


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