“WandaVision” is a great TV series, regardless of whether you like Marvel

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Photo courtesy of Disney+

The cast of WandaVision is stacked with returning Marvel characters, as well as some fantastic new characters that make their marks on the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Alex Kelly, Staff Reporter

*Light spoiler warning for Marvel Cinematic Universe*

 

“WandaVision” is Marvel’s latest TV series, and their first venture onto Disney+, and it is a creative wonder. It is unlike anything that Marvel has done before, and it is the most innovative of the Disney+ original series.

The show follows former Avengers Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) and Vision (Paul Bettany) — Vision was previously assumed dead after the events of Avengers Infinity War — two seemingly perfect lovers. They shoot through numerous different eras of sitcoms, from the ‘70s, like “The Brady Bunch,” to the 21st-century replication of “Modern Family,” with Wanda and Vision starring and living out their original lives in the mock series. Traditional Marvel scenes are prominent as well, with Jimmy Woo (Randall Park) and Monica Rambeau (Teyonah Parris) arguing with Sentient World Observation and Response Department (SWORD) agents on how best to help Wanda inside the bubble she has created around the town of Westview. Over the course of the show, the two storylines converge as the SWORD agents get closer to getting Wand out of her bubble.

Fantastic storytelling throughout each episode leaves the audience on the edge of their seats, and the writer Jac Schaeffer deftly balances laughter and the fun of the show while telling a deeper story. Those familiar with the Marvel movies know that Vision died in Infinity War, and the show travels through some lighthearted episodes, but we also see the grief that Wanda carries as she deals with her lover’s death because Vision is dead outside of her bubble. These scenes pull at the viewer’s heartstrings and portray the reality of grief after the loss of a loved one, and when the season concludes, the director has made Wanda into one of the most likable Marvel characters. 

The plot does not entirely deviate from the traditional Marvel storyline, with the introduction of SWORD and their role in helping Wanda and figure out what she is doing inside of Westview and her self-made bubble. The mystery of what is happening within the town is slowly unraveled as the viewer and the characters ride side-by-side figuring out more and more information about the conflict. In this way, the show is both mystifying and continually intriguing in each episode as we get introduced to tons of new characters and information to piece together the overall puzzle.

Venturing away from the pure storytelling, the show is just one of the most creative pieces of entertainment on any streaming service. The amount of references to old sitcoms and how perfectly they are made in the various episodes is surprisingly well done. The set design pays homage to these sitcoms extremely well and had my parents pointing out things from their own childhoods. The tributes do not stop with the set and story, they even spill into WandaVision’s soundtrack, earning their spoiler-filled earworm theme song a spot onto the top of the iTunes soundtrack list, a song that is very similar to the ‘60s sitcom theme from “The Munsters.” The entire concept of sitcom-storytelling is especially unique and is a risk that clearly paid off. 

As with all things, “WandaVision” is not without imperfections. The episodes are imbalanced, and some of the earlier episodes do not add enough detail into the overall conflict, while later episodes feel packed with conflict and action. The ending was also a little underwhelming, as the writers created so many plot points that they didn’t leave themselves adequate time to wrap them all up. The screen time given to plot points like Monica Rambeau and the evil SWORD director in the final episode just felt like a fraction of what the build-up was. Despite these slight shortcomings, the show is still thoroughly entertaining all the way through.

With all the creativity, this show is most definitely not just for Marvel fans. Yes, it gives some great references to past movies and some even deeper comic book references throughout the episodes, but that is not what it’s all about. It really is a story that entertains using ‘Marvel magic’ the whole way through while also talking about grief and how we deal with it. If you have not seen it, you must watch “WandaVision” — it is a modern playbook on how to make creative and unique television.