´´WandaVision´´: The newest step forward for the MCU

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JD Jones, Arts & Entertainment

The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) has become one of the most profitable film franchises of all time. Beginning with “Iron Man” in 2008, the franchise of 23 films has dominated critically and financially, with “Avengers: Endgame” becoming the highest grossing film of all time in 2019. With the “Infinity Saga” of films behind us, producer Kevin Feige has pursued new avenues to keep these properties running like well-oiled machines. One of those different paths was to create TV shows on Disney+ more directly tied into the movies than Netflix shows like “Daredevil” and “The Defenders”. While the newest phase of the MCU was set to begin with the movie “Black Widow” back in 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic prevented Marvel from releasing any content. However, the first of these new Marvel shows, “WandaVision”, was ready to make its debut this year, becoming the new launching point for the MCU. While it may be different starting with a TV show rather than a movie, “WandaVision” proves to be a great way to kick off the newest phase of the MCU, and brings a bit of creativity back into play.

The story of “WandaVision” takes place after “Avengers: Endgame”, with Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany reprising their roles of Scarlet Witch and Vision respectively. The pair of superheroes have settled down in the suburban town of Westview, living the “ideal” suburban life (akin to different sitcoms of certain eras). However, not everything is as it appears, and the two of them have to get to the bottom of it. It’s an interesting story with unique execution, and that’s one of the best aspects of “WandaVision”. While I love the MCU, it’s easy to point out similarities between different movies. To some, the movies blend together with similar styles of comedy and color palettes, and many find that innovation is lacking. I found this to be true for “Spider-Man: Far From Home”, a movie that represented the MCU at its most generic. “WandaVision” brings back that spark of creativity to this series, and I couldn’t be happier for it. The whole sitcom-referencing approach is like nothing the mainstream superhero genre has seen; when integrated into the extensive MCU timeline, it works rather well, with a new side of humor being shown in the MCU.

Creativity aside, “WandaVision” wouldn’t work without good performances, and Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany thankfully deliver in that regard. They both continue to work as their previously established characters, but also apply their characters well to these unique settings. This helps get the aesthetic and overall feel across, but you still maintain the connection with these characters that you might have had from the movies they were previously in. Before this, I’d say I just enjoyed Wanda and Vision in the MCU. They were good, but far from my favorite characters. Now with this TV show expanding them and continuing their story, I´ve found them way more interesting as heroes. Their dynamic of a married relationship is just great, and adds a great deal of uniqueness to the whole franchise. We also have a few actors in supporting roles that are quite good. Kathryn Hahnś Agnes is a very mysterious yet funny character that adds a lot to the style of the show, while Teyonah Parris as Monica Rambeau is also a very sympathetic character who starts to peel away at the overall showś story. And we also have some other characters from previous movies return, like FBI Agent Jimmy Woo (Randall Park) and Darcy Lewis (Kat Dennings), who along with Monica, help put the pieces together.

There have been five episodes so far, and across the board I’d say they were successful. One thing Kevin Feige has understood for a while now in this series is how to tell good standalone efforts while also connecting it to a broader universe. “WandaVision” is another example of that, balancing an interesting story between Wanda and Vision, while also tying into preexisting stories and creating new ones. The episodes 1-3, and 5 are in the style of older sitcoms ranging from the 1950s to the 1980s, so the humor might be a bit corny to the modern eye, but once you’ve absorbed the style, you get used to it. I especially enjoyed the fake commercials thrown in that have some fun Easter eggs for diehard fans! Simultaneously, the show also is able to throw in hints of the main story, and the 4th episode fills in the major dots between the first three episodes and the fifth. Itś this episode that feels like more typical MCU antics. Itś familiar, and not as creative as the sitcom approach, but it gets the job done! For me, “WandaVision” really picked up steam with the fifth episode, with the reveal of a certain character that changes the game of what the MCU is going for. Itś is a mindblowing addition to an already great product that I won’t spoil so you can watch it and experience the surprise! The only hint Iĺl give is that it deals with the Marvel part of the somewhat recent Disney/Fox merger.

To conclude, “WandaVision” is a pretty good start to the newest phase of Marvelś long-running franchise. It is not masterful, but itś undeniably quirky and a good time, and it gives more depth to some of Marvelś best supporting characters. So far, it continues to amaze, and hopefully the future of Marvel TV continues to be bright.