Wandavision was something new from the MCU when it arrived on our screens in 2021. It was the first in what has since been a plethora of Marvel TV. Some say it was the best. Some say otherwise. Some judge by the viewing figures and some say otherwise.
Wanda was underrated in the MCU movies, a villain at first who then found herself working with the Avengers. To put an underrated character into a TV series would always be deemed a risk but would it work? Some say yes, some say no.
On our TV screens we were graced each week with an episode of Wandavision. Nine episodes in total including the finale. On first view, the show is based around a parody of sitcoms. We see Wanda and Vision in the 50s, showing us their take on The Dick Van Dyke Show and I Love Lucy. We see them trying to “fit in” the neighbourhood without revealing their true selves. We move through the 60s where we channel the likes of Bewitched and I Dream of Jeannie. Moving through the 70s, we see Wanda and Vision in their 70s fashion and a “Brady Bunch” backdrop. But why the sitcoms?
The episodes were perfection in theirselves. Loving and honourable towards the shows that they were demonstrating. We are treated to nosey neighbours, the boss coming for dinner and well, good old fashioned family sitcoms. However, the more astute viewer realises that there is something underlying. After all, Vision was killed by Thanos in the last Avenger movie so how is he here?
Sidestepping that question for now, Marvel did an amazing job. The parodies that we see played out by our two leads, Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany are just delicious. The sets are perfect, costumes stunning and the move from black and white to colour just sublime.
The chemistry of our two leads was such a pleasure to watch. It is clear that they have thoroughly enjoyed making this series.
Several characters duck in and out of this series. Some known, some not known. We see the return of Kat Dennings as Darcey Lewis. We meet Kathryn Hahn as Agatha Harkness. We see the return of Jimmy Woo, beautifully played by Randall Park and the introduction of Teyonah Parris as Monica Rambeau. Each one of these characters added to the story in the right format. No role was overplayed or underplayed. Enough clues were given to leave the viewer wondering.
Throughout the sitcom parodies that we are gifted, there are some grimmer and darker undertones. We learn that ‘Westview’, where Wanda and Vision are living, is being controlled by Wanda.
We see Wanda and Monica Rambeau in conversation, where Monica lets slip of Wanda brothers death by the hand of Ultron. Wanda reacts instantly leaving you in no doubt that she will expel any threat to her happiness from Westview.
When we watch the episodes, “Easter eggs” are left in plain sight for all Marvel die hard fans to find. But it is the finale where it all comes together.
The finale puts all the clues together and gives us the answers we have been looking for. Of course, those who read comics knew the answers but I hadn’t. The finale gave us Agatha and Wanda walking through her life, bringing us to what every good show or movie needs. The big finish.
WandaVision did not disappoint. Wanda and Agatha came together gifting everyone what we had been waiting nine episodes for. Wanda and the realisation that she was ‘The Scarlet Witch’.
When all was said and done with WandaVision, there was one underlying theme. The underlying theme (due to personal circumstances) was one I identified strongly with. It was grief.
In a flashback, we see Wanda drive out to Westview. We see her heading for a plot of land with a deed in her hand. The deed says “A place to grow old in”.
In an overwhelming and heartbreaking display of grief, we are shown how Wanda uses the Scarlet Witch magic to build her life. This was how Westview became under Wanda spell. This was how Vision returned.
The series was absolutely superb. The sitcoms were managed with integrity and honour to the originals. The storyline was fantastic. There were clues scattered throughout. Just enough to make you think, without completely giving it all away.
When two characters have always been supporting cast in the MCU, there is always a risk of “will this work?”. That underlying wonder of whether the leads can carry this off. In my opinion, Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany brought their A-Game to this series. It is not easy (says me, who is not an actor!) to work on a series that covers so many eras, so many styles and so much difference in dialogue and action.
The chemistry of our leads was amazing. The acting of our leads was sublime. On a personal note, I want to comment on the management of the grief aspect. Elizabeth Olsens portrayal of loss, grief and the aftermath was spot on. Having lost my husband, I could feel her pain. I could see the pain in her acting and I knew exactly how she felt. To be able to bring that in a performance, that’s a gift.