One very unique aspect of “WandaVision” is that the show borrows tropes and settings from famous sitcoms. In fact, “Filmed Before a Live Studio Audience,” the first episode of the show, borrows characteristics from both “I Love Lucy” and “The Dick Van Dyke Show.” If you’re a fan of famous sitcoms, then you’ll love watching “WandaVision” for its classic television references. Marvel simultaneously blends the tropes viewers have come to expect from both MCU films and mid-20th century television, creating a TV show like any other. Not to mention the fact that Marvel has now ushered in the age of “cinematic television.”
“WandaVision” is the happiest we’ve ever seen Wanda Maximoff. Since her introduction to the MCU seven years ago, Wanda has faced a litany of trauma. In “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” viewers learn that Wanda’s parents were killed by a Stark Industries missile. By the end of the same film, Pietro, her twin brother, sacrifices his life to save a fellow Avenger, leaving Wanda alone in the world. Things, of course, change by the time we get to “Avengers: Infinity War” as Wanda and Vision have now become a couple. Following the same formula as before, but this time with an added dose of trauma, Wanda is forced to kill her lover as she tries to save half the universe from the mad titan, Thanos. If that wasn’t tragic enough, Thanos uses the time stone to resurrect Vision, only to kill him again in front of her. If only for a little while, “WandaVision” lets viewers finally see Wanda experience true happiness.
Elizabeth Olsen’s performance deserves an Emmy nomination. Citing Mary Tyler Moore and Lucille Ball as her inspiration for her character in the early episodes. Olsen’s performance is on par with the actresses who helped pioneer classic television as she simultaneously combines comedy antics and physical comedy, much like Lucille Ball.
Even though the first few episodes are silly and light-hearted, something darker lies beneath these antics. Never truly disappearing, Wanda’s grief follows her throughout the series. Giving a heartbreakingly beautiful performance, Olsen eloquently depicts the trauma and grief that threatens to consume her character.
Despite Olsen’s excellent performance, it can be assumed that she will be snubbed during next year’s awards season due to the common belief that “superhero” movies and TV shows are not deemed as something worth receiving achievements. Who knows? Maybe Elizabeth Olsen will be among one of the first people in this genre to be nominated. If it’s going to happen to anyone, Olsen deserves it for her show stopping performance in “WandaVision.”
I would be remiss not to mention Paul Bettany’s performance as Vision. Throughout Bettany’s tenure in the MCU, first as J.A.R.V.I.S. and now Vision, his character has sort of remained dry, granted he is a synthezoid, a type of android. However, “WandaVision” has finally allowed Bettany to break the cycle. Throughout the series, especially the beginning, Bettany’s fun performance brings a lightness and humor to the show, even while keeping the character dry.
Olsen and Bettany’s performances are the best things about the show. That being said, “WandaVision” falls flat within the final episodes. It almost seems as if Marvel didn’t really know how to go about changing their media from the usual three-hour blockbuster to a 30-minute television show. This is especially apparent in the final episode of the show.
Lasting only 40 minutes in total, with nine minutes of credits, the finale tries to tie up all the loose ends and plotlines from the entire series, which essentially results in a very rushed finale. If the final episode had been an hour or more, then the show could’ve reached its full potential. Instead, viewers are left disappointed.
It’s the fact that Marvel tried to shove five different plotlines within a single episode that is supposed to provide a resolution to the entire series that really causes issues. Yes, this series is supposed to directly carry over into “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness”; however, “WandaVision’s” crucial supporting characters are left in the dust in the finale. One such character appears on the screen for literally five seconds and disappears, not to be seen again until who knows when, as the character is not currently attached to any upcoming Marvel releases. This is just one example of how the hurried ending negatively affects the show. I could go into much more detail; however, in doing so, I would effectively be spoiling the ending for viewers, so I won’t. “WandaVision” starts off very promisingly, but soon fizzles out as Marvel has not yet figured out how to effectively utilize the limited amount of time offered by the format of television.
That being said, “WandaVision” has changed the MCU forever, so watching the television show is almost a must to have an understanding of the events to come in Phase Four. If you’re going to watch this show, watch it for Elizabeth Olsen’s beautiful performance, not the plotlines. If you’re okay with that stipulation, all episodes of “WandaVision” are now streaming on Disney+.