Movies

‘WandaVision’ review: Lost in Marvel’s la la land

Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda Maximoff and Paul Bettany as Vision in ‘WandaVision’   | Photo Credit: Marvel Studios

The first in Marvel Studio’s programming for the small screen, WandaVision is unlike anything that the studio has released. Scratch that, it is a superhero outing unlike anything we have seen before.

(Minor spoilers ahead)

A few weeks after the events of Avengers: Endgame (the timeline is explained during the show), Wanda and Vision are leading seemingly blissful lives as a married couple in 1950s suburbia. She’s a homemaker, he goes to the office (later on, they even have twins). How did they get here? What are they doing here? What is going on, especially considering that Vision is supposed to be dead?

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There are no immediate answers and that’s part of the joy of watching this show. Yes, the sitcom format might seem like a gimmick at first (particularly in the first two episodes) but believe me, it’s worth it if you just stick with it.

 

Nearly all the episodes follow the sitcom tropes of the era it is set in (this includes the nosy neighbour, the central problem that will be set right at episode end, the mockumentary, and so on). The show tips its hat to everything from The Dick Van Dyke Show, I Love Lucy, Bewitched, All in the Family, Full House (meta as Olsen’s sisters played Michelle Tanner in that sitcom), to Malcom in the Middle, The Office, Happy Endings, and Modern Family.

These episodes also have an advertisement in the middle such as for Stark toaster and Hydra Soak. The significance of these commercials become clearer as the episodes go on.

WandaVision
  • Cast: Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Bettany, Kathryn Hahn, Teyonah Parris, Randall Park, Kat Dennings
  • No. of episodes: 9 episodes, approximately 30 mins each
  • Showrunner: Jac Schaeffer
  • Director: Matt Shakman
  • Storyline: After the events of Avengers: Endgame, Wanda and Vision are married and living in a sitcom world

We also get to see what’s going on outside the Hex, the sitcom world in Westview, New Jersey, as christened by Dr Darcy Lewis (Kat Dennings). She teams up with Monica Rambeau, (daughter of Maria Rambeau), the future superhero Photon, played by Teyonah Parris, and Jimmy Woo (Randall Park) to figure out what director of S.W.O.R.D. Hayward, who is bent on destroying Wanda, is upto. The sequences outside the Hex are, of course, far more in the traditional superhero mould.

Production wise, the painstaking effort that has gone into getting all the details right is obvious: whether it’s the opening credits, music, costumes, hairstyles, make-up and interiors, or the actors’ lines and style of delivery.

The acting is top-notch, particularly by Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda, Paul Bettany as the synthezoid Vision and Kathryn Hahn, who is brilliant as the chipper, nosy neighbour, Agnes.

The relationship between Wanda and the Vision wasn’t significantly developed within the MCU (jostling as they were with all the other characters), but in WandaVision, the audience gets to see what drew them together, the small moments, their future plans…This leads to our investment in the characters and their journeys, thanks also in no small part to the actors playing them.

In fact, in a poignant moment, (seen in flashback), Vision provides Wanda comfort by telling her, “But what is grief if not love persevering?”.

WandaVision is, however, ultimately Wanda’s story. This is a powerful superhero (it’s mentioned at one point how she almost took out Thanos by herself) who is dealing with the unbearable pain of losing her parents, her twin brother Pietro, and her partner Vision (who she was forced to kill and then watch as he died all over again).

It’s her journey; of finding herself, her path and acceptance of her grief.

However, viewers who got sucked into the vortex of speculations and theories are likely to be at least a little disappointed by the end.

The casting of Evan Peters as Pietro (the superhero, Quicksilver) led to much talk about the multiverse and the entry of the X-Men in the MCU as he plays Quicksilver in the X-Men films (in a very meta twist, the MCU Quicksilver, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, and Evan Peters acted together in Kick-Ass). WandaVision is also supposed to lead into Dr Strange in the Multiverse of Madness and cast members also fanned the flames by talking about major cameos.

If you are able to keep track of all the details and leave aside the extra, then you should be able to enjoy WandaVision for exactly what it is: a very good show.

WandaVision is currently streaming on Disney + Hotstar

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Printable version | Apr 16, 2021 6:32:01 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/movies/wandavision-review-lost-in-marvels-la-la-land/article34025945.ece

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