WandaVision Episodes 1-4:
What are We Seeing with WandaVision?
Review by: Reggie Agossa, Intern Writer
© 2021 Disney
When Disney first revealed they were going to be making their heavy push into streaming content I did not give them the full vote of confidence. Crazy right? One should always bet on the ‘house of the mouse.’ However, I had good reasons to reserve my doubts. The main two reasons why I would be looking forward to Disney+ were because of Disney’s two biggest IPO’s at the time. Star Wars and Marvel. 2019 was not a good year for Star Wars with most people being burnt out over the direction that the films were going. However, on the marvel side of it the year 2020 was barren with no new IPO’s being premiered.
A lot of people believed that Disney should have shifted the head of Lucasfilm and taken a lot longer to work on a new Star Wars project that fans could get behind, with me being one of these fans. Once again - Disney makes me fall on my face, dropping their series “The Mandalorian”, a show met with both critical and commercial success, mainly due to that little green ball of love dubbed as “Baby Yoda."
However, when you look at the place Marvel was in, the situation was significantly different. The studio had just come off the culmination of 20 films creating what was the biggest film of all time in “Marvel’s Avengers: Endgame”. To hit the peak - after 11 years - was still a miracle feat that changed the film landscape forever. Fans, who were now totally invested, anxiously awaited what would come next.
When it was revealed that the hit franchise would delve into television, I was a bit trepidatious. I know, my idiocy doesn’t seem to end, however this time I had a bit more of a reason to be cautious. This wasn’t the first time that Marvel had decided to delve into the silver screen. The development of “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D” was initially meant to be a companion series to the events after “Marvel’s: The Avengers” however after some time the show fell flat and didn’t have many connections back to the films. The show felt like it was diverging, hence my attention starting to evaporate.
Marvel would then decide to partner with Netflix on 6 shows, while the shows were okay with some successes like “Marvel’s Daredevil” the shows didn’t feel inter-connected. Their only real connection to the film series was the loose mentioning of “The Incident”, something supposed to refer to the massive events of the alien invasion at the end of the first Avengers film.
So here I am, almost 2 years after the release of the last Marvel Studios film “Spider-Man: Far From Home”. In that span, the world stopped due to the global pandemic of COVID-19. Thus, delaying and pushing back the film that was meant to bridge the gap “Marvel’s Black Widow”. I mention this because now our first reintroduction into this new post “Avengers Endgame” world is falling on the shoulders of another Marvel television show - and heavy is the crown.
A show that stars a character that fans had seen die a few films ago, leaving fans with a ton of questions. However, when all other Marvel series had either failed or not garnered the same sense of critical acclaim as films. These new Disney+ shows would have something different, or should I say, someone. Kevin Feige, the comic book fan's lord and savior who is the head of the film studios, would be personally overseeing these new series. With them receiving the full attention and care as any of the movies. Thus, giving us “WandaVision,” a show starring everyone's favorite dead robot, Vision.
Going into the show you don’t know what to expect, we’re taken on a journey through the decades with the first and second episodes giving us a 50’s and 60’s aspect. When the show first revealed that this would be the concept, I once again started to feel a bit hesitant, but in Kevin Feige we trust, and he hasn’t led us astray yet.
The most fascinating thing about the show is its commitment to the narrative that the studio is trying to pull off. The fascination goes all the way down to the cinematography with the first couple of episodes taking place in the black and white, golden era of television to mimic that time. It uses a 4:3 aspect ratio and was filmed in front of a live studio audience (with NDA’s flying around like spaceships).
Through all this the two main characters Wanda Maximoff and Vision are ecstatic to watch. The duo is expected to hide their abilities and live a suburban life for reasons the audience does not know. We don’t understand what’s happening until episode 4 and even then, there’s still an air of mystery to the plot.
The fact that these are characters that we know and love - yet, haven’t delved into, helps the premise of the show and gives us the moments we’ve been craving for: interconnectivity. The series brings back numerous characters and references from past films. It’s safe to say “WandaVision” is a far cry from all of the other Marvel Studios projects that precede it, yet as you go on you can feel the bigger Marvel Universe knocking at its door.
It isn’t until the 4th episode (the most recent at the time I’m writing this), that the universe finally breaks in and gives us a glimmer of what’s going on. However, it’s not what most people would have expected. Though the show is meant to honor the sitcoms of the past with its happy and campy moments, you can’t help but feel the eerie sense that something is very amiss here. The show leans into that with little moments here and there that piece together a mystery and has the audience looking for clues as if this was Alfred Hitchcock’s “Vertigo”. Everyone seems to have their theories as to how the show will come to its conclusion and that’s the beauty of it.
Disney’s decision to make the show weekly as opposed to bingeable is both frustrating and understandable at the same time. The show keeps people talking every passing week with it trending every Friday morning. It gives me something to look forward to as opposed to just finishing instantly and having the moment be fleeting. I find myself doing work on a Wednesday wondering where the show is going and I’m loving it, once again the ‘house of the mouse’ has proved me wrong.