I have been a fan of Marvel Comics since I was a kid. So naturally, when the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) came about, I was ecstatic. I have my issues with the MCU and their comic accuracy, but overall, you will never find me skipping out on a movie. “WandaVision,” a new Disney+ series, has provided fans with a fun, tragic and Easter egg-filled look into the lives of two underused MCU characters.
As a lifelong fan of MCU, I’m partial to the Hulk and Doctor Strange, but the Avengers are also a favorite of mine. It was a delight seeing them on the big screen, but I was always left wanting more.
Comic inaccuracies aside, some characters, such as Wanda, played by Elizabeth Olsen, and Vision, played by Paul Bettany, were given the sideline. Despite them being such powerful assets, this choice gave more screen time to Iron Man and Captain America, played by A-listers Robert Downey Jr. and Chris Evans. I was excited to see that Wanda and Vision were finally being given their fair share of attention.
For those of you who are comic lovers, I feel the need to point out some influences. “The House of M” is a huge contributor to the series’ storyline, but other comic runs play an influential role in the inspiration for “WandaVision.” Comics such as “Vision and the Scarlet Witch” and more loosely, “Avengers Disassembled” have their sway over the storyline. However, in typical MCU fashion, ideas and storylines are cherrypicked from each to create the final product.
“WandaVision” starts as a cute comedy, but slowly devolves into a rather dark tragedy. The full extent of Wanda’s powers are finally explained as we explore the town of Westview, where the series takes place. Vision is left to wonder both how he got to Westview and what is happening as the idyllic society starts to unravel.
As much as I loved this series, there were things that I found fault in. The MCU has a red herring problem, where they dangle comic references in front of fans before turning it on its head. In this show, the red herring is cinematic rather than comic-based and has the potential to leave a bad taste in the mouths of avid MCU fans. Comic lore is often ignored in the MCU, but toying with the hopes of habitual viewers would finally give them a taste of the comic fan’s misery.
I cannot tell you what this twist is, but I will say it left me highly disappointed. This red herring had such amazing potential to only end in a joke. This is not unlike the twist in “Iron Man 3,” where the comic villain Mandarin is revealed to be an actor.
With that being said, there is far more that I like about this show than not. One of the most common tropes are the references to other sitcoms. From “Bewitched” to “Modern Family,” the series parodies beloved American sitcoms. It’s fun to catch the references and even more fun to play “guess the show.”
My favorite part of this show is the dark aspect. Although initially subverted, darkness rears its ugly head and distorts the perfect world Wanda and Vision inhabit. Dark themes start as a whisper before they turn into overwhelming cries.
I’m no stranger to horror appreciation in The Montclarion, so it is sufficient to say that I was pleased with many of the show’s horror elements. To say what exactly was scary, however, would spoil the fun.
“WandaVision” is ultimately a show about grief and how people deal with it. This is something that most can empathize with, if not relate to their own experiences. The complex subject matter makes it hard to pin down one person to blame in the series, as it is pointed in unexpected directions.
The Easter eggs, which are hidden references to the Marvel comic book series, are an important part of “WandaVision.” Most of these are given in the form of commercial breaks within the show, like the Strücker watch or Nexus depression medication. There are also more overt references, such as the Darkhold, a fictional grimoire stored in Sanctum Sanctorum in the comics.
This series may prove to be more than casual enjoyment. With so many connections and a few loose hanging threads, there is a strong possibility that “WandaVision” will be required viewing to understand upcoming Marvel films such as “Doctor Strange: Multiverse of Madness.” Olsen is slated to appear in this movie and many are speculating if the two MCU creations are connected, especially due to Doctor Strange’s notable absence from the series.
Overall, “WandaVision” provides an interesting insight into the lives of formerly underappreciated members of the Avengers. If you have a Disney+ account, I highly recommend giving this series a watch.