‘WandaVision’ proves the MCU still has some tricks up its sleeve

By Camryn Cutinello, Staff Reporter

Ryan Brumback

After more than a year without a new movie, the Marvel Cinematic Universe is finally back with a bang. Riding the coattails of the success of “The Mandalorian,” a Star Wars show, “WandaVision” marks the first of many Marvel TV shows set to premiere on the streaming service Disney Plus.

“Black Widow” and “The Eternals” were delayed due to COVID-19, making “WandaVision” the first project of Marvel’s phase four, where movies and series are planned to be released through 2023. The show has set the stage for the future of Marvel projects and left viewers waiting on the edge of their seats for what could come next.

[Note: Spoilers ahead for episodes 1-8 of “WandaVision.”]

The show follows Avengers characters Wanda Maximoff, played by Elizabeth Olsen, and Vision, played by Paul Bettany, as they star in their very own sitcom. Each episode adopts a different style from a decade of television, starting with the 1950s and ending in modern day. 

The show begins with a grief-stricken Wanda as she returns to a world where Vision is dead following the events of “Avengers: Endgame.”

To cope with her trauma, Wanda creates a world where Vision is still alive. The invented world’s setting is based on shows she watched as a child such as “I Love Lucy” and “The Dick Van Dyke Show,” with each episode mimicking the clothing, styles and mannerisms of the era. 

The rest of the series follows the different decades’ styles, taking inspiration from shows like “The Brady Bunch,” “Full House,” “Malcom in the Middle” and “Modern Family.”

“WandaVision” is unlike anything Marvel has produced before as it focuses more on character development rather than the typical flashy fight scenes.

While some critics have complained about the show’s pacing being too slow in comparison to previous Marvel productions, this is what makes “WandaVision” stand out.

After 23 movies, Marvel has become a little redundant. Marvel movies usually focus on the action, with a few scenes of characters figuring out the big, bad motives between epic battles. Nobody can argue with their success, but “WandaVision” works because it is unpredictable. 

Episode 5 follows Vision as he begins to realize that the world he is living in isn’t real. The viewers wait and wonder when the tension between him and Wanda will lead to a confrontation, only for the fight to be interrupted by the arrival of Evan Peters playing Wanda’s brother, Pietro Maximoff, known as Quicksilver. Each episode builds suspense in a way that is different from the previous episode.

“WandaVision” begins with everyone fully in character within the sitcom setting, and we feel as confused as the characters on the show. Wanda’s sitcom unravels as the show progresses and each episode ends with “please stand by,” indicating there is more to come.

The TV show’s weekly release format also allows the show to breathe and leaves room for small details that contribute to the overall viewing experience—such as the sitcom’s fake commercials featured within in each episode that introduce new details about Wanda and the show’s plot.

Olsen gives a stellar performance, effortlessly portraying Wanda’s spiraling mental health while also matching the styles of the different sitcoms. Bettany continues to shine with his portrayal of Vision as he tries to make sense of his situation alongside the viewers.

Alongside Olsen and Bettany, Kat Dennings and Randall Park make a hilarious duo as Dr. Darcy Lewis and Agent Jimmy Woo. In the role of Monica Rambeau, Teyonah Parris portray’s Monica’s fierce determination to help Wanda and stand up for her.

Marvel movies are usually pretty forward about revealing the villain, but not knowing who the villain is until the seventh episode of “WandaVision” was the best path for the show to take.

Fans speculated for months that next door neighbor Agnes, played by Kathryn Hahn, was secretly the powerful witch Agatha Harkness, yet the reveal was still a surprise.

The show is a fresh take on familiar characters, has viewers waiting to see what happens next and is on its way to becoming one of the best pieces of media Marvel has produced.

“Avengers: Endgame” may have felt like the end of an era, but if “WandaVision” is any indicator, the MCU is just getting started.