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‘WandaVision’ a worthwhile binge for old and new Marvel fans alike

“WandaVision” has become the latest must-watch series for Marvel fans and while newcomers to the cinematic universe may find it confusing, it is still binge worthy.

Marvel Studios released the finale of “WandaVision” on Friday. The series is the first piece of media from the Marvel Cinematic Universe to come out in 2021. Almost a year into the pandemic, Marvel fans have gone through a dry spell. The latest film, “Black Widow,” which was set to be released last spring, was pushed back along with every other movie.

“WandaVision” adds depth to previously underutilized characters while setting the next phase of Marvel films into motion.  The show is a nine-part miniseries that takes place after the events of “Avengers: Endgame.”

Wanda Maximoff, played by Elizabeth Olsen, and The Vision, played by Paul Bettany, star has the happy couple in “WandaVision.” The miniseries first started streaming on Disney+ Jan. 15. (Photo courtesy of IMDb)

Wanda Maximoff, also know as Scarlett Witch, played by Elizabeth Olsen, finds herself in a fictional version of the town of West View, New Jersey. Wanda is joined by The Vision, played by Paul Bettany. As the series takes the couple through the decades of TV sitcoms, viewers wonder how they got there, and how Vision, who died in “Avengers: Infinity War,” is alive.

The early episodes immediately catch audiences’ attention as they pay homage to well-known sitcoms throughout the decades. From the black-and-white aesthetics, to the 1950s home décor that draws inspiration from shows like “Bewitched” and “The Dick Van Dyke Show,” all the way to the mockumentary stylings in shows like “Modern Family” and “The Office.” Each decade and its style plays a major role in Wanda’s character.

This style of storytelling is an entirely left-field approach to the now formulaic MCU format. Additionally, the reason why two superheroes are playing a happy American couple isn’t revealed immediately.

It wouldn’t be hard to keep a Marvel fan interested after years of seeing these movies. For someone unfamiliar with the context and years of MCU lore, the series may be a struggle. Without the high-octane action and over-the-top computer graphics, the majority of the show banks on its mystery, dialogue and the relationship between Wanda and Vision to keep the viewers’ attention. Even then, there is a lot of information and context that can only be known if you’ve seen movies like “Avengers: Age of Ultron” or “Captain America: Civil War.”

The pacing of the first episodes are a slow burn, offering hints of an established plot. It’s only until episode four that the show starts running with its story. The series reveals a complexity to Wanda that was once unknown, as her character has been mostly underdeveloped in previous MCU outings.

The series takes a lot of inspiration from the Marvel comic books like “House of M” and “The Vision.” “WandaVision” provides a story of mystery, love and grief between two superheroes.

After years of working together, Olsen and Bettany have amazing chemistry when performing comedic, conflicting and emotionally profound scenes as the two main protagonists. The moments where Wanda and Vision were at their most personal is where the show was at its best. The relationship between the couple has always been a subplot throughout many films, slowly building up to events in “Infinity War.” The finale may make viewers wonder how their dynamic will be altered in future movies.

“As a new viewer, the show provides a romance and mythical mystery tale that can be confusing at times without background research, but it’s a worthwhile binge …”

The show also introduces new and interesting characters like Agnes, the nosy neighbor played by Kathryn Hahn, and Monica Rambeau, an agent of an intelligence organization played by Teyonah Parris.

While mystery in the show makes for interesting plot points, it reaches a point where there are too many questions for this limited series to answer. The finale ends too quickly and is pretty open ended. While it’s likely these questions will be solved in later MCU projects, it hurts the series as an exclusive experience.

There was also a certain character who, without giving too much away, sparked many exciting discussions about casting decisions. It could’ve been due to overspeculation that turned into unfair expectations from fans. Whether that was the case or not, it doesn’t make the character any less disappointing.

As mentioned previously, the pacing at the beginning is a bit slow, which may be challenging for some viewers. When the show premiered, Disney+ released two episodes simultaneously, most likely to help establish the overarching plot and help viewers move past the early black-and-white episodes more quickly.

With that being said, “WandaVision” is one of the better stories told by MCU. Now that “WandaVision” has ended, “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” is set to release on March 19. Marvel Studios has plans to spoil its fans this year with more movies and series. “WandaVision” has set the bar high for what can be done in this phase of the MCU.

As a Marvel fan, “WandaVision” is one of the best things to come out this year so far and should generate excitement about upcoming projects like “Loki” and “Doctor Strange: Multiverse of Madness.” As a new viewer, the show provides a romance and mythical mystery tale that can be confusing at times without background research, but it’s a worthwhile binge, especially for those who already subscribe to Disney+. Olsen played her role as Wanda Maximoff amazingly, leaving fans to wonder what’s next for the character.

Star Rating: 3.5 out of 5

The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in this article belong solely to the author, and not necessarily to New Mexico State University, the NMSU Department of Journalism and Media Studies, Kokopelli, or any other organization, committee, group or individual. 

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