Elizabeth Olsen Bewitches Marvel Fans in WandaVision
By Olivia Copeland
This past Friday, fans everywhere said goodbye to one of the best pieces of Marvel content to date.
The refreshingly calm and gradual series, WandaVision, stars Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda Maximoff, The Scarlet Witch, and Paul Bettany as her “hubby who’s part machine,” The Vision.
The show kicks off after the events of “Avengers: Endgame,” so it is pretty useful to catch up on your Avengers homework before checking it out.
The superhuman couple have just moved to the suburban town of Westview, New Jersey and their only worries involve fitting in and hiding their superhero identities from their neighbors.
Also, it’s the ’50s for some reason. And, Vision was dead last time we checked.
Needless to say, the series starts oB shrouded in mystery. This mystery is offset by the show’s sitcom style, complete with a “live studio audience,” a new theme song each week, and a cryptic commercial for every episode. As the episodes continue, the decades change, so we get to see Wanda and her family in the ’50s, ’60s, ’70s, ’80s, ’90s, and ’00s.
More mystery arises as the season unfolds. There are glitches that occur every now and then, pulling you out of the dream-like world of Westview and creating even more questions, like Why is this woman’s blood the only thing in color? and Who is speaking to Wanda through the radio and Why did the show just rewind in the middle of a sentence?
Eventually, the show has to break out of the sitcom world and provide actual context for what is really going on, but the mysterious first few moments are certainly captivating and bone-chilling.
WandaVision takes a nice break from the action-packed films and shows people generally expect from the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU,) and instead explores the characters in more depth. Not only were the stylistic choices of the series enjoyable, but also the writing and acting made the show very special to viewers, and many would love to see it renewed for a second season.
But, of course, a second season doesn’t seem to fit into Marvel’s big plans for its expanding universe. WandaVision marks the beginning of Phase 4, a new chapter of the MCU. Phase 4 will include 12 more films, 11 other television series, and even a holiday special. So it is unlikely that more time will be spent on this series, but it is certain that we haven’t seen the last of Wanda Maximoff.
Even still, fans will miss this show for its eerily cheerful sitcom-style episodes and the brilliant
performances of the cast. Olsen attracts audiences as an adorable sitcom wife and mother, and then gives a heartbreaking performance of her character’s desperation to numb the insurmountable grief of losing everyone she loves.
Teyonna Parris as government agent Monica Rambeau is the solid voice of reason, and she does a fantastic job conveying Rambeau’s complex character.
The chemistry between Olsen and Bettany is obvious, and the show benefits from the actors having worked together as these characters for the past seven years. Equally impressive are Jullian Hilliard, Billy Maximoff, and Jett Klyne, Tommy Maximoff, who are just 9 and 11 years old respectively, but each has impressive acting experience and do a wonderful job playing Wanda’s superhero twin sons.
The incredible acting performances are complemented by the behind-the-scenes work. It was no small feat to create a different theme song for almost all nine episodes, so Marvel hired a reputable composer for the task, Christophe Beck, who did the score for both “Frozen” films – he definitely knows how to produce a catchy tune. His success with WandaVision is apparent in the presence of the music all over the internet – even people who haven’t watched the show are playing its songs.
However, the series is not without flaws. My major criticism of WandaVision is how easily it lets the main character off the hook. She ends up hurting a lot of people very badly, and never apologizes for it. Instead she is praised for the “sacrifice” she made by deciding to no longer hurt those people, rather than taking accountability for her actions, she only expresses bitterness for how she is viewed by the people she hurt.
This sets a dangerous example for those dealing with similar emotional battles as her character. Dealing with pain is not an excuse to inflict pain on others – even when it is unintentional. The show implies that Wanda’s pain was an excuse for the pain she caused others, and that she does not owe them an apology.
As it is certain that Wanda will return in future MCU projects, there is hope that this error may be corrected, but it is unfortunate that the series ended without her taking accountability.
Despite this, WandaVision tells a beautiful story about deep sorrow and terrible longing, and the consequences of pushing away such emotions – and it also has some epic Oght scenes. This show has room for such touching quotes as, “What is grief if not love persevering?” as well as kick-a** one-liners like, “Boys, handle the military. Mommy will be right back.”
WandaVision delights as a musical, a comedy, and a drama. It pushes the boundaries of Marvel entertainment with grace. The show certainly accomplishes what it set out to do: tell Wanda’s story and get people amped for what else Phase 4 has to offer.
A- : The strongest Avenger makes a stunning TV debut.