WandaVision has finally concluded. And Marvels first foray into the streaming universe on Disney+ has set the stage for the future of the MCU.
SPOILERS IN THIS ARTICLE
WandaVision is a first for Marvel in many ways. It came onto the scene and shocked audiences with it’s unique tone and creative approach to these characters. The weekly episodic format proved extremely beneficial, with the hype for the show swelling week after week. And yesterday, was that final time we will ever experience that hype. And now that it’s all said and done, how will the show be remembered?
Well, that’s not for me to deem entirely at this moment. From what I can tell it’s getting a mixed reaction online. And I think I’m very much in the same camp. With a stellar opening and some deeply intriguing subsequent episodes, the show completely devolved, and by the time we reached the final episode, I felt it betrayed itself. Here’s why…
The public relations for WandaVision has been an absolute disaster when it comes to fan expectation. What might’ve been an attempt to build hype week to week, ultimately cultivated in soundbites and out of context rumors that built up this idea of what people wanted this show to be. And not everything is as cut and dry as it seemed. The things that were said, weren’t only just perpetrated by the actors, but also by journalist and bloggers trying garner eye catching headlines for clicks. A great example of this is when the publication of TVLINE asked Elizabeth Olsen if WandaVision had a cameo that was on par of Luke Skywalker in The Mandalorian. To which Olsen replied,
“Yes… I’m really excited.”
That’s it. Nothing more, nothing less. And I must say when the creator of WandaVision, Jac Schaeffer was asked a similar question, he didn’t do much to temper the fans expectations, simply saying,
“There are so many surprises left in store […] I encourage all fans to settle in, because there’s more coming,”
Obviously the creators can’t be completely at fault, the fans really didn’t do their due diligence when researching where these comments came from. You cant blame them for getting their hopes up. Especially when actors like Paul Bettany blatantly trolled fans in a tongue and cheek way, saying he got to work with an actor he’s admired for a long time. When in reality (spoiler alert), he was talking about himself.
And if I’m being honest, I never banked on Magneto or Dr. Strange showing up. I kept my expectations low. But it’s the way they went about it. Both how it played out on screen. And how they hyped it up during the press. It didn’t even reach my lowest expectations. And even though Kevin Feige said these shows would be like the films. Supposedly being essential viewing. I think if WandaVision dropped all at once as a movie, it would’ve been much more disappointing. As far as Wanda’s character arc, it’s important to watch, but I think where it left off, audiences could fill in the blanks. And unlike other must see Marvel properties, this one didn’t pack a big enough punch. Especially when it came to the reveals.
Quite possibly the biggest disappointment of the finale is the tone. Throughout the early episodes, the sit com nature of the show proved to be a great backdrop for Wanda’s slow dissention into madness. Even when the show peeled back the curtain and took a look into the “real world”, it never took me out. But in hindsight, it seems like they didn’t trust their audience because I feel the show would’ve worked much better if it kept the reveal of the real world to later on and let us pick up the pieces of the fragmented nature of the town along with the characters.
But the show insisted on showcasing the real world, which really only showcased the current state of the MCU. Catching us up with the new brass, Director Hayward, and other characters such as Monica Rambeau. The only time it felt necessary was when it showcased Wanda discovering the remains of Visions body. Most of the other times, it became a comic relief pitstop. And when we reached the final episode, viewing it through that lens reduced the MCU to an average CW show. Which is odd, because the effects were there, and the stakes were there, but with a lot of the jokes and with the backdrop of this final battle being set in a suburban town, much of it fell flat. And nothing made this more clear than reducing the Quicksilver cameo to a boner joke. (really Marvel?)
When it comes to the potential for what this show is, I think it hit some of it. I know I seem really down on it, but I enjoyed a good bit of it and it paved some new territory for the MCU. Even in the final episode- which I wasn’t a huge fan of, had some good moments. And though I felt it should’ve ended a certain way, I commend it for hitting the overall mark.
The show ends with Wanda releasing everyone in the town from her control and that includes a heartwarming scene where she kisses her little boys for one last time before the walls of her imagination sweep them away. And when the walls close in, she shares a final moment with Vision that is right out of a comic book page, and we watch in sadness as she gives up everything she wanted for the greater good.
All that is good in my opinion. I always felt that’s where the show was going,. But given the tone of the early episodes, the trajectory seemed telegraphed something different. The way I thought the season was gonna end was with Wanda being so consumed by the world she created that she didn’t want to give it up, and in the end it would’ve been stripped from her, possibly watching her kids and Vision die in front of her. Which would’ve completed her dissent into madness, setting her up as the villain for the next phase of the MCU.
We know she’s involved in Dr. Strange and the Multiverse of Madness, so it made sense that if there was a multiverse that went mad, she would be the cause. And while the end credit scene does tease this (seemingly being directed by Sam Raimi). It goes about this idea in the most cookie cutter way possible. And with the reveal of her son calling out to her in the end, Marvel once again, backtracks on an important character death.
In the end, this finale wasn’t a disaster. It has a lot of merits. But overall my outlook now on this show is way different than what it was when I started it. I was raving about the show and felt it was making all the right narrative decisions. Then by the end, I’ve come out with a lukewarm response, hardly wanting to recommend the show to anyone that isn’t a hardcore fan. And maybe that’s recency bias. I’ve never really felt his conflicted about an MCU property. My opinion is definitely gonna evolve. And WandaVision no doubt has it’s moments. Elizabeth Olsen kills it in this series, and is definitely worthy of awards recognition. But maybe my expectations should’ve been in check.
In the end I ultimately think WandaVision became a victim to the larger needs of the MCU. And as a fan who generally likes the MCU, I championed this new and innovative direction. Even before it came out, and everyone was skeptical. I saw the true potential in this show. But in the end, I feel it betrayed itself…
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