OPINION: WandaVision is the best of Marvel
Opinions editor reviews WandaVision streaming on Disney+, photo courtesy of Flickr.
The final episode of WandaVision began streaming on Disney+ last Friday, concluding the first Marvel Cinematic Universe original series.
WandaVision stars Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany reprising their roles as Wanda Maximoff and Vision.
The bold inaugural series of the MCU shifts through the decades of classic sitcoms starting in the 1950s and ending in the 2010s. The show’s set design and wardrobe are inspired by sitcoms from each era like The Dick Van Dike Show, Bewitched, Malcolm in the Middle, and The Office.
The series is daring, clever and gorgeous. It is a refreshing installment to the superhero Rolodex. Both Wanda and Vision are minor characters in the Avengers empire, but this show allows them to develop. It is almost impossible to finish the series without an appreciation for the depth and complexity of every one of the characters.
The entire premise of flipping decades is enticing, and Marvel Studios executes perfectly. The inspirations are recognizable in the outfits and sets, but also in many other creative ways.
Each episode opens with a title sequence and a theme song reminiscent of real sitcoms. For the episodes modeled after the 50s and 60s, the world is in black and white.
One of the more subtle indicators is the aspect ratio of each episode. Every so often it will change as the decade does, allowing the audience to know that the show is shifting from the sitcom world to the “real world.”
I could go on and on about how beautiful WandaVision is, but more importantly, it is detrimental to Phase Four of the MCU. It has set the bar high for all of Marvel Studios’ upcoming Disney+ shows as well as its theatrical-release films. Not only that, but the show also ties together several storylines from previous movies and sets up questions for future ones.
Fans have theorized that the upcoming Spider-Man sequel, Spider-Man: No Way Home, the Doctor Strange sequel, Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness, and the upcoming, untitled Captain Marvel sequel will feature elements of WandaVision. The show itself references several past films like Ant-Man and the Wasp, Avengers: Age of Ultron and Avengers: Infinity War. It also introduced actors and characters from other franchises like X-Men and Agents of Shield.
The amount of intertwining that WandaVision has pulled off while still being cohesive and masterful truly makes it worthy of being Marvel Studios’ best work yet. It does not do it justice to just read a quick article on it. The series has to experienced, and, in my opinion, watched through several times. There is always something new to see when you rewatch the show.
The mystery within the plot is genuinely fun. Week by week, my friends and I would watch the new episode and theorize about the next big twist. The references sprinkled within the show make watching it such a delight for hardcore fans, but it is also gripping and amusing for casual watchers.
Marvel Studios’ CEO Kevin Fiege confirmed that non-Disney+ subscribers will not be lost when the next round of films hit theaters. The shows serve a greater function than carrying on continuity. They enrich the characters and the universe itself.
With the pandemic raging for the past year, movie-goers have been craving content from the MCU. Phase Three of the superhero franchise finished with the Spider-Man sequel, Far From Home in July 2019. The solo Scarlet Johnasson film, Black Widow, was supposed to hit theaters in May 2020 but was continuously delayed due to COVID-19. This left a drought for fans of the universe.
This year, Marvel Studios is seemingly trying to make up for lost time with new content. The first episode of the next Disney+ original, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, starts streaming next week. When that series finishes its run, 2021 holds four more films that will be in theaters and three more original shows on Disney+.
WandaVision has left enormous shoes to fill for the rest of Phase Four, especially for the remaining shows that will be streaming this year.
I do not anticipate The Falcon and the Winter Soldier to be as offbeat and original as WandaVision, but I think it will be a nostalgic return to the universe that I fell in love with over 23 movies.
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