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Marvel breaks its mold with ‘WandaVision’

| Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Mary O'Reilly | The Observer

When it comes to Marvel and its Cinematic Universe (MCU), we as an audience are always told to expect the unexpected. However, all 23 films released thus far share many things in common. They all follow a similar story arc, are known to be magnificent CGI set pieces and are all presented as two or two-and-a-half hour movies. With “WandaVision,” Marvel has subverted even those expectations, turning its own template upside down with a new venture into television on Disney+.

The first Marvel television show to premiere on Disney+, “WandaVision” started in January and finished with its series finale on Mar. 5. Now, this was not Marvel’s first live-action show ever, as they’ve produced previous shows such as “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,” “Daredevil” and “Jessica Jones.” However, this would be the first show to truly be considered canon in the MCU and to tie heavily into the Marvel franchise movies. Instead of being presented as one singular two-hour movie, “WandaVision” comes as nine separate 30-40 minute episodes released weekly. Furthermore, instead of being primarily action-focused, this show follows the tradition of one of television’s earliest inventions, the sitcom. Essentially, it’s a sitcom set in the MCU with some special twists.

And I loved every second of it. This show is nothing but pure fun with two of our now most beloved Marvel characters. As Wanda, Elizabeth Olsen gives her best performance to date. She shows range, handling both the traditional sitcom moments and the deep emotional ones we’re more used to. Paul Bettany also gives a superb performance as Vision and is similarly excellent in the sitcom aspect of the episodes. Vision’s character arc throughout the series is worthwhile and leaves hints for future projects.

The writing and dialogue for these characters and others were outstanding. The same can be said for the directing of the show. Its cinematography is certainly inspired by classic shows of the past and it truly emulates these shows with certain episodes. Each episode before the finale takes place in a different decade so-to-speak and imitates that decade’s version of sitcom television. The first three episodes are reminiscent of “The Dick Van Dyke Show” and “I Love Lucy.” Later on, they turn to‘70s and ‘80s shows, but my personal favorites are the episodes which are reminiscent of 2000s classics like “Malcolm and the Middle” and “Modern Family.” The writing for this show is well done and also supremely funny when imitating these classics.

“WandVision” is primarily about our two main characters, although there are some other nice additions like Kat Dennings and Randall Park that make their returns to the Marvel Universe. While the side plots are intriguing, it’s Olsen and Bettany as Wanda and Vision who really hold the show together, and it’s in their main plotlines where the show shines, delving deep into the psyche of the couple. The show appropriately continues Wanda’s storyline from what we have seen in “Captain America: Civil War” and “Avengers: Infinity War,” and there are even some great callbacks to her start in “Avengers: Age of Ultron” too. It also deals with her trauma and past tragedies from these films.

“WandaVision” keeps the audience guessing with its little hints about the greater mystery to be solved. This viewer didn’t even realize who the true villain was until the last two episodes. That and all the post-credits scenes certainly help shape the future of the MCU and set-up more potential movies and shows.

Anyone who is a fan of the Marvel movies should give this show a shot, although they should be aware that it is not like the movies in terms of presentation. With that said, I strongly suggest binge-watching this show as soon as possible. Its high quality has me extremely excited for the other Marvel shows — “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” and “Loki” — coming out later this year.

Show: “WandaVision”

Starring: Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Bettany, Kathryn Hahn

Favorite Episodes: Episode 6, Episode 9

If you like: Marvel movies, classic sitcoms

Where to Watch: Disney Plus

Shamrocks: 5 out of 5

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About Dillon Begley

Dillon is a student from the tri-campus community. He is currently a senior at Holy Cross College who is majoring in business and pursuing a double minor in Political Studies and English. A local, Dillon enjoys reading, discussing and watching film/tv, listening to music, being an avid Notre Dame football fan, and contributing socially while being politically active. He particularly enjoys superhero movies, fiction novels, the NFL, playing Xbox, and having respectful and worthwhile political discourse with people from all walks of life.

Contact Dillon