The great Marvel drought of 2020 lasted for over a year. The last time we saw anything actually new from the Marvel Cinematic Universe was in Spider-Man: Far From Home all the way back in the summer of 2019. It seems almost fitting that a pandemic decided to strike at the very moment that Kevin Feige’s new Phase for the universe was set to begin last May with Black Widow. As of writing this, we are yet to see the much-hyped prequel story, instead, the drought was ended with something a lot more fitting for the start of a new phase in not just Marvel but for the Film and Television industry as a whole.
WandaVision, out of all of the delayed Marvel projects, was probably the best property to introduce us to this new era of Marvel entertainment. Firstly, of course, it’s the premier series for the universe. Weekly instalments are something fans will now have to get used to as about half of the MCU’s future content is going to be delivered this way. Secondly, it’s one of the most unique, dark, and out there projects that Kevin Feige has produced.
The all-around quality of WandaVision is fantastic. It’s a visually striking masterpiece of cinematography and special effects. Despite being filmed in the late 2010s, all of the eras of sitcoms that Wanda and Vision jaunt through are appropriately lovingly crafted and feel wonderfully authentic. What’s more, is that the writing of all these various sitcom homages is top notch. The sitcoms of the series never needed to be actually funny. They were only needed to show Wanda’s grieving and how she’s coping. But Marvel doesn’t half bake anything. Every iteration of the couple’s whimsical daily lives is very funny and charming. So even when the mystery is over it will still be fun to re-watch.
The writing of the show in general is also brilliant. Wanda and Vision are at the best they’ve ever been. The couple, especially Wanda, get some very emotional moments that could stand out among the best ever of this franchise. Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany give two incredible performances that would probably be Oscar-nominated if this wasn’t a superhero television show. Both actors perfectly capture the mannerisms of the characters of their various sitcoms and bring so much emotion to two characters who are reasonably forgotten behind the likes of Captain America and Iron Man.
Sadly though, WandaVision isn’t without its shortcomings. But to go into those we’re going to need to go full spoilers. So, if (for some reason) you haven’t watched WandaVision, stop reading now and go and watch this phenomenal show.
The reveal that Agnes was Agatha Harkness wasn’t really a shock to anyone who’d been reading up on the show. Kathryn Hahn’s credit was revealed on the IMDb page weeks before the release of the premiere. But if you missed that then you were still bombarded with the “theory” of Agnes’s true identity all across the internet. This did not detract from the quality of the reveal, however. “It Was Agatha All Along” is a song that will stay in the memories of Marvel fans for years to come. This little number also shows the amount of effort that went into this show’s commitment to the aesthetic of beloved sitcoms.
As Agnes, Kathryn Hahn was hilarious. Her over-the-top nosey neighbour character was a highlight to the sitcom antics of every episode. Though to be fair, this isn’t very far removed from the characters she usually plays. This fact becomes more apparent after the reveal. As when she’s playing Agatha her performance takes a noticeable dip. Agatha Harkness seems to be a villain reasonably conflicted with the tone of the show. Hahn gives a very hammy and pantomime-esque depiction of the character which isn’t really in keeping with the rather dark and sombre tone of the show. It seems like they auditioned Kathryn Hahn for Agnes and didn’t think about her Harkness until they got on set.
Probably the biggest theory to come from this show was the idea that WandaVision would open up the multiverse and give the MCU an easy and fulfilling introduction to the X-Men. This idea was given a lot of prevalence after the reveal that Evan Peters was playing “Pietro Maximoff”. Many speculated that by the end of the show we’d be seeing Professor X or maybe even Magneto come in to save the day. This was certainly not the case.
Fans were eagerly awaiting the explanation of how the Fox version of Quicksilver had appeared in the Disney universe. What they got was essentially a giant middle finger. A possible idea was that Agatha Harkness mistook the Evan Peters Quicksilver for the Aaron Taylor Johnson version whilst looking through all of time and space. Instead, we find out he’s just a normal teenager with a private parts joke for a name. This could very well be a misdirect and doesn’t close the door on the introduction of the Fox characters completely. But it certainly adds more confusion should Michael Fassbender’s Magneto ever meet Elizabeth Olsen’s Scarlet Witch.
Despite letting down Fox X-Men fans, the series finale was great. An emotional farewell to the Maximoffs, the reveal of the Scarlet Witch costume, and the fight turned debate with White Vision all amounted to a captivating thrill ride. This series will go down as one of the best of the genre and will definitely inspire series to come. The future of the MCU is even brighter now that we know the shows are as good if not possibly even better than the films within it.
Dir: Matt Shakman
Cast: Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Bettany, Kathryn Hahn
Creator: Jac Schaeffer
Prd: Sarah Finn, Kevin Feige, Louis D ‘Esposito
Music: Christophe Beck, Alex Kovacs
DOP: Jess Hall
Runtime: 9 Episodes (30-50 mins each)