WARNING! WARNING! This will go into spoilers on the whole season. If you have not seen this series yet, stop now and go check it out for yourself. Otherwise, prepare for an in-depth review on one of the most surprising shows in 2021.
In an alternate universe, Wanda (Elizabeth Olsen) and Vision (Paul Bettany) are married and living in suburbia, keeping their powers a secret. However this turns out to be a deeper investigation coming to terms with the events following Endgame. This involves a monumental kidnapping and a possible crossover with another universe after Disney’s recent business transactions.
Since the pandemic took over the world, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has remained frozen after Spider-Man: Far From Home. Disney Plus launched before lockdown, but several planned shows were delayed due to safety precautions in Hollywood. So this is the first time in a year and a half where we pick-up in a post-Endgame storyline, dealing with the paths our heroes are taking following a life changing battle to save the world. Seeing as the episodes were released weekly rather than adapting Netflix’s strategy of dropping an entire season in one day, this will cover spoiler material. So if you have not watched the series yet, stop reading and go catch up on all the episodes. You have been warned.
At first everyone was confused on the show’s direction with its I Love Lucy antics involving Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany as Wanda and Vision. Both of which have incredible chemistry in every episode. The comedy in general is smart in how it parodies past sit-coms, along with giving cheesy commercials surprisingly dark endings. But as the series progressed, it started to peel back its layers, uncovering a deeper conspiracy nobody saw coming. This brought viewers back with more anticipation as questions were slowly being answered over the course of a month. That’s the brilliance behind what was seen as an odd direction for this series. With each new episode, we jump to a new era of television keeping the look fresh and varied. Meanwhile on the outside, there’s a line of morality constantly being blurred as Wanda becomes not just the main character, but the villain in how she ends up in her own little world. But let us now dive into spoiler territory so we may properly review this series:
At the beginning of episode four, we get a new perspective on what is now known as the blip: everyone being snapped back into existence. Endgame portrayed it as a ray of hope, Far From Home took a comedic approach, and WandaVision takes a chaotic angle showing a hospital dealing with patients outnumbering doctors. It’s here we’re introduced to Monica Rambeau (Teyonah Parris), the daughter of Maria Rambeau (Lashana Lynch) from Captain Marvel. It also brings up the spiritual successor agency S.W.O.R.D., which is a mixed inclusion. On the one hand, this gives an opportunity to tie into the Civil War conflict after the government lost three of its strongest supporters: Iron Man, Black Widow and Vision (Four if the late Chadwick Boseman’s Black Panther will be succeeded by an in universe character. RIP). On the other hand, it doesn’t take Civil War into account, thus the government villain ends up being generic when all the side characters are memorable. At the very least, it gives Captain Marvel more significance by including characters that are now branching on their own paths: Monica, Jim Woo (Randal Parks), and the returning Darcy Lewis (Kat Dennings) from the Thor films. Despite focusing on one story, all the side quests tie into the big picture, which is not easy given how the worst super hero media tries to squeeze in so much content at once. This aids the pacing by giving the viewer enough information to digest, while also leaving them hungry for more by the end credits. Anyone who’s seen Toy Story 2 and how Woody begs to see the next episode of Woody’s Roundup can easily relate to the situation.
A bombshell dropped at the end of episode 5 when who should show up before the credits, but Wanda’s deceased brother Quicksilver. However, this wasn’t the Aaron-Taylor Johnson Quicksilver from Age of Ultron, this was Evan Peters’ Quicksilver from the Fox X-Men Universe. People freaked at the idea of this show being the genesis for the X-Men in this universe after Disney bought 20th Century Fox, which includes Deadpool. Unfortunately, this pulls an Iron Man 3 in execution when it’s revealed that the character is a random civilian named Ralph Bohner, evidently trolling its audience into thinking we might see a new expansion of a beloved group of heroes.
At the end of episode seven, it’s revealed that Wanda’s neighbor Agatha (Kathryn Hahn) is responsible for everything going on in this world, from the time jumping to controlling everyone like puppets. It turns out she is Agatha Harkness, the only witch powerful enough to rival Wanda. Kathryn Hahn brings plenty of charisma to this role and she proves to be a formidable threat in the final episode. What doesn’t make sense is trying to mirror her backstory of the Salem Witch Trials with Wanda since it takes the focus off of the people that are crossfire prisoners sustaining this altered reality. This series already has an interesting backward development of a character that has been both the hero and the villain, but this parallel living doesn’t add much to the grand scheme. Fans were already on edge when Wanda was being portrayed as the most sympathetic villain after Thanos broke the universe’s embarrassing streak of underwhelming antagonists.
Episode eight is the one everybody remembers for revealing the tragic history of Wanda throughout the entire universe, starting with her family life where her love of sit-coms originated, to her Guinea pig government life, to settling in the Avengers station as Vision keeps a close eye on her. There’s also the aftermath of Endgame when all the heroes go their separate paths. Normal people may have their loved ones back, but she still has to deal with her loss when she’s not aloud to give Vision a proper burial since he has billions of dollars worth of vibranium in his system. On top of that, they bought some land in New Jersey to build a house, but without him it’s just an empty parking lot. In her grief, Wanda sends a shockwave through Westview creating an alternate reality and a Vision who is still alive. All the emotions of her going through the stages of grief showcase Elizabeth Olsen at her best, and here’s hoping she’s at least nominated for an Emmy when most award shows are very prejudice against super hero media.
However, this runs into several plot contradictions involving Agatha. It’s revealed that Agatha is behind all the suffering, but this episode backtracks on that claim with proof that Wanda’s grief engulfs the city. By the end of the last episode, her battle with Agatha is seen as a self sacrifice. Why? If she’s responsible for these events, why is there very little consequence for these actions that would otherwise fit the Civil War storyline? True, the government tried to frame her for kidnapping Vision, but that’s still a lot of people who can testify against her. This was starting to make us feel bad for someone who was going back to their villainous ways for relatable reasons, but by the end it chucks that out the window for some made up heroism. There are also unanswered questions surrounding this series when looking back:
The one question that is never answered concerns Vision’s body. At the end of Infinity War, Vision’s body is in Wakanda, which nobody but Thanos could enter given the country’s advanced technology. What’s puzzling is how the government got a hold of it in the first place. The Avengers were right next to Vision during the snap, and yet none of them decided to take their now deceased friend with them when regrouping in Endgame? Where was he kept for the last five years as the world tried to move on from losing half the universe? As of the last episode this has yet to be explained, even by Darcy Lewis who is the gossiper on these events when Michael Pena isn’t around.
The other question revolves around the fact that Wanda and Vision bought a house before fighting Thanos. If memory serves right, Wanda and Vision were running from the United States government at the end of Civil War, having switched sides following the airport battle. Technically they’re wanted criminals for violating the Sokovia Accords. So where in between all these events did they find time to buy land to build their own house? Both characters were gone until Endgame, but are the Sokovia Accords still in effect? Moving on:
Despite the government having Vision’s body, they create their own to frame Wanda for murder. It leads to the best fight in the series between Wanda’s Vision and White Vision. There’s the usual punches, kicks, and even phasing powers that adds more variety to the combat strategy, but then it gets philosophical as both use their brains to question each other’s existence. This might be the most unique battle in the entire universe, even topping the Dormammu encounter from Doctor Strange, using logic and reasoning to justify what’s happened in the last eight episodes. With all that said, we have yet to find out where White Vision is headed once he leaves the battle, including the fact that he now has Vision’s memories. Does this mean he will be the new incarnation of the character? Comic books have a long history of bringing people back from the dead one way or another, and this universe might start going down that road for better or worse given how much impact the deaths in Endgame left on everyone.
The Ending + Post Credit Scenes
In the end, Wanda defeats Agatha in a mono e mono sorceress duel and accepts her grief, giving up her reality to reside in an isolated cabin. The final moments between Vision and Wanda as the digital walls close in around them is so touching that it hurts to lose Vision again, even if there is closure between the two. We’ve witnessed their struggles, their bond, and now her attempt to find happiness as the world continues to scar her. Wanda’s normal self lives a quiet life making tea while her alter ego, the Scarlet Witch, is now studying the Darkhold hoping to find her family again. No doubt this will be the introduction to Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness by director Sam Raimi in the near future since none of the theories of him making a cameo in this series came true.
Meanwhile, Monica is intercepted by a Skrull agent who plans to take her to space to meet Captain Marvel. Seeing as Monica gained powers of her own when attempting to penetrate the forcefield to help Wanda, she definitely has potential to stand on her own as a hero, as well as answer the question of whether or not Carol was around when her mother passed away. Like I said in my Captain Marvel review, it would be interesting to see someone who has personality to take the space hero mantel, and Monica is that person. In fact, her parallels with Wanda would’ve been a better comparison given what the two have recently experienced in terms of loss. While not a perfect wrap up, it brings closure to important storylines while setting up future events we’re all anticipating.
WandaVision is a clever return to the Marvel Cinematic Universe that threw its audience for a loop with every episode. Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany have incredible chemistry, the changing setting keeps things interesting, the comedy is smart, and the themes of grief gives this series its own unique identity that hasn’t been experienced since the Infinity War snap. But the fan trolling surrounding the X-Men is uncalled for while several plot contradictions dampen the overall message. Still, for a series that had the nerve to venture outside its comfort zone and not be cookie cutter exposition, it mostly succeeds. Those who are craving Marvel content after a year of starvation may need to go in with an open mind since this takes an unusual storytelling approach. If you’re not intrigued by episode four, there’s no harm in skipping the rest so long as you watch a cliff notes version on YouTube. Either way, it’s good to be surrounded by the heroes we’ve grown attached to for over a decade, and there’s no stopping them from venturing forward into an uncertain future.