WandaVision (2021) Review
By Hervé St-Louis
September 26, 2021 - 00:34
Studios: Marvel Studios
Writer(s): Roy Thomas, Steve Englehart, John Byrne, Peter Cameron, Mackenzie Dohr, Laura Donney, Bobak Esfarjani, Megan McDonnell, Jac Schaeffer, Cameron Squires, Gretchen Enders, Chuck Hayward
Starring: Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Bettany, Kathryn Hahn, Teyonah Parris, Josh Stamberg, Randall Park, Kat Dennings, Julian Hilliard, Jett Klyne
Directed by: Matt Shakman
Produced by: Jac Schaeffer, Kevin Feige
Running Time: 5h 50 minutes
Release Date: 15 January 2021
Rating: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Distributors: Disney +
When comic writers Roy Thomas and Steve Englehart created the stories that saw Scarlet Witch fall in love and eventually marry the Vision, they were trying to add pathos to the Avengers’ comic by using the characters that they could modify because they had no series of their own. Some concerns which interest me such as the human-computer interaction angle of having a human develop a romantic relationship with a machine are of interest to me and create many philosophical questions which where barely addressed by then. At most, we got a story where we were told that “even an android can cry.”
Even an Android can cry is and the title of one of the episodes where, much like the comic, Vision asks what he is exactly. How does he exist? The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) has dug deeply in the rich source material but made sense of it for a new generation. Instead of explaining Vision’s “soul” as being a residue of the brain patterns of another man, Simon Williams, the superhero known as Wonder Man, his mind was the produce of the mind stone and more artificial intelligence developed by Tony Stark. Some of the complexities have been erased but the epic story and pathos are the same.
In essence, Marvel Studios did what Warner Bro animation has been doing for decades. They take convoluted material from the comics, clean it while keeping the pathos attached to the source material and present it to a new audience with a twist and dynamic ways. The idea of the decades-based television series through which WandaVision is staged is remarkable and instead of mixing old comics with the materials, borrow from adjoining television lore. This series is played as a modernized version of a television show after all. Streaming television is still television after all.
I loved this series and the acting by Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bethany. They are perfect as Wanda Maximoff and Vision. She is irrational and thinking about her needs first, while truly loving her husband. He is cold but caring and devoted to her. There are aspects of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Tender is the Night with the distraught wife and the overprotective husband. It’s wonderful to think of all the rich cultural lore that one can find in this series.
An aspect that I loved as a comic geek is that Wanda Maximoff were finally explained as being about modifying probabilities like in the comics but to another level. In the MCU’s Avengers, the Scarlet Witch was turned into a Jean Grey clone with telekinetic, telepathic, and psionic powers. That is not who she is and never was who she was. In WandaVision, she gained back her original powers and that is good. I don’t care is she keeps Jean Grey’s classic powers now!
What I found a bit annoying was the episode with Agatha Harkness and the following fight. The pace was slower than usual, and the confrontation felt like the typical villain reveal that was unnecessary. But in a sense, even that is a television trope. I also disliked how Monica Rambeau treated Wanda Maximoff as a victim while she treated her boos as a villain. At the end of the series, Wanda Maximoff, just like in the comics, had no redeeming values. She is evil and conceited.
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