Arts and Entertainment

Opinion: WandaVision, A Pop-Culture Phenomenon

In the past decade and a half, the Marvel Cinematic Universe, or MCU, has blown up from small but modest beginnings to a worldwide phenomenon. When Avengers Endgame came out two years ago, it was hard to find someone who didn’t know who Thanos was. But in case you don’t know, the Marvel Cinematic Universe is a series of superhero movies. What makes the MCU unique is all of the movies are connected. For example, the ending of Thor Ragnarok leads directly into Avengers Infinity War. Due to the Corona Virus outbreak last year, the MCU delayed all of its movies. To Marvel fans, this was discouraging. People were excited to see what was next in the universe, like Black Widow, which was supposed to release back in May 2020 but has been delayed to July 2021. Fortunately, there was one thing to look forward to: the newly announced WandaVision, slated for a January release date.

People were very excited about WandaVision. A common criticism about Marvel movies is they play it too safe and often contain similar plots. What was special about WandaVision is it looked like it was trying something new. WandaVision follows Wanda Maximof and Vision, who are dating. Every episode would take place in a different decade, parodying a popular sitcom in that time. For example, one episode took place in the mid-2000s and parodied The Office and Modern Family. For the first three episodes, we watch Wanda and Vision in this weird sitcom world, knowing something is off. Vision was killed two years ago, why is he alive? What is this sitcom world? This all comes to a head when we find out that Wanda was distraught over the loss of Vision, so she created this sitcom world so that she could live with him again. As time goes on Vision becomes more aware and begs Wanda to free him. This becomes even more complicated because Agatha Harkness, a witch, tries to steal Wanda’s powers for herself. Wanda defeats Agatha and closes the sitcom world, making her lose Vision.

This show focuses on grief. Wanda’s arc throughout the show consists of her dealing with the loss of her boyfriend Vision and learning to cope with it. The show also happened at the perfect time. WandaVision was a Disney+ exclusive, and with the combination of The Mandalorian Season 2, another well-received show, the two shows helped the platform become the 2nd most popular streaming service in the world with over 90 million subscribers, sitting behind Netflix, which has over 200 million subscribers.

Another way WandaVision is unique is the fact that it’s a television show. The MCU has been strictly movies and bringing a show as a Disney+ exclusive was hard to sell to some people. The show is a mix of mystery and romance, and following an episodic weekly structure allowed for people to come up with many theories about the show. After every Friday night, people would have all kinds of crazy theories from the new episode. Marvel was very fortunate that they were able to release their first Marvel TV show during a pandemic when people were thirsty for Marvel content and couldn’t go to theaters anyway. The show’s success is great news for Marvel because it plans on releasing more shows down the line. In just 2021 alone, Marvel will be releasing The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Loki, What If…?, Miss Marvel, and Hawkeye. This isn’t even including their movies.

I asked Max Corbin ‘23 what his thoughts were about the show.

“I think that the show had a cool concept and left us off on a great cliffhanger. Although I felt they stretched many plots out for far too long and many characters were undeveloped, I still think that this was a very entertaining show and am looking forward to seeing what’s next for these characters.”

As for where my opinion lies, I agree with Max. I think that some characters were boring and unimportant, especially the main villain, whose motivations aren’t clear. Wanda and Vision’s arc about grief is very well done, since the show is mainly about them, the show succeeds in that area. The pacing in some areas was also pretty slow and dragged out. Overall, I do think that this show is worth watching, and am very excited to see what Marvel has in store for us next.