⭐⭐⭐⭐ based on 1 review.

tl;dr: A refreshingly original opening half, with some excellent character arcs and depth, but a little let down by a more cookie-cutter superhero finale.


Marvel Cinematic UniverseMarvel


Spoilers Ahead: My reviews are not spoiler-free. You have been warned.

On paper, Wandavision sounded like a title in search of a purpose. I mean, how good could a Wanda and Vision TV show be? Then the first trailer dropped, and it looked quirky as all hell, which boded well. We also learned that the plot was taking place post Endgame, which seemed to offer up some unusual paradoxes, considering one of the title characters was, therefore, dead. As a result, I didn't really know what to expect, and after the first few episodes, that feeling had only mounted. The opening half of this series is sublime. It's incredibly clever, endlessly entertaining, and consistently reinvents itself whilst keeping the audience intrigued yet in the dark as to what is actually going on.

It's all great. The quirky TV-through-the-ages format, the constant homages and parodies, the excellent cast – with both Paul Bettany and Elisabeth Olson both knocking it out of the park – and, above all, the sinister undertones that give the show a delightfully macabre edge. I even enjoyed the "real world" exposition and thought they managed to make these parts feel very MCU, especially with the inclusion of several side characters from the films. It simultaneously showed its hand very early and yet deftly kept one step ahead of the audience, making you desperate to see more, learn more, know more about what was going on. Plus, that unexpected Quicksilver cameo was just utter perfection.

And then the big reveal hits. It's Agatha, All Along! I'll give the show this much: I wasn't expecting it. The sitcom format had convinced me that she was just playing her role, but was a bit too close to the eye of the storm, giving her a bit more insight. Her being another witch, well, I don't hate it, but it didn't quite feel like the perfect stuck landing. What's more, the whole Agatha versus Wanda, Vision verses, um, Vision finalé just felt too MCU. We've been deriding comic movies for years about how the villain is always just a bad version of the hero: same powers, often similar origins. It's a retread of the whole "you are what life makes of you/some people are just rotten at the core" paradoxical plot threads, which feels like such a shame when the rest of the show was so very unique.

This isn't to say that it's a bad closing act. Visually, it's stunning. I really like the revelations around Wanda's "Scarlet Witch" persona and am glad we're finally seeing her character take on that mantle. Monica's transformation was cleverly tied in and I enjoyed her moment in the spotlight. And the show did clever things with the whole fake-reality/enslavement concept. The problem is that the moral underpinnings of what Wanda had done, the repercussions of her fake reality including things like sentient children that were complete fabrications, her own struggles with grief and yearning and family, even the Vision's Ship of Theseus conundrum, these are all more interesting plot threads and themes than the old "witch versus witch" showdown. The story still touched on them all, of course, but it did it around the edges, rather than making it central, and that's a shame. This could have been a smaller story, with smaller consequences, but a much greater emotional core. Instead, it's another third act superhero showdown with some pretty, flashing lights. I'd have even found it okay if we learned at the very end that Agatha was another witch; it would explain her ability to break the fourth wall to a degree. But it should have been an after-credits, leading into a story where Wanda really takes on her new mantle. It didn't need to be shoehorned in here.

That aside, if this is the level of series we can expect from the next generation of Marvel TV shows, then I'm fully on board. Wandavision is a truly unique piece of the MCU and, right now, that breath of fresh air within the franchise will be incredibly useful. I imagine a lot of the plot from the show will end up resolved in the upcoming Doctor Strange sequel, but I hope that we get another Wandavision-like entry. Olsen is great in the role, and it was hugely enjoyable watching her really flex those muscles when given the chance, so I'd certainly be up for another, equally wacky adventure.

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