By Dave B.
Following the events in “Avengers: Endgame”, Wanda Maximoff is bereft over the loss of her love, Vision. Eventually, she ends up in the town of Westview, somehow living the life of her dreams. Unbeknownst to her, the town has been cut off from the world, the residents mentally enslaved and living false lives, and her activities are being televised. As her idealized life begins to exhibit a dark underbelly, Wanda must face her past in order to embrace her future.
First of all, I want to give credit to Marvel for its risk-taking. WandaVision is a weird show and it could have easily flopped. It initially takes the format of a 1950s-era sitcom and subsequent episodes are formatted as sitcoms of the following decades. It’s a weird way to present what is fundamentally a superhero TV show and I’ve never seen anything quite like it. That said, it’s extremely effective at holding viewers’ attention and mostly effective as a means of conveying the deep emotional trauma that Wanda is struggling with. The show is filled with humor, love, excitement, and despair and all are presented with a deft touch that I found extremely compelling. To be honest, after the second or third episode, I found myself craving Fridays so that I could see what would happen next in the town of Westview.
That said, WandaVision is lacking a some things that would have made it a great show, instead of just a very good one. Most notably, the end of the series is not emotionally satisfying because there is no real sense of redemption. The audience is meant to empathize with Wanda’s plight, and we largely do. But there is no public accountability for her horrific actions (despite those actions not being entirely her fault). Viewers have come to expect a catharsis when we’re given stories where heroes stumble. Not providing that catharsis can be ok when it is intentionally withheld and serves a larger point. WandaVision’s omission in that regard feels more like a cop-out than anything else. The show ends on an exciting note, but not an emotionally satisfying one.
Initially, I wasn’t initially expecting much, but it turned out that I liked WandaVision. A lot. There’s nothing that I crave more than a unique television show or movie that is also entertaining and WandaVision definitely checks that box. I highly recommend it to pretty much anyone, especially fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. But despite the creativity that suffuses the series, it’s hard for me not to feel a bit let down that the strong emotional thread woven through the show becomes a bit frayed at the end.
Service: Disney Plus
Approx. Episode Length: 40 Minutes
I have no clue what I'm doing, but I'll keep doing whatever it is to the best of my ability.