Proving it to be more than just another overdone superhero narrative, Disney Plus’s new show WandaVision just released its sixth episode. While it may feature famous Marvel characters, such as Vision (Paul Bettany), Wanda (Elizabeth Olsen) and Pietro Maximoff (Evan Peters), running around levitating objects, manipulating space and running at the speed of sound, this show’s strengths do not lie in its affiliation with the classic Marvel superhero story.
First and foremost, WandaVision is a story about Wanda, who is in denial about the loss of a loved one. The real catalyst behind Wandavision’s plot is Wanda attempting to seek comfort through nostalgia and manipulation of the people and objects around her. While most people seek comfort through watching their favorite sitcoms, Wanda creates an entire televised town in which she has complete control.
Especially in the first few episodes of the series, the ways in which the camera moves tells the audience when they are watching Wanda’s perfect reality and when there is something not quite right. The sparing use of close-up shots as well as the usage of bright color in a black and white scene warns the audience that there is something wrong with this seemingly perfect tv world.
WandaVision is an ode to the history of television broadcasting. Each episode so far has mimicked and parodied classic shows from each decade such as I Love Lucy, The Brady Bunch and Full House. From the costumes to the miniplots related to each episode’s decade of television, the show is not afraid to experiment and have fun. The use of silly side stories helps to balance some of the other aspects of the show such as Wanda’s grief and the sobering transition into reality that begins to occur after a few episodes.
Speaking of reality, this show is not afraid to break the fourth wall. Whether it’s the neighbor friend, Agnes (Kathryn Hahn), in Wanda’s “show” asking if she should start from the top or when Pietro asks where Wanda’s Sokovian accent went, there are many clues making us aware that this is a production. While some viewers may find it takes them out of the fantasy world, it just makes it all the more entertaining for others.
Furthermore, the recasting of Pietro, for a fan of both Marvel and the X-Men, is really fun to see. Evan Peters was, after all, the original Quicksilver, so it is extremely satisfying to see him reclaim the role and play the excitable hero, rather than the stone faced, two dimensional Aaron Taylor-Johnson version.
What is most unforgettable about WandaVision so far, is its representation of strong female characters; Wanda Maximoff, Monica Rambeau (Teyonah Parris) and Darcy Lewis (Kat Dennings) are way more interesting than any of the other characters introduced. Despite being broken, Wanda is extremely powerful. Agent Rambeau is skilled in combat and incredibly headstrong and Darcy is an astrophysicist that isn’t afraid to sass any man that tells her what to do.
There is no question that WandaVision is a Marvel tv show, but it resonates with its audience because it does more than just play on superhero tropes. The characters feel real and so does their pain. The story is moving, yet still offers a heartwarming experience at times. The originality of the WandaVision’s plot is something that most viewers will find refreshing yet nostalgic.
WandaVision is available to stream on Disney Plus.
By Kyra Matus