'WandaVision' Series Review: Disney+ Superhero Drama Is Hidden In A Sitcom With Elizabeth Olsen
During a healthy break away from the bombardment of their superhero movies, Marvel Cinematic Universe's continuation comes in the form of WandaVision, a nine episode miniseries that flirts with sitcoms from several eras. As the title would suggest, the arc revolves around Wanda Maximoff a.k.a Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) who we find in that sitcom format with Vision (Paul Bettany) as they reside in a small town of Westview while laugh tracks and multi-camera setups are awfully present in their lives. Strange occurrences begin to slowly weave their way in there too to suggest that maybe everything isn't quite what it looks like, later the world also expands beyond the town where other characters start to figure out some mysteries as well. The setup lends itself to some interesting developments and refreshing qualities to the overall universe, notably in the first few episodes, although the show doesn't quite nail its superhero landing.
Sitcom aesthetics and the peculiarity of episodes one through four are really where the series shines brightest and since the show is essentially about grief and dealing with that while having these extreme qualities like Wanda has, the absurdity of it all offers a whole new playing field for the characters. It also helps tremendously that Olsen happens to be as great as she is, whether that is her glistening in the comedy department or near the end when Wanda's realising that some things shouldn't be permanent. Olsen doesn't even have a weak episode which is really praiseworthy. Beyond her the show also manages to have fine supporting players like the ''outsiders'' Teyonah Parris (as Monica), Randall Park (Jimmy), familiar face of Kat Dennings once again as Darcy and Kathryn Hahn (Agnes). All of them manage to keep things captivating as the level of intrigue in Wanda's bubble is coming down.
Change that happens in Westview over the course of this show thankfully isn't too fast so it would affect the tone but much of it doesn't really stand for anything at the end. What does feel complete is Wanda and Vision's relationship and how Wanda's grief manifests itself but other characters don't get that treatment. Evan Peters' character is the biggest example as that fizzles out like an old balloon for a cheap joke, Agnes' last confrontation is awkwardly put together considering how good the reveal was and the S.W.O.R.D stuff is really standard for the franchise. The biggest flaw though is writing of Wanda in the last episode. It's mind-numbing how the show results just to another round of ''Crash! Boom! Pow!'' of superheroing, while Wanda faces no consequences for overstepping boundaries and basically incarcerating a whole town. All the character stuff gets left half-cooked just to serve future installments of the franchise. You can't just wrap up one storyline out of five and call it a day, especially when the beginning was something fresh in the bigger picture.
Smileys: Elizabeth Olsen, premise, casting
Frowneys: Characterisation, ending
Witches and witch-y stuff over here! Be distracted! Lots of purple!