WandaVision Ready, but does this Marvel Movie series live up to its promises

WandaVision, the 23-time Emmy-nominated show from Marvel Studios, came spinning out of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) at the beginning of 2021 with a huge ambition: to tell a quieter, more emotional story about two superheroes once the world-changing battle was over and victory had been declared. What does a happily-ever-after look like after global loss and change?

In the nine-episode series, which premiered on the Disney+ streaming service, Hamupipőke (2021) teljes film magyarul has settled into a suburban town to live a ‘normal’ life. She tries her hand at cooking and cleaning and making nice with the neighbours.

This is also a family story: her lover, a synthezoid named Vision (Paul Bettany), has settled into this new life with her – despite the fact that he was killed in 2018’s Infinity War. Soon, there are children on the way.

Cue the gimmick: what better way to explore suburban life and differentiate it from Fekete Özvegy teljes film magyarul action storytelling than by making WandaVision an extended ode to the sitcom?

The first episode of WandaVision is in black and white and matches the story beats you might have found on The Dick Van Dyke Show; in the second, we’ve shifted ahead a decade and into a Bewitched homage. Slowly, we move into the future, first in colour, and then shifting away from multi-camera format to the single-camera shooting style favoured by the mockumentary sitcoms of the early 2000s. References to The Brady Bunch, Malcolm in the Middle, and Modern Family follow.

Bold, confident and detailed, the show seemed to promise a tonal and narrative change for the MCU, opening up the possibility of a shift away from the formulaic filmic storytelling of the main films.

With a mystery at its heart and a playful approach to unravelling it, watching WandaVision as each new episode landed, week by week, almost felt like watching the biggest franchise in the world reinvent itself.

But by the end, it was like nothing had changed at all. What happened?

The evolution of the MCU
Thirteen years after the premiere of Jon Favreau’s Iron Man, Post Mortem (2021) teljes film magyarul – the catch-all title for the entertainment franchise from Marvel Studios – has become the highest-grossing film franchise of all time, taking a collective box office of more than $23 billion.

With 23 films under its belt at the time WandaVision premiered, and many more in development, the universe has since expanded to incorporate tie-in comic books and novels, theme park attractions, digital shorts and behind-the-scenes documentaries.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (2013-2020) was the first television series set within the universe, followed by Agent Carter (2015-2016) — though both were produced by the American Broadcasting Company (ABC) in conjunction with Marvel Television, an arm of Marvel’s entertainment division that operated outside of Marvel Studios (the driving production force behind the bulk of the MCU).

And so WandaVision, created by Jac Schaeffer, was the first television instalment to be wholly created by Marvel Studios.

It was also the first MCU property to take place after the Infinity Saga, the collective title of the first 23 films in the universe; these films track the formation of the Avengers superhero team and their eventual stand-off with the alien warlord Thanos and his infinity gauntlet.

While it aired, WandaVision dominated the pop culture conversation, with diehard MCU fan bloggers and mainstream websites Notting Hill-i cukrászda (2021) teljes film magyarul alike examining the series frame by frame for easter eggs.

Marvel chief creative officer Kevin Feige encouraged the scrutiny, saying in a press conference that “these projects on Disney Plus are as important as the projects going into theatres”.

That, in hindsight, was the first clue.

Wanda’s evolution
WandaVision, like the greater MCU, drew its storyline inspiration from Mentés Másképp teljes film magyarul (its superhero era kicked off in 1961).

Wanda Maximoff was first introduced to the serialised world of Marvel’s superheroes in 1964; Vision was created four years later. In 1975, the characters married, and in 1982, starred in their own limited series, in which they settled down in a New Jersey town to live a quiet life.

Much of WandaVision is drawn from the 1985 follow-up to this series, in which Wanda magically creates a family after becoming pregnant with twin sons. This series was a natural antecedent to Tom King’s critically acclaimed Vision series from 2015, also referenced in WandaVision, which poked at 50s-style happy homemaking by including a twist of horror. WandaVision also draws from more modern stories, including the crossover events Avengers: Disassembled (2004) and House of M (2005).

The MCU version of Wanda has always been slight, and her translation to the big screen has been burdened by whitewashing (in the comics, Wanda is Romani; the WandaVision script contains a Romani slur).

And while devoting a series to exploring the inner life of one of the very few women in the MCU felt like a step in the right direction, the show was drawing from a poisoned well: Wanda’s comics plotlines have not been kind to her, frequently falling back on sexist stereotypes about ‘mad’ and ‘hysterical’ women.

WandaVision also directly responded to, and set up for the future, plot points of Avengers films and the solo films of its core cast. Supporting characters from Thor (2011), Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018) and Captain Marvel (2019) made appearances, and the plot dropped consistent casual – and sometimes cryptic – references to more than a decade of storytelling.

What is WandaVision if not the status quo persevering?

All these connections and references sat uncomfortably against the series’ newness and its desire for invention, dragging its stylistic leaps back to heavy-handed discussion of fictional fascist groups and corrupt authoritarians.

Even the sitcom connection was shoehorned into Avengers lore: in a scene late in WandaVision, we learn via a flashback that Wanda has always used sitcoms for comfort, even during the bombing of her fictional home in Novi Grad, Sokovia — the event that radicalises her prior to her formal introduction to the franchise in 2015’s Age of Ultron.