Wandavision vs. The Falcon and the Winter Soldier

Wandavision and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier have been two of the most anticipated releases from Marvel and Disney+. They are the first glimpses fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe are getting of the universe after the Avengers brought back half the world’s population in Avengers: Endgame. Both deal with different aspects of the aftermath of the “Blip.” So which show does it better?

Wandavision focuses on the relationship between Wanda Maximoff, also known as Scarlet Witch, and Vision, a synthezoid who drew energy from a substance called the Mind stone until he was killed in Avengers: Infinity War. We see the couple in the format of television sitcoms through the decades, complete with fashion and filming style reminiscent of famous shows such as The Dick Van Dyke ShowFull House, and Modern Family. It turns out that Wanda hijacked a town and turned it into a show to avoid dealing with the loss of Vision. Various government players such as Monica Rambeau get involved and try to save the town.

As a casual Marvel fan who has only watched the Avengers movies, I had no idea what to expect from Wandavision, and I was lost for the first several episodes. Once the plot began to evolve, I was drawn in by the constant cliffhangers and slow reveal of information. I enjoyed it until the last two episodes or so when they revealed a bizarre storyline about witches. It felt like a very rushed ending that left room open to developing the story in the following season. I would have loved to see Monica and her colleagues step in and help Wanda release the town, but that plot was diminished in the end. 

Despite its less-than-stellar ending, Wandavision felt natural as a television show. Audiences tuned in for one episode per week and spent the time in between discussing plot theories. 

On the other hand, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier feels much more like a traditional MCU movie, with lots of action fight scenes and lots of characters brought back from the movies. It focuses on Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes, two of Steve Rogers’ best friends before his death, while they work with the new Captain America to take down a group of terrorists called the Flag Smashers. 

From the first episode, this show had me yelling at the TV during the fight scenes. They were exciting and did not feel forced in the episodes. It is advisable to watch the Captain America movies before watching since I sometimes feel like I am missing stories about Bucky’s background as the Winter Soldier. 

My favorite aspect of both series is the moral ambiguity of the good and bad guys and the fact that there is no clear distinction between them. Both sides in both shows have compelling, realistic, and well-written backgrounds that make it difficult to fully agree with or stick to one side. Both have nuanced and evolving relationships, whether between Wanda and Vision or between Sam and Bucky.

I prefer TFATWS for its action scenes and faster pace, but both will likely be important in the future rollout of MCU shows and movies, and both are engaging and immersive. Each has a very different pacing, atmosphere and plot, so each viewer’s favorite will be based on personal preference.