Spoiler Alert: This article contains spoilers from episodes 1 through 4 of WandaVision, as well as the MCU as a whole, and speculates on the rest of the season.
About a month into the semester now, I have three things on my mind: essays, coffee, and WandaVision.
The show was announced to the public in April of 2019, following the release of Avengers: Endgame that same month. Kevin Feige, the chief creative officer at Marvel Studios, pitched it as a “half sitcom, half MCU [Marvel Cinematic Universe] spectacular” later that year at D23.
I must admit that WandaVision was on the lower half of my list of projects I was excited about from the MCU. I have always loved Wanda, but Vision never really grabbed me. I don’t think I really blinked an eye when he died in Avengers: Infinity War, I was just sad for Wanda. So, when the show was announced as some sort of fantasy of what life with Vision would have been like, I wasn’t all that interested. In fact, I was actually a little bummed that it was going to be the first project delivered to Disney+ of all the shows in the lineup.
The MCU has a funny way of reeling me back in right when I need them to, and holy cannoli — I am obsessed with this show and everything to do with it. I watched the first two episodes the afternoon they dropped, and by that night I had seen them three times and was searching for fan theories and conspiracies. The next day, I made a 1950s chili recipe and Snickerdoodles to watch it a couple of times more. I have now seen the four released episodes (at the time this article was written) too many times to count.
I could go on with all my thoughts about this show forever, but I tried to condense my thoughts to what I find just absolutely genius about the show.
For one, the camerawork is stunning. One of the first things I noticed in episode one when Mr. Hart began choking was the switch from a multi-camera setup common for sitcoms to a single-camera shot, usually used in drama series. The change so effortlessly highlighted the change of tone and sucked the viewer in. Beyond that first episode, we have seen some absolutely gorgeous crane work and two-shots that do the most in setting the scene.
Going off of that, the tone shifts are shocking, but never out of place. Despite the complete shift from the black and white sitcom of the first episode to cinema-level storytelling of the fourth, the show feels nothing but cohesive. When watched in order, it makes complete sense how we got from point A to B, which is an outstanding accomplishment in such a short amount of time. And I do mean short. No episode has yet exceeded 40 minutes, the fourth clocking in at a whopping 35, and yet so much story has already been told.
Yet, at the same time, almost no story has been told. Instead of answers, each new episode just gives us new questions to mull over. We leave each episode feeling satisfied enough to flock to social media to check in on the newest theories and catches, but so confused that we are hungry for more. The show has mastered the art of telling us nothing and making us crave everything.
The aesthetic, though ever-changing, is a major highlight of the show. From using houses from classics like The Dick Van Dyke Show and The Brady Bunch to sitcom nods from all generations, the show really drives home how intentional the sitcom is. Everything about it is staged, and everything about it is familiar. The costuming itself can be another whole article, but let me just say, *chef’s kiss.*
MCU tie-ins like Monica Rambeau, Jimmy Woo, Dr. Darcy Lewis, etc. were so perfectly intertwined. It never felt like the studio was throwing names and faces at us to keep us pacified. The blip being the start of the first episode was a wonderful way to tie in the events of Avengers: Endgame (which, apparently, the show is set only three weeks after) without being obnoxious.
I could really go on for days about the show, but to wrap up, I want to touch on the stars. Vision is so enjoyable, but so devastating to watch. He’s so sweet and just so in love with Wanda, but as we slowly watch him become more and more aware of how wrong this little life of theirs is, it just becomes real that he isn’t fully real (we think?). This show has made me feel deeply about a character I literally didn’t care about just a few weeks ago.
Wanda: I am both in love with and completely terrified of Wanda Maximoff. To see her happy in the first two episodes had me rejoicing, but the slow realization of how completely broken she is has been so heartbreaking. Watching her slowly dissolve into what might be seriously the most well-crafted villain origin story the MCU (and perhaps superhero cinema in general) has ever seen has been an absolute joy from the start. Wanda, in spite of her powers and status, is still a human with very human emotions, and she has been traumatized over and over. Do I believe that Wanda alone created this little universe? No. I think “Ralph” has a good deal to do with this, whoever he is. Maybe. As the show is slated as a miniseries that will lead right into Doctor Strange in the Universe of Madness, I think most of our questions are bound to be answered soon, mainly of what role Wanda will play in the next Strange film: friend or foe? Only time, and more episodes of WandaVision, will tell.