The Importance of WandaVision

 

 

Avengers Infinity War was the first movie of the Marvel Cinematic Universe I saw in theaters. I had never been particularly drawn to Marvel movies, so this theater experience was like being thrust into the last chapters of a long and multifaceted book. I didn’t know the majority of the superheroes on screen, but two, in particular, stood out to me. Characters Wanda Maximoff and The Vision seemed to have a love story untold and cut short. I was drawn in by their dynamic and disappointed when the film ended without the promise of more of their story. When Disney announced a streamed series about the two, I was intrigued and quickly hopped on the WandaVision bandwagon.

Now that the series has finished streaming, and I’ve been able to take in the plot of the show alongside other viewers, it is abundantly clear how important WandaVision is to media and the MCU fanbase. For starters, it’s no secret that mainstream media often lacks representation that isn’t white, cishet men. Before Captain Marvel, the MCU’s only prominent female lead was Black Widow, and even Captain Marvel didn’t make an appearance until 2019. As for Black Widow, her stand-alone film still has yet to be released. The MCU was and still is, lacking in solid on-screen super-women characters. WandaVision is part of Marvel’s efforts to rectify this problem, and it does a wonderful job. The series brings the viewer into Wanda’s world, where she is more than just a side character. Rather, she is quite literally the star of the show, allowing the audience to see her as a woman in charge, a wife, a mother, a protector, a hero who makes mistakes and strives to make them right. Alongside Wanda, the viewers also meet another comic book hero brought to life, Monica Rambeau aka Photon. Monica plays a crucial role in the series, continuously trying to help Wanda face her grief and bring justice to the villains of the series. With the implication that Monica will show up in future MCU projects to play an even larger role, Marvel continues to increase not only their representation of women heroes but Black women heroes. While I had wished to see more scenes of Monica and Wanda together on-screen, I believe both of their roles are impactful on the MCU and on its viewers.

Not only are these women given the chance to shine on screen as three-dimensional heroes, but they also display complexity in their handlings of grief. WandaVision doesn’t shy away from all the ways grief can manifest, no matter how ugly. While Wanda deals with the grief of losing her parents, her brother, and her soulmate, Monica grieves losing the last five years of her life to “the blip” resulting in missing her own mother’s passing. Monica has no choice but to face her grief head-on, but Wanda uses her powers to create a small world in which she doesn’t have to face her losses and instead can have a happily-ever-after with Vision— or so she thinks. It becomes abundantly clear that avoiding grief is impossible for Wanda. As the series progresses we see Wanda deal with traumatic flashbacks, avoidance of reality, and eventually, we watch her walk through each of the traumas she has faced, finally allowing her to come to terms with what she has experienced. The series ends with Wanda accepting what she cannot change and moving forward to better herself, but it takes a great deal of trial and error for her to arrive at that place of acceptance. Marvel provides us with a storyline in which more than one powerful woman processes grief and moves forward to find bigger and better things for themselves.

WandaVision provides viewers with a plot that is much needed, especially in times that are as turbulent as they are now. Vision sums up the overarching theme of Wanda’s story best when he asks, “What is grief, if not love persevering?” In this series, Marvel does not shy away from loss and from grief but instead tells a story of how to be strong throughout it, showcasing marvelous women in the process.