WandaVision midseason review
WandaVision seems, at first, like it's just comfort food. More Avengers! Cameos and references! More of that Marvel humor! And, of course, a premise that leaves casual fans wondering if they need to watch the movies!
On viewing, WandaVision has all of that. It's a Marvel show that is very comfortable with itself. In many ways, though, it's more comfortable to watch and less stilted than many other Marvel productions. For one thing, there's only been a handful of scenes where Elizabeth Olsen, who plays Wanda, did an eastern European accent and wore the corset she hates from the movies. Paul Bettany occasionally gets to appear without the two-hour makeup that is Vision (still, I shudder to think of how many hours were spent doing his makeup during filming). Most of all, WandaVision gets to emulate its favorite sitcoms and create an element of mystery and thrill underneath.
This helps WandaVision become mostly enjoyable, sometimes gripping, and pretty entertaining. Wanda and Vision make a great pair, and their misadventures within the sitcom they somehow got stuck in are hilarious. The homages to classic sitcoms are endless, but the show also jumps from the '60s, '70s, and '80s sitcoms to modern shows even I can recognize like Malcolm in the Middle and Modern Family. WandaVision doesn't get stuck doing just one thing, and that pays dividends when one episode falls flat.
Of course, the show evolves into the traditional Marvel affair with futuristic government agencies, "science" and "hacking," and one scene where a group of soldiers readily aids in what I am pretty sure is insubordination with multimillion-dollar equipment to boot. The characters and plot on the outside of Wanda and Vision's sitcom somehow make even less sense than what is happening inside of it. The carefree fun of the sitcom part of WandaVision is a little too much of a relief compared to the rest of it. The outside world is really just more of the same Marvel formula. There are interesting characters the show does not give enough time to like Monica Rambeau (played by Teyonah Paris) and Jimmy Woo (Randall Park), but there are also ones that do not make sense but play big roles, like Director Hayward (Josh Stamberg).
While Marvel circles outside Wanda and Vision's fantasy, their adventures inside get more convoluted as they try to hide (or uncover) reality. Despite, or maybe because of, the stale Marvel elements happening outside Wanda and Vision's reality, WandaVision takes off as a gripping story of superheroes struggling when their wishes don't come true. As the season has gone on, the awkward split-screen between the Marvel movie happening on the outside and the sitcom on the inside have merged to become somewhat of a thriller. So far, it doesn't look like the standard superhero shenanigans can solve Wanda's problems, and I'm here for it.
The push-and-pull of Wanda and Vision's sitcom and the reality waiting for them outside help make this show into more than just comfort food. Even though I have to wait a week for each new episode, this is one show I'm willing to mark my calendar for.