“WandaVision”: Shattering the Marvel Formula

As the third phase of the Marvel Cinematic Universes’ “Infinity Saga” came to a close, it was clear that the standard superhero movie structure, established over more than 20 films, was losing power. 

While Avengers: Endgame was certainly unique for its concluding of the most extensive cinematic story ever told, its preceding films, Ant-Man and the Wasp and Captain Marvel, were average at best. The plots were predictable, comedy fell flat and the antagonists were wholeheartedly forgettable. I assumed that after Avengers: Endgame, and the admittedly entertaining Spider-Man: Far From Home, Marvel had seldom left up its sleeve to keep fans excited for more content.

WandaVision, released on Disney Plus on Jan. 15, 2021, took my assumption and blippedWandaVision it out of existence. Taking place about 3-4 weeks after the events of Avengers: Endgame in 2023, the first episode depicts a bizarre 50s style sitcom starring Avengers Wanda Maximoff and Vision. I will not spoil anything, as I believe a great portion of this show’s appeal is its Twilight Zone-esque mystery.

Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany both do a phenomenal job of parodying the acting and humor of old television sitcoms. Yet, in the moments where they must address reality, the tone shifts fluidly to ominous and foreboding. The way their superhuman abilities are blended with the traditional American lifestyle of a husband and wife in past decades is quite charming. The viewer is left to constantly wonder both what the heck is happening and where it is all leading.

I cannot stress enough the level of detail invested into WandaVision’s set design, soundtrack, writing and camera work. Each of these characteristics were pulled straight from old sitcoms and covered with a Marvel coat of paint, from cheesy (in a good way) jokes to ludicrous commercials, this show’s production value is second to none.

The peculiar nature of WandaVision makes it truly unique from anything Marvel has put out in the past. It is reassuring to see that a company which seemed so rooted in its prior success is still willing to innovate. And even though its most refreshing aspects are nothing new, the sum of its parts surely is.

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