Property Review: WandaVision

The art of grief and coping is on full display in wacky WandaVision

What would you do if the love of your life died? Wanda Maximoff tells us a tale of the lengths one would go in their loss and resulting grief, and there isn’t a way to safely say we don’t agree with her without sounding murderous. But, alas, we do agree with her wholeheartedly.

Over the course of nine episodes of Disney Plus’ first series, WandaVision is fleshed out and dissected, giving you glimpses of the truth behind the Westview Hex and the character of Wanda Maximoff. The titular Wanda has been a beacon of strength with her Chaos magic, having had a major hand in taking down Thanos after returning in the Blip (editor’s note: As seen in Avengers: Endgame). But once the battle is over and life begins to return to normal, we see that Wanda isn’t making that transition. Her grief at losing The Vision (editor’s note: As seen in Avengers: Infinity War) is too much for her to endure. She’s already lost so much – her parents were killed in her childhood, and her brother Pietro died fighting Ultron – and there hasn’t been any time to recover and regroup. This manifests itself in the Westview Hex, a casting field that covers an entire town and changes the residents to Wanda’s version of sitcom characters. Enter S.W.O.R.D., an agency looking into the Westview Hex anomaly.

How Wanda manages to create the hex is fascinating and is the key to the show. She manifests her grief into an entirely tangible version of The Vision, who exists so long as he doesn’t leave the hex, as well as fully corporeal twin sons with Vision. The powerful grief that she experiences is enough to warp reality and is a pointed display of her real power level. It’s subtle pieces of a sitcom-soaked pie that drew us in and made us take notice of the Scarlet Witch and her absolutely terrifying ability to potentially destroy the MCU at a moment’s notice. We got a glimpse of it during her terrifying rematch with Thanos in Endgame, but here it’s made plain that what we saw was just a taste of things to come.

And what we got was delicious. WandaVision is fantastic in taking the sitcom tropes and making them a nice trip down memory lane. If you grew up watching TV of any kind, you’ll immediately notice the different shows represented in the eras Wanda and Vision live in. Homage is paid to sitcom juggernauts like the Dick Van Dyke Show, The Brady Bunch, Family Ties, Malcolm in the Middle and Modern Family. These are good shows and the type of thing you want to ape from when it comes time to ape.

And another thing they aped was the tight writing and direction of those bygone shows. Despite the wacky premise, everything works here. The writing makes you feel for all of the characters involved, and it’s great to see new faces alongside older side characters from MCU film properties. The best thing about the show is the acting, however. Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany shine as Wanda and Vision, respectively. They take the lead, and you fall in love with their characters and relationship even more with smart characterization and spot-on acting. Also, standout performances come from Teyonah Parris, Kat Dennings and Randall Park, who make the confusion of the Westview Hex and the mystery behind its existence easy to relate to with humor and curiosity equally woven amid the craziness of a hex. The young children of Wanda and Vision – Billy and Tommy – are portrayed excellently and earnestly by Julian Hilliard and Jett Klyne. And, we would be remiss to not take a moment to give a note of standout performance to scene-stealer Kathryn Hahn as Agatha Harkness. We can’t wait for the Agatha spinoff because of what we’ve seen here.

Despite a small hiccup at the end of the series with the red herring Mephisto references, we were pleasantly surprised and highly pleased with WandaVision. The touch of magic the show brought to the MCU was much needed and provided a nice re-introduction into Marvel TV with a promise of more to come for our favorite witch and android couple. We’ll definitely have our wand at the ready.

Like the comics: 8
Acting: 10
Story: 10
Total: 28/30 or 9.3

We score the properties in three categories: Casting (or voice acting in cases of animated), plot and similarities to its source material. Each category receives points out of the maximum of 10 per category and 30 overall. The percentage is the final score.

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