Tongue in cheek kitsch retrospect inserting Avengers Wanda Maximoff and Vision into domestic bliss with an unraveling of circumstance meaning it will be anything but!
Created: Jac Shaeffer
Directed by: Matt Shakman
Produced: Chuck Hayward
Starring: Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Bettany, Debra Jo Rupp
No of Episodes: 9
Released Date: Jan 2021
So another post Avengers: Endgame offering. We have fan-favourites Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) and Vision (Paul Bettany) entering Suburbia in a town called Westview. They are hoping to enjoy a Middle-America life but as they are the two most powerful beings alive. It is likely to have setbacks.
It starts in a spoof of such shows as "I Love Lucy" and the staple wholesome 1950's television. Vision finds a job, they start to form a family. There is evidence of the dark forming of the town itself. Intelligence agencies are watching but still unable to intervene. To start with it reminded me of "Duckman," the Episode "America: The Beautiful"
Over the nine episodes of varying lengths, the motives and repercussions of Wanda's actions are bought to the fray. The moral and actual consequences of her activities become a murky river between bad and good. There are moments where hero and villain appear interchangeable and this culminates in a series finale where the clear sides have been chosen and one must triumph.
This is very much a show for Avengers fans. By this I mean those who have seen every movie, spin-off series, and with a good knowledge of the source material. For mid-level fans like me, who have seen 99% of the MCU but could easily leave the weaker ones, it is a bit of a struggle. It feels like going into a basement cellar jazz music shop after hearing one Miles Davis piece and trying to hold a conversation with the owner about the intricacies of freeform.
It would have to be said however that some references felt hokey, even to me. The clumsy reinsertion of the beloved character of Pietro (Wanda's brother) was a sign of ideas running thin. The role was skillfully avoided by Aaron Taylor-Johnson and this respected Avenger was turned into a stoner wastrel. The plot does take you down some sort of explanation and gives him what could be called a character arc if the character is a baddie from The Flintstones.
To me, this is still a prime example of the obvious question: When is there going to be a film based on the blip? The return of four billion people to a world and an eco-system no longer able to provide for them? All the terrible accidents caused by people reappearing in dangerous locations? What about the inevitable famine, economic, and unemployment crisis, the violence from misunderstood relationships, jobs, and lives that have ended in a few seconds for half the planet? This is touched on in a hospital for a short segment and is one of the more gripping moments of the series. It is a story begging to be written.
WandaVision is entertaining, mostly. It is one of those shows that to start with, in each episode, you regret putting it on but stick with it, and are largely glad you did. However, if you are expecting something like 24 where one episode turns into two series and a day off sick for the third you will be disappointed. It is not in any way a page-turner. If a second-series comes out I will watch it only for reviewing purposes. I love Paul Bettany and always have, but he is so hugely underused here. The talent of Gangster no 1 and A Beautiful Mind is not let out of the cage. Olsen is superb and deserves all the plaudits as she is the one who it was about. Also glad they got rid of her weird cleavage as it was never needed.
I just think with the wealth of talent and experience in the executive production team they would have come up with something more of a series instead of a sort of "Play for Today" that in some parts, just feels like Twilight fan-fiction. If I were a studio exec I would cancel it and let it achieve cult status.