Review: Marvel’s Wandavision

Review: Marvel's Wandavision

Kathryn Hu, Special to The North Star

Endgame was the supposed finale, but there was still so much left to sort out. A three hour movie focused on the band of heroes fighting and winning against the villains against all odds leaves audiences satiated in the moment, but not when the subtleties of individual characters’ come into question. To this end, Marvel’s solution is “Wandavision.”

 

“Wandavision” delves into the more nuanced effects of Endgame. Set as a sitcom centered around Wanda, a woman possessing mutant powers, and Vision, a conscious android, as they accustom themselves to a small New Jersey town. The show follows the couple as they try to navigate the waters of regular American life. On IMDB it scored 8.1 out of 10, and had an aggregate score of 91 out of 100 on Rotten Tomatoes

 

Marvel is generally very specific in the type of content they create, but the beginning of “Wandavision” is anything but the studio’s typical style. As a result, it becomes obvious very quickly that this fake premise of a lighthearted family based sitcom set in suburban normalcy isn’t going to last very long. Despite Marvel’s notoriety for having beginnings filled with odds and ends with the promise that it will all make sense in the end, the start of  “Wandavison” is still confusing. The hints being dropped about something more sinister going on seeming more odd and out of place than anything else. However, once things pick up the pace, “Wandavision” starts to emulate everything in quintessential Marvel. At face value, the show is interesting enough, but Wanda’s character progression is what’s mesmerizing. 

 

Compelling characters are the ones that viewers can empathize with; viewers need to be able to put themselves in the shoes of the people on screen in order to understand their motivations. Superheroes are no exception to this rule. A superhero is anyone with a sense of moral obligation and exceptional abilities, a well developed one, needs a little more; first, a backstory – oftentimes best when tragic – that answers questions about their behavior, and second, needs to be presented with a constant, neverending moral dilemma to constitute vigilantism. 

 

When entertainment companies follow this formula, creating a traumatized character with just the right amount of rationality, they’ve struck gold. That’s what’s happened with Wanda. Like virtually every other superhero, Wanda has had her share of tragedy, but she is unique because of how she uses her abilities to grapple with pain. Through use of her powers, the different parties of Wanda’s mental turmoil have physicalized into Westview. Wanda’s character has lost all sense of moral responsibility, and her concocted version of Vision is what’s left of her conscience. The materialization of Wanda’s pain into physical form highlights her atypical psychological battle where everything else is orthodox.

 

In all likelihood, viewers aren’t hoping for a sitcom, but an action packed show, and it’s there. After having trudged through a small stint of very little excitement, viewers are not only rewarded with superhero happenings, but a well written and thoughtfully developed Wanda. It’s interesting enough at surface level, but also holds up to deeper examination. Wandavision is ultimately a story about coping with loss, something universally relatable, it’s a show well worth the trudge.