My Thoughts On WandaVision Season 1 - Non-Spoiler And Spoiler Reviews

My Thoughts On WandaVision Season 1 - Non-Spoiler And Spoiler Reviews


Jay Cochran - March 06, 2021
I am writing this review in two parts. The first part is non-spoiler for those who haven’t finished watching the entire season of WandaVision on Disney+ yet. I will simply share my overall view of the series. In the second half of this review, I will go into more detail on why I feel the way I do which will involve specific show spoilers.

Non-Spoiler portion:

WandaVision ended as it began, which for me was a let down. I waited until the entire series aired before putting my thoughts to paper about it. I knew going in, things would start out slow and build up as it progressed. Even though I originally, and still do, find the first three episodes of the show to be incredibly dull and overdone with the whole sitcom gimmick, I had every confidence that sooner or later things would get better. I think it should have been sooner — two episodes in at most — but I won’t quibble over that.

Starting with episode 4, things finally started to pick up, and the show actually felt like something that belonged as part of the MCU. As the season went on, the writers dangled little teasers and easter eggs which created much debate among fans. This is something I think fans have come to expect and very much enjoy about the MCU. With the movies and now these Disney+ shows, it’s not just about what’s happening on the screen at that moment, but what is to come next. Between episodes 4-8, I thought the writers did a brilliant job with this, perhaps too good a job as it turns out.

While I don’t think the series as a whole is horrible, I don’t feel the show delivered with the final payout, and the two after-credit scenes in the final episode almost seemed like an afterthought just to get us to go watch the next movies.

Most of the secondary characters in the show ended up adding very little to the overall story in my opinion. I do think actor Paul Bettany (Vision) gave very strong performances, and we did add some much needed depth for both Wanda (Elizabeth Olsen) and Vision. But in the end, the final result was a bit of a let down.

To make it even worse, I felt like the show creators, knowing people would be disappointed, made a last minute effort to tamp down expectations.

WandaVision director Matt Shakman told HuffPost that Paul Bettany dug his own hole because the actor promised a major cameo at the end.

“He dug himself this hole. He can get out of it.”

He then told EW

“I hope that [fans] feel like the journey was satisfying for them, I know there are so many theories out there; there will be a lot of people who will no doubt be disappointed by one theory or another. But we’re always telling this story about Wanda dealing with grief and learning how to accept that loss, and hopefully people will find that the finale is surprising but also satisfying, and that it feels inevitable because it’s the same story they’ve been watching the whole time.”

In this, they seemingly tried to turn it on fans with the implication that if we didn’t like it, then it was our own fault for building the show up too much. Sorry, but spending the season building up expectations by leaving pretty blatant clues (we will get more into that in the spoiler portion) and even having the stars of the show come out in interviews during the season to say things like we will see fantastic cameos on par with that of Mark Hamill’s appearance in the season 2 finale of The Mandalorian, only to then say “my bad” doesn’t really hold much water with me.

So just to sum up my non-spoiler portion of this review, I will leave you with these final thoughts. I feel like this same story could have easily been told in half the time and now that I’ve seen what happens, I doubt I will ever have much desire to go back and re-watch this show again. I look at a show like the Mandalorian which has done a great job of not only telling a compelling overall story which lays groundwork for the Star Wars Universe, it also has great individual episodes that can be watched and re-watched again and again. That is what good TV should be, and this show in my view falls very short that.


SPOILER PORTION:

In this part of the review, I am going to talk about specific things that happened during the series. With this I will try to show why I think the show runners deliberately set up viewers for a big payoff that never really came, and that it wasn’t the fans’ fault for expecting more.

Let’s start off with one of the most obvious build-up points for the show that never paid off. Midway through the season, we were introduced to Evan Peters who initially was thought to be some version of Quicksilver. It’s long been known that this show was meant to lead into the upcoming Doctor Strange: Into The Multiverse Of Madness movie. So when we saw Evans show up, who is best known for playing Quicksilver in the 20th Century Fox X-Men movies, I think it’s pretty easy to see why fans would have thought this was going to be a major plot point for a multiverse storyline. In the finale, we learn that Evans isn’t really Quicksilver at all, just some normal guy named Ralph Bohner, who I guess was supposed to be the Ralph that Agnes/Agatha Harkness (Kathryn Hahn) kept referencing as her husband during the series — a character constantly mentioned but never seen.

Why take an actor from the Fox X-Men Universe and drop him in here only to make him be some common schmuck? Talk about a total let down for no reason. Based on the final outcome, it would have made a lot more sense to have actor Aaron Taylor-Johnson who played the original MCU Quicksilver during Age of Ultron back and then say it was someone else using a magic disguise. In my view, bringing in a Fox actor was a deliberate misdirect to build up hype and excitement for the show.

Next up, we have Monica Rambeau (Teyonah Parris) and her name dropping of some big Aerospace Engineer. The biggest Aerospace Engineer known in the Marvel Universe is none other than Reed Richards of the Fantastic Four. This again was a pretty obvious tease deliberately made to get viewers with knowledge of the Marvel Universe hyped. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect this should have led to more than what we got. After teasing this character in multiple episodes, the final payoff ends up being a character named Major Gooder (Rachel Thompson). This is a character who never appeared in the comics and was completely made up for the show. It was never made clear if Gooder was the actual Engineer Monica was referencing or just someone sent by the engineer. Either way, there was no real payoff from this. All we ended up with was a scene where Monica tries and fails to ram a previously built space land-rover into Wanda’s Hex wall.

Moving on, the Tyler Hayward (Josh Stamberg) character who was the director of S.W.O.R.D. is another character I was pretty disappointed with. Now admittedly, I can’t fault the show runners for building this one up with teases. This character did end up being pretty much what he was portrayed to be from the get-go. I will say I think there was a missed opportunity here, but nothing in the show really suggested Hayward was anything more than a narrow-minded bureaucratic leader of a government organization. The missed opportunity was in not making Hayward have some connection to Ultron, but again there was nothing in the show that really ever suggested that was going to be the case. However, I am not sure why Hayward was arrested at the end and essentially labeled a bad guy. While no one liked Hayward, his actions tried to stop a an extremely powerful madwoman who kidnapped a small town in New Jersey. I guess the implication was that he was never authorized to re-build and use the Vision body, although that was never actually really made clear. While we as viewers where kept in the dark about the white Vision until the second-to-last episode, it didn’t really seem like it was some major secret or that the powers that be in the Government weren’t aware it was happening. After all, you would think both the Avengers and the Wakanda Government would be aware that Vision ended up at S.W.O.R.D. Obviously, Wanda knew where to go to find Vision’s body. It also seemed like Hayward was pretty up front when talking to Wanda in episode 8 that Vision had been deemed property of the U.S. government. So why sending in the White Vision to stop Wanda would be a criminal act didn’t make much sense to me. Hayward was in official command, so it seems the supposed “good-guys” Monica, Darcy and James Woo were the ones disobeying orders and would have been arrested for violating orders if this was real life, not Haywood. After all, it was Monica who let Wanda just walk away for doing what were pretty inexcusable acts to the people who lived in Westview.

I know the intent here was that we should feel sorry for Wanda and excuse her actions because of the recent tragic events that happened in her life, but come on. She basically forced her mental will on a whole town of completely innocent people for weeks so she could create a “perfect life” for herself, even if it did initially start as an accident. There is no excusing that, and not only did she prove herself to be someone of extreme power completely out of control, but she also proved herself to be a credible real threat to everyone on the planet.

It would have been one thing if Wanda was being manipulated by some greater force as we were seemingly led to believe throughout the show with all the demon and devil references, but in the end it was all her own doing. How anyone like Monica could justify what Wanda did here in anyway is beyond me. Monica saying they (the people she mind controlled for weeks) will never know what Wanda sacrificed for them and telling her that if she had Wanda’s powers she would probably have done the same thing really doesn’t make me like or admire these characters anymore or feel sympathy for them.

As for the cameos that the show’s stars teased in interviews, well it that turns out they were just screwing with us. While I am still not entirely sure who the Luke Skywalker-like appearance Olsen teased was supposed to be, the one Bettany teased apparently was himself.

In the end, it seemed like the real goal of this show was simply to bridge a gap between the events of Avengers: Endgame and the next round of MCU movies without any major revelations. In other words, they wanted you to be hyped just enough so you go to the theater and pay to watch the movies. I feel like they really didn’t want to do anything major here that would have major overall implications to the MCU, perhaps in fear it might take away from the movies. Obviously, the show was meant to establish the magic origins of Wanda so her role in the upcoming Doctor Strange movie will make more sense. They also gave us a backdoor way of bringing Vision back to the land of the living. This reminded me of what they attempted to do at the end of Star Trek: Nemesis when it seemed they wanted a way to bring back Commander Data if future Next Generation movies happened.

For those who have been wanting to see Mephisto in the MCU, I think that may still be a possibility. The same goes for the X-Men and Fantastic Four being introduced into the MCU, but it’s pretty obvious to me from this series, those kind of things are being held for the major box office movies and not some TV show.

Both mid- and after-credit scenes from the final episode are obvious set-ups for the coming movies. First we have a random Skrull in disguise as a FBI agent come to collect Monica so she can show up in the next Captain Marvel movie as Photon. In the second scene, we see Wanda’s astral form studying the Darkhold book when she hears mental cries for help from her children who were obviously more than just figments of Wanda’s imagination. This is an obvious set-up for the next Doctor Strange movie where I’m guessing we might actually get that Mephisto reveal people were hoping for here.

Despite a season of what seemed like brilliant clues and teases, all we got was a cliche superhero battle where our heroes essentially fought evil versions of themselves in an attempt to say love conquers all. I guess I might even be willing to be satisfied with that if I wasn’t left feeling that Wanda did horrible things all on her own accord throughout the series, and that I should just be understanding of that because of her emotional pain. Give me a break. Heroes shouldn’t have to be perfect, but this takes it to a whole new ridiculous level. Yes, I was expecting a much bigger payoff here and with reason. Not because I conjured up a bunch of wild theories for the show, but because we were led to believe and strung along for 8 episodes that a big payoff was coming. The stars of the show even went out of their way to say so. The people making this show did all that on their own. Again, I didn’t hate WandaVision, but the fans wanting more and expecting more is due to the show runners being a victim of their own PR-hype machine and that shouldn’t be put on fans suggesting they are being unrealistic with their expectations.





Comments...

Last 10 comments - ( Read All Posts )
SpiderS - 2021-03-11 @ 8:31 pm

I would like it much more if it didn't try to do so many misdirects in style of Mandarin from Iron man 3 all over again, this time with Pietro. Director confirmed that it intentional way of putting red herrings with so called Dottie being the key, weird over exposure on details and things that didn't even matter, be it mail man, insects, herb, commercial actors, Beekeeper, engineer, devil. This all  only fueled theories and disappointment for certain fans, while misdirects can be cool you should do them in order to make the better twist, not mystery that ends up being nothing important, which ultimately leads to most predictable final battle everyone could see coming from first episode. There's argument it was all about Wanda, which yes indeed is for the most part done in great way until the finale, where it feels rushed and unfinished, like some serious part of character development is missing, I personally think Vision had better character story arc overall than Wanda, maybe if they spent more time on Wandas further development instead of creating countless misdirect, they could nail it, but then again it's worth remembering that Marvel Studious wants for viewers to understand their movies without needing to watch supplemental material, so no serious changes rule could be mandated.

Atlantis - 2021-03-11 @ 6:42 pm
On 3/8/2021 at 7:00 PM, ADour said:

Wanda caused the anomaly by accident, yes. But she kept it going even after coming to the realization that its citizens were under her control. Using the Ultron comparison, Tony and Bruce didn't continue working with Ultron after creating him.

You're correct. I'm not sure why anyone who watched this is saying Wanda didn't really understand what she was doing because of this psychotic break. She continued to enslave these people, even after she realized what she had done. Even the writer herself says, "She (Wanda) did a terrible, terrible thing. You can argue in the beginning that she didn't know what she was doing, but once she truly knew what she was doing on a conscious level, she continued to perpetuate it for days. You can't entirely forgive her for that, but our goal with the show was to understand Wanda and Vision in a complete way. So I feel we have a complete picture of why she did what she did. That does not justify it; that does not make it okay. But we have empathy for her, and we were with her on the journey. So I don't think that she's off the hook, and it wasn't my intention to write it in a way that seemed like we could just forgive all of those sins."

The writer goes on to say she wanted Agatha to be the villain, not bring in Mephisto, but this is really why Mephisto would have been the better choice; if the Scarlet Witch had done all this under his manipulation/influence, we could still see her in a heroic light. Her violation of these people ranks right up there with the deeds of Purple Man.

tudortiger2000 - 2021-03-11 @ 7:29 am

I generally think that WandaVision was a novel,  though protracted, way of giving us an origin story of the Scarlet Witch. A slowburn on the start; with a lot of character anticipation due to second guessing who the antagonist is (Mephisto, anyone?). But, I just feel the 9 part series could've been condensed to a two to three hour movie and still arrive at the desired result. IMHO.

leokearon - 2021-03-10 @ 7:37 am
9 hours ago, Atlantis said:

Don't know if this was touched on or not, but Agatha claimed that the Darkhold states the Scarlet Witch's powers exceeds the Sorcerer Supreme. Now we all know Dr. Strange is supposed to be the Sorcerer Supreme (in the comics), but is he at that point in the MCU. And is this going to be an issue in the upcoming Dr. Strange sequel?  Stay tuned!

If the WandaVision show taught us anything its that the writers enjoy bait-and-switch tactics, along with inept writing disguised as misdirection. We know theyre not  above bringing on subplots that they just drop later. So  Its possible that the Darkhold is referring to some one else as Supreme. Its also possible that Agatha is just wrong about Wanda being more powerful.  After all she did say the Scarlet Witch was going to destroy the world, and that's not gonna happen. Even if it did, remember, we've already endured Thanos and saw everything he did being undone, so a world destroyed by Wanda would just be restored at some point, which takes the drama out of everything. 

Wanda could have more raw power that Steven but not as skilled. She did do better against Thanos than Stephen. Of course, that line of the Scarlet Witch prophecy could also just be Chthon boasting

Benn - 2021-03-10 @ 5:13 am

I'm pretty sure Strange explicitly refers to himself as the sorcerer supreme in Infinity War. I'd be surprised if that line weren't setup for Dr. Strange 2.

Atlantis - 2021-03-09 @ 10:25 pm

Don't know if this was touched on or not, but Agatha claimed that the Darkhold states the Scarlet Witch's powers exceeds the Sorcerer Supreme. Now we all know Dr. Strange is supposed to be the Sorcerer Supreme (in the comics), but is he at that point in the MCU. And is this going to be an issue in the upcoming Dr. Strange sequel?  Stay tuned!

If the WandaVision show taught us anything its that the writers enjoy bait-and-switch tactics, along with inept writing disguised as misdirection. We know theyre not  above bringing on subplots that they just drop later. So  Its possible that the Darkhold is referring to some one else as Supreme. Its also possible that Agatha is just wrong about Wanda being more powerful.  After all she did say the Scarlet Witch was going to destroy the world, and that's not gonna happen. Even if it did, remember, we've already endured Thanos and saw everything he did being undone, so a world destroyed by Wanda would just be restored at some point, which takes the drama out of everything. 

Crimson Twins - 2021-03-09 @ 3:55 pm

I don't think it's so much that her deeds were villainous, though I still think it will be portrayed that way.  I believe it is more of a tragic backstory setting her up to become a villain once again.  People forget she started in the MCU as a villain.  She has had some pretty bad luck follow her everywhere she has been.  Constant tragedy, some of which she was responsible for, accidentally or not.  She already got off easy for the Wakandans she accidentally murdered.  That is why there are charges like involuntary manslaughter.  She never did time for that crime, or the crimes committed while working for Hydra and then Ultron.  Eventually someone should notice that and decide it's time for her to pay.  She may decide she doesn't want to because 'tragedy', and then figures out she's stronger than any Avenger and will not come quietly.  Thus, making her the villain.

Benn - 2021-03-09 @ 6:47 am
2 hours ago, ADour said:

Wanda caused the anomaly by accident, yes. But she kept it going even after coming to the realization that its citizens were under her control. Using the Ultron comparison, Tony and Bruce didn't continue working with Ultron after creating him.

Not arguing your analysis of Ultron, but in Wandavision--at absolute worst--Wanda had a vague understanding, for no more than a few days, that people were under her control. Again, she was recovering from a psychotic break. You don't go from full psychosis to full lucidity instantaneously. It was made very clear that she had no idea the extent to which she was affecting people until that final battle, and the entire time she was coming to terms with reality she was being bombarded with threats and distractions both from within and outside the hex. It would be comparable to Ultron if, during its creation, Tony and Bruce kept finding little flashes of insanity in its programming, but kept working on it for several days anyway, hoping to understand and/or repair the issues, but they also had Steve Rogers badgering them the whole time about how reckless they were being. Wanda knew something was up, but she didn't necessarily know what was up, how to fix it, or how it would affect her "family" if she did fix it, and was forced instead to deal with more immediate threats.

ADour - 2021-03-09 @ 4:00 am
3 hours ago, The Mad Bubbler said:

I don't know why so many people seem to think the events of WandaVision make her villainous- it was all accidental. By that logic, Tony Stark and Bruce Banner are huge villains, because they created Ultron.

Wanda caused the anomaly by accident, yes. But she kept it going even after coming to the realization that its citizens were under her control. Using the Ultron comparison, Tony and Bruce didn't continue working with Ultron after creating him.

The Mad Bubbler - 2021-03-09 @ 1:09 am

   Your mutant theory could be possible... or maybe Inhumans. I figure that The X-Men will probably be an alternate universe thing, brought in in the multiverse storyline, but who knows.   I don't know why so many people seem to think the events of WandaVision make her villainous- it was all accidental. By that logic, Tony Stark and Bruce Banner are huge villains, because they created Ultron. Yes, she has some trauma to work through, and needs to learn how to control her powers, but I think she is a troubled hero, who will have some more trials and tribulations, and become a stronger, better person for it, versus being a villain.    

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