WandaVision: Series Wrap-up and Review (SPOILERS)
March 5, 2021 by: Alex Maidy
With today's episode marking the season, or potentially series, finale of Marvel Studios' WandaVision, we are taking a look back at the entire nine-episode run as a whole. Looking at the series as both an independent work as well as the first chapter in Phase Four of the MCU, we will see what WandaVision has done successfully and where future Marvel Studios' offerings on Disney+ could improve. Our initial reviews of WandaVision were based on the first four episodes of the series. Here, we will consider the entire show as a whole.
Of course, keep in mind this serves as a SPOILER WARNING for today's episode "The Series FInale".
What did WandaVision do well?
Over the first three episodes of WandaVision, it was apparent that this series was going to be unlike any other Marvel Studios offering to date. The sitcom format was executed wonderfully by director Matt Shakman and showrunner/creator Jac Schaeffer. From episode four through "The Series Finale", Shakman and Schaeffer deftly blended comedy with a larger scale production on par with most MCU feature films. Chock full of easter eggs (check out the marquee at the Westview theater for tons of references including a Blade Runner one in the finale), WandaVision ended up making a significant introduction to the MCU. Not only did we get the new origin of the Scarlet Witch (she is more powerful than the Sorcerer Supreme and is forged by Chaos Magic) but we may have gotten a new Vision. When the Westview Vision touched the Cataract Vision, it appeared he imbued him with all of his memories which means we will likely see Paul Bettany again.
WandaVision managed to also introduce us to Monica Rambeau as Spectrum. Her powers were used much more in the finale episode (phasing, flight, strength) and the post-credits scene connects to both Captain Marvel 2 as well as the announced Disney+ series Secret Invasion. WandaVision also gave us standout performances from Randall Park as Jimmy Woo and Kat Dennings as Dr. Darcy Lewis. Both have been the subject of a fan campaign for their own spin-off series and that is a testament to being used as full realized supporting characters rather than being thrown in just for MCU connectivity. The series also succeeded in giving us a powerful villain in Agatha Harkness. Kathryn Hahn is such a talented actress that killing her off would have been a waste. Leaving her alive and as a potential source of knowledge for future films was a smart move. She also re-introduced the Darkhold, a magical tome that previously appeared on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. which now seems to have been retconned out of continuity.
There is no doubt this new focus on magic and providing Elizabeth Olsen the chance to formally become Scarlet Witch and don an MCU version of her iconic costume will be a major element in the next phase of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
What didn't work?
There isn't a whole lot that WandaVision failed to do, but the biggest may be that it didn't follow through on any fan theories. The blessing and curse of a television series is the water cooler talk that each episode generates. Over the last two months, we have all heard the countless theories and ideas floating around online including the potential introduction of Reed Richards and the Fantastic Four to a Patrick Stewart cameo as Professor X. The fact that Evan Peters appeared as Pietro goosed hopes that the X-Men would be formally introduced into the MCU thanks to the concept of the Multiverse, but it ended up being just a nice easter egg rather than that hoped for milestone. It was unrealistic to expect any fan theories to end up being true but that Quicksilver cameo hurt the most since Marvel had to know what fans would think when they saw Peters appear on screen.
The other major theory that didn't truly pan out was WandaVision introducing the true Multiverse to the MCU. While Elizabeth Olsen will further her new Scarlet Witch persona in Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness, it was widely assumed we would learn about the fracturing of the universe in this series. There is also the somewhat unresolved nature of Vision after the end of the episode. Neither of these are true problems as they can easily be addressed in subsequent films and series, but it would have been nice to have had a bit more of a tidy ending.
What comes next for the MCU thanks to WandaVision?
Well, the concept of the Scarlet Witch, Chaos Magic, Nexus beings, the Darkhold, and the relationship between witches and sorcerers sets up a lot of potential directions for the next phase and makes Wanda Maximoff potentially the biggest character moving forward. We also have the potential for a new Vision but whether he remains a hero or villain remains to be seen. The introduction of S.W.O.R.D. looks like it may connect to the Spider-man: Far From Home post-credit sequence with Nick Fury aboard a Skrull vessel. Knowing that the very next film being released is Black Widow, a prequel, and the next series is The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, a vastly different type of story, we may not get the payoff from WandaVision for some time.
WandaVision started out as one type of series and ended up a very different one. While the finished product shared a lot more in common with Marvel Studios' big-screen projects, it managed to prove it is very possible to achieve similar quality on the small screen. It was also very nice to see something totally different than we have seen from Marvel Studios thus far. The acting was excellent throughout, especially from Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany who very much deserved this showcase. We got a quality villain, whose motivations are ambiguous at best, who they didn't kill off at the end. Teyonah Parris also had a breakout role that showed she could easily carry a big-screen project in the MCU in her own right.
WandaVision did not end up quite as revolutionary as it started out but it was still a rousing adventure. Grounded in a story about grief and coping, it is a perfect follow-up to the tragic events of Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame while setting up a bright future for Olsen, Bettany, and the Marvel Cinematic Universe as a whole.