I’ll let you in on an uncomfortable secret, gentle reader: while the life-long comic geek in me is thrilled (often against his better judgment) by the credible appearance of super-heroes in shows and movies, the snooty movie critic in me thinks that…well…they all too often just aren’t very good.
Welcome to the last of our episode-by-episode examinations of WandaVision. There are potentially fatal, life-threatening spoilers ahead, and the public health hazard that is Opposite of Cool assumes you’ve seen up through the ninth episode, i.e., finished the series.
Let’s be honest here: super-hero movies and television shows are not exactly renowned for their unexpected developments. I mean, sure, there are all those post-credit scenes littering the ends of Marvel movies — Holy shit, he was trying to call Captain Marvel! — but even those are routine; a surprise party thrown in the same place at the same time for the same people every year. You see enough of it, it stops being a surprise, right?
Note: Welcome back to our episode-by-episode exploration of WandaVision. As always, there are spoilers ahead; this article assumes you’ve seen up through the eighth episode.
The eighth and penultimate episode of WandaVision serves as an origin story for the two witches of our tale, Agatha Harkness and Wanda Maximoff. Once upon a time, back before the internet, origin stories were routine in super-hero comics. It was felt that periodic reminders of who these characters were and where they’d come from were helpful to readers new and old. The origin stories in this episode are presented as flashbacks — a nice blending of comic and TV tropes, one laid over the other — and each witch’s origin story, bound by magic and tragedy, serves as a contextual frame for the other.
Note: Welcome back to our episode-by-episode exploration of WandaVision. Fair warning, there are spoilers ahead; this article assumes you’ve seen up through the seventh episode.
One of the unexpected pleasures of WandaVision has been the sneaky good reproductions of the sitcoms it’s emulating. Episode 6 stuck its Malcolm in the Middle landing perfectly: the editing, the camera placement, even the music. So perfectly, in fact, that I expected to see director Matt Shakman’s name listed somewhere in the Malcolm credits. This episode, we’re treated to Modern Family (2009 – 2020), with its fourth wall-breaking confessions and quasi-documentary style, as well as a title sequence evoking The Office.Three of the most successful sitcoms of this era, Modern Family, The Office (2005 – 2013), and Parks and Recreation (2009 – 2015), all employed the same quasi-documentary elements, with … Continue reading Elizabeth Olsen absolutely kills it channelling Claire Dunphy (Julie Bowen) and her high anxiety bemusement at the beginning of this episode. Sometimes it’s the little things.
|↑1||Three of the most successful sitcoms of this era, Modern Family, The Office (2005 – 2013), and Parks and Recreation (2009 – 2015), all employed the same quasi-documentary elements, with the main characters speaking directly to the audience / documentarian.|
Note: Welcome back to our episode-by-episode exploration of WandaVision. As always, there are spoilers ahead; this article assumes you’ve seen up through the sixth episode.
Unless someone out in the world knows something I don’t, we appear to have skipped the 90’s altogether: WandaVision‘s sitcom model in episode 6 is Malcolm in the Middle (2000 – 2006), notable for breaking the fourth wall — the eponymous Malcolm would speak to the audience directly — and for its general air of surreal oddity. Matt Shakman captures Malcolm’s aesthetic so perfectly that I was a little surprised to find him not listed among the series’ directors.
Note: Welcome back, unwary traveler, to our episode-by-episode exploration of WandaVision. As always, there are spoilers ahead; this article assumes you’ve seen up through the fifth episode.
A whole lot going on in episode 5, the longest episode thus far at 42 minutes: family ties, growing pains, leggings, mom jeans — oh, those mom jeans! — and a couple unforgettably vulgar displays of power. Let’s get after it.
Welcome back to our episode-by-episode exploration of WandaVision. There are spoilers up ahead; this article assumes you’ve seen up through the fourth episode. Also, if there are Marvel Cinematic Universe movies of recent vintage you haven’t seen — everything since 2018, say — you might want to check those out before continuing, as those will be pertinent to our discussion here.
Like lightning from a clear blue sky, in a plot twist I did not even sort of see coming, WandaVision ep.4 appears to offer up more answers than questions, and now I hardly know what to do with myself. You do remember I said a certain scarlet associated person warps reality, yes?
Note: Welcome back to our episode-by-episode exploration of WandaVision. There are spoilers up ahead; this article assumes you’ve seen up through the third episode.
When Avengers (2012) came out, I naturally got a whole mess of questions from people about who these characters were and what they were all about. A few had some rough familiarity with the comics. Most had none. One friend, educated and insanely intelligent, knew of Thor not from the comics but from the actual Norse mythology he’d read. “How is it,” this friend asked, “that these mortal heroes are the equal of Thor?”
Note: Welcome back to our episode-by-episode exploration of WandaVision. There are spoilers ahead; this article assumes you’ve seen the show up through the second episode.
It occurred to me more than once, watching this episode, that to this point WandaVision encourages a kind of active conspiracy theorizing. You’re presented with events and information that not only don’t feel quite right; you question whether or not they’re tethered to objective reality at all. What, if anything, here can be taken as ‘fact’? So you begin this elaborate game of connecting the dots, searching for meaning and connotation where it’s possible none exist. Mind you, like any committed conspiracy theorist, I think in this case meaning and connotation do exist…but can I prove it? Gentle reader, I cannot. Not at this juncture, at any rate. This must be what those Q-Anon adherents feel like, minus the lunacy, sedition, and racism.
Note: There are major spoilers ahead. This article assumes some familiarity with the Marvel Cinematic Universe, so if you haven’t seen Avengers: Infinity War, Avengers: Endgame, and the first episode of WandaVision, do that first and then come back.
One of the weirdest things about the post-geek world we find ourselves living in is the way in which what was once the secret, shameful province of a select and outcast few has not only been embraced by mainstream pop culture, but has become, for the moment at least, a vital part of its foundation. Thanks to the movies, you find people who’ve never read a comic book in their lives taking ownership of the likes of Captain America and Iron Man, and discussing the Marvel Cinematic Universe by the cold light of day, as if that’s a perfectly normal thing to do (which now, I guess, it is…but oh, my sweet summer children, ’twas not always so). This phenomena is a little jarring for someone like me, who’s been living intimately with the idea of mutants, androids, super-soldiers, thunder gods, and crime-fighting teen-agers in spider costumes for pretty much the entirety of their life. I’m not sure how many Marvel Comics I’m harboring / hoarding in my collection, but it’s somewhere well north of sanity…all of which is to say that I’m walking in the door of any MCU movie or television show pre-burdened with decades of history and unreasonably militant notions too powerful for mortal brains to contain.