"Reality can be whatever I want", declared the super villain Thanos in Marvel's 2018 feature film Avengers: Infinity War, and that quote was never truer as it is now as Marvel Cinematic Universe's(MCU) latest web series WandaVision gets released.
The series follows Wanda Maximoff aka Scarlet Witch and Vision, the power couple introduced earlier in the MCU. It deals with their problems in a world stuck between reality and fiction, presenting an intriguing storyline equipped with comic reliefs and spectacular visuals which keep the audience hooked to the 9-episode series that aired from January 15 to March 5 this year on Disney+.
A comedy sitcom that's also a psychological thriller!
The show begins in an unusual fashion, for a marvel series at least. Wanda Maximoff, the estranged Avenger and Vision, the android superhero who was killed during the infinity war with Thanos, are seemingly in a happy married life at a peaceful and picturesque suburb of Westview, New Jersey.
The first episodes, presented in black and white along with laughing tracks in the background remind us of 1950s American sitcoms. The happy couple along with their jolly good neighbours present the audience with funny scenarios, jokes and common tropes of a 50s sitcom before the audience start to realise that something's terribly wrong in this 'way too perfect' world.
During the third episode 'Now in color', the black and white screen suddenly turns into a colourful one. The neighbours such as the jolly Agnes and mysterious Geraldine act suspiciously, igniting the doubt in everyone's minds that this world might not be real after-all!
As the plot progresses, it becomes evident that it is indeed a reality created by the Scarlet Witch out of sheer grief and S.W.O.RD, an extra-governmental intelligence agency, is trying to enter this reality to save many who are trapped within that fabricated world which is shielded by what is seems, impregnable barriers.
More and more characters appear with the episodes bringing more information and shocking revelations to each one. The series ends in a spectacular and thrilling final episode which unveils far more sinister forces at work which was initially unheard of.
Elizabeth Olsen was perfect as Wanda aka Scarlet Witch as was Paul Bethany in form of Vision both of whom reprising their respective roles that they played in the past MCU productions.
Kathryn Hahn as Agnes, the nosy neighbour and Teyonah Parris as Monica Rambeau, the mysterious newcomer at the town who turns out to be a S.W.O.R.D agent were highly enjoyable to watch. Return of Kat Dennings as Dr Lewis as well as Evan Peters playing Wanda's "long-dead" brother Pietro certainly made many fans overjoyed as well. The brilliant cast made the final surprises and superhero brawls at the end all the more convincing, not to mention enjoyable.
The last episode "The series finale" brought back Marvel's ever-impressive superhero battles as laser beams and matters bent through magic start to be shot all over as raging battles between witches as well as between androids with commendable visual effects appear in the storyline.
Though some may feel It's a bit clichéd, Marvel certainly did succeed in recreating their ever-popular superhero story experience through an enjoyable and easy to follow plotline as well as mashing together comic scenes, spectacular battles among superhero tussles and surprising reveals.
A show full of easter eggs and call backs
WandaVision, being an integral part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, was full of many MCU Easter eggs throughout the series.
The first few episodes include 1950s style commercials that include Start Industries Toastmate, stuckert watches and Hydra Soak Bath powders all of which indicate towards earlier MCU films. They are extremely fun to find as well for MCU fans that have been enjoying the MCU movies and their timeline for over a decade now.
Evan Peter's role as Pietro Maximoff is another surprising find for the audience who played the same character in the X-Men universe created by Fox. to make matters more enjoyable, in the sixth episode, Wanda calls his actions 'Kick-ass' which is a reference to a superhero character in another Cinematic Universe played by Aaron Taylor-Johnson who was the original Pietro in the movie Avengers: Age of Ultron.
The same episode also showcases vintage Scarlet Witch and Vision costumes originally shown in the 1960s Marvel comics.
The dog 'Sparky' too is another Easter egg for comic fans who can recognize him from Vision comics, not to mention the local theatre shown in the series that plays at different times movies that are eerily similar to WandaVision such as, The Incredibles (an animation film concerning a superhero family) and Parent Trap (a Disney movie regarding fake identities).
The series is also reminiscent of other things than just MCU Easter eggs. The show references The Dick Van Dyke Show and vaguely reminds the audience of The Wizard of Oz where the young protagonist Dorothy gets lost in a magical yet complex world of troubles.
All the intrigue and superhero brawls you want
One thing the series does not lack is intrigue. It features suspenseful endings of episodes aka cliffhangers as well as the superheroes battles that would please Marvel fans to their cores.
The series with its witty dialogues and funny scenes helps progress the story while at the same time brilliantly puts particular scenes that causes tensions and reminds the viewers that it is not a normal reality they are experiencing. The scene where a man wearing sophisticated space attire emerges out of the ground unannounced in episode 2 is a powerful one that creates suspense in the storyline and foreshadows things that are to come. Intense background music along with the chase-scene that shows SWORD agents rushing out of an expanding and warped reality is absorbing as well.
The series features badass battles as well. While the conventional laser shooting and magical brawls that you would expect from a Marvel movie are available here, a psychological battle between two androids in one scene would certainly be a treat to watch for many. Wanda's final fight with the sinister villain revealed at the latter part of the series ending in what can be called a clichéd yet satisfying move is ultimately a plus for the series as well.
But then again, MCU tropes and battle scenes have been made in similar fashion in so many of Marvel productions that some of the scenes may feel repetitive to some.
Beside all these, WandaVision could be regarded as the series when Marvel finally grew up. Vision (Paul Bettany)and Wanda (Elizabeth Olsen) engage here in some of the deepest scenes MCU has ever offered. These along with many engaging flashbacks and past references bring this series truly alive. One particular scene where Vision expresses his understanding regarding the concept of loss (of a loved one) from the perspective of a "Robot" has been praised by many where he says,
"I've always been alone, so I don't feel the lack. It's all I've ever known. I've never experienced loss because I've never had a loved one to lose. But what is grief, if not love persevering."
Multiverse and beyond?
Now, the ultimate question is... How would the series impact the MCU?
Seasoned Marvel fans would be happy to see uses of famous references from Marvel comic lore which have been explored here with things such as Darkhold - The Book of Sins, according to which, Wands will cause the destruction of the world! – This particular prophecy brought to light by the final villain in the last episode doesn't seem quite unlikely during the post-credit scene which is both surprising and jaw-dropping.
Since this story will lead to the next MCU feature film "Doctor Strange into the Multiverse", the powers unleashed at the end of this series might just trigger a change in the world requiring the immediate attention of the Sorcerer Supreme aka Doctor Strange.
I won't spoil the encapsulating plot regarding Wanda's family but one thing I can say is that this might not be the last time we see her or Vision as the android mutters at the penultimate scene…
"I have been a voice with no body… a body, but not human, and now a memory made real. Who knows what I might be next?"