I have said before that in my opinion the DC universe nails TV series better than Marvel does but in recent months we have been treated to two event TV series from Marvel aired on Disney Plus that aimed to make its mark.
The first of these was Wandavision. In the same way that Iron Man wasn’t the obvious choice for a film franchise Wandavision wasn’t the obvious one for TV. It had the benefit of starring characters established in the MCU even if those two were the least developed or even likeable.
The show was ambitious in tone and style. It was very much a bottle show and one designed to tell a single story over a limited number of episodes. It had its own baggage to deal with, the MCU is a monster of continuity and Wandavision skilfully navigated these waters.
The series promised much but di it deliver?
Starting as it did with a comical black and white ‘I love Lucy’ style theme was a bold move. The very MCUness of it was very much removed only I suspect only true fans stuck with it or like myself had the feeling that Marvel were going to build to something ultimately more satisfying.
Vision and Scarlett Witch were two under developed and for me the least appealing characters, partly because I dislike Paul Bettany as an actor, but putting that aside these were supporting characters given their time in the sun. I felt that Bettany never added much to the character of Vision and found that his character although experiencing a character arc lacked a degree of humanity. Olsen however took her role and ran with it. She was excellent and really took the time to show who Scarlett Witch was and to delve deeply into the loss experienced in the MCU.
It was loss that was at the heart of this show ironic as we all were experiencing both the loss of the existing MCU and loss of liberty under the pandemic. The stifling red shield stopping people entering or leaving, trapping people seemed awfully relevant.
Story was the was necessarily slow revealing the puzzle and its conclusion but once the laugh out loud moment that the big bad of the season was revealed things picked up pace ending a suitably bombastic and action packed finale that contained real danger and consequence for our heroes. The supporting cast were good but were poorly used this really was the Olsen and Bettany show and it would have nice to have seen the FBI agent and science girl used better, see I can’t even recall their names.
All in all the emphasis was on the Wanda in Wandavision and it was a fun and interesting addition to the MCU. It certain adds to the franchise and helps sets up the next phase. On the whole I wonder if this might have worked better with tighter plotting as a film rather than a series but I m certain much of the quirkiness and character development would have been lost as we rattled towards the big finish. I was left enjoying Wandavision but with no desire to see a second season. A series with Scarlett Witch however, now that’s a different matter.