If you’ve ever lost a loved one, Disney Plus’s new Marvel series, WandaVision, will take you through the motions! I finally finished watching Season 1 of WandaVision a few days ago and I’m still amazed at how great this series was! So of course I had to write a review of WandaVision Season 1 to share my thoughts.
If (for some unknown reason) you don’t know what WandaVision is about click here for a review of episodes 1 and 2.
Aight so let’s dive into this WandaVision Season 1 review …
The things you really wanna know …
Long story short, WandaVision is about a couple of super-powered beings — Wanda (Elizabeth Olsen) and her husband Vision (Paul Bettany), who just happen to also be Avengers. They live idealized suburban lives in WestView, New Jersey, but after a few days of “perfection”, one thing leads to another that causes the couple to wonder if something has gone terribly wrong!
I’ll leave out the specifics, and spoilers in case you’re reading this before you’ve gotten a chance to watch the new Marvel series, but just know that the first few episodes are based on old sitcoms, and lack the fast paced drama most Marvel fans are used too. (Which isn’t a bad thing, if you’re willing to be patient, enjoy black and white sitcoms, and don’t mind cliff hangers.) However, as the show progresses, Marvel kicks up the intensity a notch, and things are smooth sailing from there on out.
WandaVision is one of those series you have to lay back and buckle in for the ride! Things don’t really kick off until after episode 4, (despite the color “coming back” sooner than that) but the first few episodes drop easter eggs, and small subtle hints that even casual Marvel fans can begin to pick up on.
But even without a ton of Marvel knowledge, the series is incredibly intriguing!
Just try not to guess what’ll happen next, because those cute theories you’ll make up in your head will lead you to Nowhere Ville! Even hardcore Marvel fans were wrong!
But that’s partially why this series was so darn good! It left me on my toes, and excited to see what would happen next.
I will say though, the ending was a tad bit disappointing, and not for the reasons the writers may have thought we’d be disappointed. As a Black woman and writer, I wanted more out of a specific character, which I’ll discuss below.
The cast + characters
Well … a lot of the show deals with Wanda and how she handles grieving her loved ones, so if you’ve ever lost someone important to you, the show should hit home in more ways than one. And Elizabeth plays her role nicely.
If you’ve been fortunate enough to miss the grief train, like I did for most of my life up until a few years ago — which I mentioned in this LA Times article, then you’ll probably relate to Vision, who’s a synthezoid (computer).
But while I enjoyed both Vision and Wanda, there were two characters that left me disappointed. Agatha and Monica.
I remember at one point during the series, I couldn’t empathize or sympathize with Agatha (Kathryn Hahn), despite her being the villain. Normally I can understand why the bad guy does the unthinkable, and despite getting a glimpse of Agatha’s past, when it came time to really feel her pain, I didn’t.
In episode 8, her jealously annoyed the crap out of me, instead of leaving me outraged. And in the finale, along with a few other moments, I didn’t even care if she died. Now I know that seems crazy — she’s the villain, I’m not supposed to root for her, I know … and I wasn’t. However, normally we get so much back story for the antagonist that it’s hard to not feel bad when things don’t go their way.
But Agatha’s character never dug deep enough for me to care! And she wasn’t that evil! She felt much more like a bitter classmate, who hated the popular girl in school because she got all A’s.
I’m not sure if that’s because her character was written to be on the fence, as she dabbled between being Wanda’s friend, and enemy. Or if I just didn’t get enough back story to truly connect with her as a villain. I think I hated Hayward, more than I hated Agatha.
As for my girl Monica (Teyonah Parris), who I loved … every time I saw her on screen, actually participating in the group project! *side eye* Her character played second fiddle, or should I say second recorder, since that’s the instrument nobody gives a damn about, and that’s how her character felt! Like they threw her in for a diversity quota. Monica entered the classroom fashionably late, and was then told to go sit her ass down somewhere in the back, and to stay quiet and not touch anything!
And listen … I get it. This isn’t the Monica show, it’s literally called WandaVision for a reason! But how the hell did they throw her in, show us what she can do, and how she got her powers, just for them to sideline her at the end when things really mattered?
They gave us a strong Black woman who was more than capable of holding her own in battle, and then let her twiddle her fingers, and take bullets for two kids with super-powers like she was the god damn nanny!
While mommy and daddy took care of the bad guys, Monica — also a super-powered being, not a regular degular chick from up north, babysat the kids on the sideline.
There’s a lot that could be said about why they refused to really let Monica participate in any of the reindeer games. *cough* She’s the only Black girl in this white tv show. *cough*
But alas, I’ll quit my crying here, so I can finish this WandaVision Season 1 review, before we’re here all damn day discussing the foolery wyipipo do when writing tv shows that include Black characters.
Now you’re probably also wondering …
Was this worth a Disney Plus subscription?
Hell yeah! There’s your normal Marvel action, mixed with your sitcom-y humor, and a sprinkle of ‘adult’ drama that’s tame enough for you to watch with your friends over cocktails, alone without being too triggered into a spiral downwind of hopelessness and despair, or with your entire family after dinner.
And since the subscription is currently under $10 a month, I’d say this is definitely worth it! Even if you have to cancel afterwards because Disney Plus just isn’t your thing. This is one of those series we’re going to be talking about for awhile, and rightfully so! It was great! Plus, now that all episodes are released, you could easily binge the entire series in one day!
Do you have to watch all of the Marvel movies before watching WandaVision?
Nope. I’m a casual fan, so I haven’t seen all of the Marvel movies yet and I had no problem enjoying this series. While I still haven’t seen Avengers: Age of Ultron, which Disney Plus and Marvel fans recommend watching, I did see Captain Marvel, Iron Man 1 & 2, Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: End Game!
All of which helped put small pieces together for me. Iron Man helped with the Stark Industry references, Captain Marvel helped me understand who Monica was (a tad) and End Game provided some insight on what was going on with Vision and Monica.
But even if you don’t get the easter eggs and references, like my 9 year old, WandaVision is still enjoyable!
Can you skip the black and white episodes?
Maybe? But you shouldn’t!
I know a ton of people hated the first 3 episodes because they were in black and white (rolls my eyes, as if y’all ain’t never watched a black and white movie before) but I think they’re fun and necessary. It’s super cool to watch them flip through the decades, and towards the end you’ll understand why those episodes are based on sitcoms!
And yes it’ll make you wanna cry! So just watch them! Please?
The Extra Nerdy Shit …
The Opening Credits Scene
Listen Linda, so if there’s one thing that catches my eye when I watch movies and tv series, it’s the damn opening credits aka title sequence! And when I say I bout damn near flipped during the second episode when I realized each title sequence would be different!
Every title sequence referenced the sitcom that episode was inspired by, including the “theme songs” and it still makes me super happy just thinking about it! This is one of those little things that makes a series like WandaVision stand out far from the crowd!
If you’ve seen shows like The Office, Malcolm in the Middle, and The Brady Bunch, you’ll instantly recognize their theme songs and opening credit scenes. But just know that the episodes don’t favor just one sitcom. They’re usually a mashup of a few different sitcoms, which is incredible to watch!
Just like each episode started off with a new sitcom, almost every episode ended with a song from the “good ol’ days”.
(Okay I’m not that old, so these songs aren’t from my childhood. But I do know who these artists are, and that’s enough to make me happy!)
Songs like: Daydreamer Believer by The Monkees and Voodoo Child (Slight Return) by Jimi Hendrix played at the end of the episodes, just before they cut to the end credits.
But I think what excited me the most was the way they used the song Yakety Yak by The Coasters in episode 1!
At first I originally thought the song use was just to make the scene a whole lot weirder than it already was, but turns out … I was right, and things got even weirder! But in a super cheeky, and fun way that makes you wanna sing along.
The fact that Marvel was able to show us what grief can do to not just ourselves, but everyone in our path, whether they’re loved ones or strangers, and through superheroes at that, while still keeping us on our toes, shows me that this series was well written!
Of course, I would have liked them to dig deeper and tell us more about Agatha and who she was. And I totally needed Monica to do more than just stand and look pretty in a superhero suit. But the writers kept us guessing, and I loved that. Every time you thought you had things figured out, they changed it up again! And the way they borrowed from popular sitcoms was amazing.
If you haven’t already watched WandaVision Season 1 yet, I don’t know what you’re waiting for, but I hope this review helps you make up your mind. Cause it’s easily one of my favorite series of the year, and especially of this pandemic.
I’ve watched each episode at least 2x, probably 3x each, which is something I never ever do! I never rewatch episodes! (Unless it’s like the Fresh Prince of Bel-air, or Sister Sister!) But I haven’t watched any new series more than once, and the fact that I happily rewatched the episodes over and over just proves how much I loved this show.