Spoiler Warning: It is all but impossible to talk about Wandavision without some serious spoilers. So if you haven’t seen it yet and you plan to, click away and come back later. You have been warned.
Speaking of a spoiler warning, funny story. The darling husband and I had been planning to watch Wandavision but we hadn’t quite gotten to it yet. Then, we were watching Youtube and stumbled on an Honest Trailor for Wandavision. Normally we watch those right away. But there was a giant spoiler warning at the beginning. This prompted us to watch it, finally.
And man, the twists in this!
So, now that you’ve been fully warned, let’s talk about why Wandavision works.
First off, I don’t know that Wandavision would have worked for people who aren’t old-school tv fans like me. A lot of the fun from the first few episodes comes from the constant references to older shows. I Love Lucy, Dick Van Dyke, The Brady Bunch, Bewitched. This was pure nostalgia and it worked so, so well.
Worked into that, though, are some eerie moments. Right from the start, we see that not everything is how it should be in this picturesque little world. The first episode could have been an episode of Bewitched, except for the man who almost dies at their kitchen table.
It’s so dark a moment, then everyone goes back to what they were doing like nothing ever happened. This is done perfectly. It almost makes the audience feel like they might not have seen what they thought they saw.
Another thing that worked well in this show was the depth it gave to two Avengers who weren’t as well know. I mean, I know Wanda. I know all about House of M, and the epic No More Mutants moment. But from the movies, not so much. Wandavision gives us a chance to see both of them in a new light. In a crisis, in joy. We see more of Wanda’s background. It fleshes them out, makes them real people. And this is something that these characters needed.
Finally, I appreciated that this story didn’t have a fully happy ending. But, if you read House of M, you kind of knew that. Wanda has to make a torturous decision. She has to give up everything she’s ever wanted to do what’s right.
It’s hard, it’s heartbreaking, and it needed to happen.
Let’s be real here for a second. It’s just us writers here. Some stories have happy endings, and they should. Like every single Adam Sandler movie. Stupid happy. Some stories don’t have a happy ending. Just like life doesn’t always have a happy ending. Old Dan and Little Ann died in Where The Red Fern Grows. The Baudelaire children never find their parents or their friends. And Wanda doesn’t get to have her perfect Pleasantville family. Because if that’s how those stories ended, then they wouldn’t matter as much.
Now, all that being said, there is one reason why Wandavision doesn’t work.
If you haven’t seen The Avengers movies, this story isn’t going to make any damned sense to you at all.
Part of that is the feature, not the bug. The Marvel Universe is supposed to be all one big story. Every character’s tale fitting into the next one’s, like puzzle pieces. You have to see it all to see the big picture. But that’s daunting for someone new, who hasn’t been watching from the start.
This is a flaw of the whole Marvel setup, in my opinion. If you’re going to get into the story, you’ve got a ton of watching to do. That’s great if you want to do it. But if you just want to dip your toe in, then this amount of material might just scare you off.