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A Review of WandaVision: The Best and Worst of the Show

Last updated on March 9, 2021

Photo: Marvel Studios

The following contain spoilers for Marvel’s WandaVision.

Remember, let’s be polite; let’s be respectful, but most of all, let’s be outspoken.

Marvel’s hit TV-show titled WandaVision came to an end last Friday when the final episode of the nine-part series premiered on Disney +. Honestly, as a person who has watched every single Marvel movie and TV show except for Hulk, I can confidently say WandaVision is better than the majority of Marvel movies.

Although most of the Avengers movies, Iron Man, Doctor Strange, and arguably Thor: Ragnarok were better, this show brings a unique and creative side to Marvel. In all of the aforementioned movies, the directors relied on numerous action sequences to capture the attention of the audience. The average Marvel fan was undoubtedly captivated by Captain America’s mixed martial arts or Thor reigning hell on Thanos’s minions with Stormbreaker. While these sequences never disappoint, WandaVision employed an interesting mixture of suspense, curiosity, and lasting themes in the show to keep the audience at the edge of their seat.

Along with frequent action scenes in various Marvel movies is the constant cliché of “Good Against Evil.” In Iron Man, the obvious “good” is Tony Stark, and the obvious “evil” is Obadiah Stane. For Doctor Strange, the obvious “good” is Dr. Stange, and the obvious “evil” is Dormammu. In every single Avengers movie, the obvious “good” is the Avengers, and the obvious “evil” is the one dude that wants to conquer the world. However, as the MCU expands, the line between “good” and “evil” blurs.

The Avengers presumptively kill thousands of innocent lives when decimating buildings while fighting Loki. Captain America’s moral compass was unwilling to kill Vision to save trillions of lives in Infinity War. Hawkeye straight-up murders Japanese mobsters because Hawkeye argues the mobsters themselves were “evil.” The most apparent example of blurred morality is when Wanda throws Crossbones wearing a suicide vest into an occupied Sokovia hospital in Civil War. The entire movie of Civil War was about the morality of whether or not international governments should regulate a rogue enhanced superhero team called the Avengers.

Yet, in every one of these movies, there is still a clear “bad guy” and a clear “good guy.” In WandaVision, there is not a clear villain per se because there is evidence for everyone’s immoral intentions. Wanda held an entire New Jersey town hostage by stripping everyone’s individuality to have the perfect life with her husband and children. Agatha is basically just evil and attempted to steal Wanda’s power for her own personal agenda. Even Director Hayward of S.W.O.R.D. had an ulterior motive when he used two billion dollars to create White Vision, which, on a side note, was the true evil because all of that money came from the taxpayer.

All of this moral ambiguity points to the best scene in the entire series. While a prevailing theme of the show was the blurred ethical standards of dealing with grief, like Wanda controlling seemingly thousands of people for her emotional counsel, a greater theme of the show dealt with identity and cognition. This theme is most prevalent within the brief monologue between Westview Vision and White Vision.

Within the chaos of mystic arts and sorcery are the two Visions actively engaging in a famous thought experiment called the “Ship of Theseus.”

Historian, biographer, and essayist Plutarch first introduced the experiment. He once said,

“The ship wherein Theseus and the youth of Athens returned from Crete had thirty oars, and was preserved by the Athenians down even to the time of Demetrius Phalereus, for they took away the old planks as they decayed, putting in new and stronger timber in their places, insomuch that this ship became a standing example among the philosophers, for the logical question of things that grow; one side holding that the ship remained the same, and the other contending that it was not the same.”

This experiment could be best explained with the Iron Man suit. For the sake of argument, let’s pretend that Stark had one Iron Man suit. For this hypothetical, just like the actual movies, Stark provided technological modifications to prevent past mistakes or blunders. In Iron Man (2008), Stark’s suit cannot handle high altitudes because of freezing temperatures, so he has to replace the armor integrity to withstand changing temperatures. In Iron Man 2, Stark’s palladium-based reactor is killing him, so he creates a new periodic element to stabilize his heart and enhance his suit. In Age of Ultron, J.A.R.V.I.S. goes offline and becomes Vision, so Stark replaces it with F.R.I.D.A.Y.

These changes provoke the question: Is the suit Stark wore when he died the same as the suit he wore during his fight with Loki? If the answer is yes, at what point did that suit become an entirely different one? If the answer is no, then how much change to the initial design must occur to create an entirely different suit?

In the series finale, this metaphysical thought experiment advances a discussion of logic between the two Visions when it brings up an important question of identity. White Vision was programmed by Director Hayward to “eliminate Vision,” but as he continues to fight Westview Vision, he realizes he does not know what is the “true Vision.”

A crucial element in Vision’s identity was the mind stone, which essentially gave Vision life, and its removal caused his death. However, seeing that neither the Westview Vision nor the White Vision had the mind stone, then was either them the “true Vision?”

Upon this realization, White Vision says, “Neither is the true ship. Both are the true ship,” which basically implies that both Visions could be the “true Vision.” Westview Vision then realized that the original Vision’s memories would complete the White Vision’s identity, which also basically implies memories and experiences morphs one’s identity.

While it was seemingly short, this scene was my favorite scene because it allowed Marvel to use methodical exchanges of logic to argue something arbitrary without the use of excessive CGI action. Essentially, this scene represents why the overall show captivated so many viewers without an explosion in every other scene. While I understand this show centralized around Wanda’s emotional repair and not Vision’s quest for identity, I thoroughly enjoyed Vision’s journey of self-actualization more because it was relatable.

That’s not to say that I disliked Wanda’s best moments; I enjoyed the action-packed fight between her and Agatha, the somewhat visually appealing transfiguration of her at the end, and her exploration of her new profound powers.

I did not like, however, Wanda’s emotional rollercoaster, in the sense that her actions were borderline evil. My biggest criticism of the show was when Wanda faced zero repercussions for enslaving thousands of innocent minds, causing presumptively significant psychological damage. She created an entire alternative reality out of tremendous grief, sorrow, and trauma, which are three emotions I could sympathize with if the immorality of her actions did not supersede those emotions.

Granted, I may be nitpicking, it’s not like they can physically apprehend her, but it just does not bode well when actions like these seemed to sweep under the rug of heroic exceptionalism. Even the end with Vision and her children “dying” did not seem as sad when you realize that Vision will probably be back, considering that there is a two billion dollar Vision flying in an unknown ether at the moment.

Overall, despite that minor criticism, the show was simply amazing. A lot of the scenes were beautiful to witness, and the production team did a tremendous job in generating an atmosphere of suspense and drama. It definitely is in the top ten list for Marvel’s best movies and shows because of the superb writing, breathtaking directing, and thoroughly convincing acting. I honestly hope that more movies and shows from Marvel take after WandaVision.

Remember, let’s be polite; let’s be respectful, but most of all, let’s be outspoken.

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