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WandaVision - 15 January 2021


JohnC
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Some fans have been overstating the series' weirdness and experimentality; in reply, people have been bringing them back down to Earth by pointing out that overall WandaVision is still very safe compared to what other SF&F TV has done (e.g. Legion).

 

e.g. this Tumblr post by @spectroscopes:

Quote

People are enjoying WandaVision and that’s cool but seeing it described unironically as “weird” and groundbreaking, an experiment which could not have been greenlit in any previous era of television or filmmaking, is profoundly depressing. Some of you have never watched anything but MCU movies and it shows.

 

I have not been able to stop thinking about this thread all day.

aVkpUCB.png

 

The pitch meetings were like, “you know the Lotus Eater episode which is a staple of sci-fi storytelling, for example Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s ‘Normal Again’ and Smallville’s ‘Labyrinth’, as well as forming the basis for movies such as The Truman Show and The Matrix? What if that, but it’s a whole series and we combine it with a series of sitcom pastiches which is also a television staple. Also, there’s superheroes. And because we’ve successfully monopolised entertainment to the point where it’s almost impossible to consume any mainstream media which doesn’t have our fingerprints on it and this is very slightly different from our typical formula people will call it genius avant-garde television storytelling the likes of which have never been seen before.”

 

I thought Abigail Nussbaum posted a good response to that, pointing out that there were certain areas where the series did unusual things: 

https://abigailnussbaum.tumblr.com/post/646524137187278848/spectroscopes-spectroscopes-spectroscopes

 

Quote

I’m of two minds about this. On the one hand, yes, the praise for WandaVision’s weirdness has been completely overblown (I actually saw people call it Lynchian. Lynchian). And I guess it’s also true that Marvel is such a juggernaut right now that a lot of pop culture feels like “Marvel does X” where X is pretty watered down and imitative of better, more original work. (Though I also find this criticism a bit overblown and snobbish; I’m sure there are young people or extreme normies for whom WandaVision was their first introduction to a “Normal Again” type story, but I don’t think they’re representative of the culture as a whole.)

 

On the other hand, let’s not pretend that this wasn’t a bold idea, OK? Sure, a lot of shows have a “Normal Again” episode, but how many shows are “Normal Again” from the outset and almost all the way through? I thought Legends of Tomorrow did “we’re stuck in a TV show” a lot better than WandaVision, but they did it for the first two acts of a single 42-minute episode, not for six episodes out of nine. A show whose entire conceit is these two tropes (taken together, no less) is a fairly original concept, and though I thought WandaVision’s execution of it left a lot to be desired, I still think it’s impressive that Marvel chose to go in this direction. (And yeah, I know WandaVision wasn’t meant to be the inaugural Disney+ MCU show, much less our first visit to the MCU in nearly a year and a half, but that is still what happened, and it makes the show seem all the more like a swing for the fences.)

 

I think Ezra Klein (who is being a lot less hyperbolic than this post ascribes to him) captures it pretty well. One of Marvel’s strengths is that, having very effectively established its world and characters, they’re open to pushing the envelope a little on what the superhero story can look like, and what stories it can tell. (Which, to be clear, has to do with a willingness to mine their source material more broadly than just the latest crossover event; everyone identified House of M as an obvious inspiration for WandaVision, but it also draws a lot from Tom King’s Vision run, which is similarly meditative and focused on grief and the idea of sublimating it in a supposedly normal suburban existence.) Compare that to the DCEU, which has done a little work to change the emotional and storytelling palette of its movies (Shazam!, Birds of Prey), but is still overwhelmingly telling smash-things-with-other-things-to-defeat-the-bad-guy stories.

 

 

Her own criticisms of the series are different: http://wrongquestions.blogspot.com/2021/03/americas-sweetheart-thoughts-on.html

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  • 1 month later...

I wouldn’t be looking down on people for describing it as ‘Lynchian’. It most definitely was, especially in the early parts. Twin Peaks was in itself a melodramatic TV soap opera on the surface, so snobbish film critic elitism doesn’t really have any place here. I mean, come on - that scene with the guy choking at dinner in episode 1?

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That’s undermined a bit when everything has a single specific literal explanation later though. Twin Peaks was a haven of warm, familiar humanity perched on a void of preternatural infinity, I think the MCU is going to always be more comfortable with the inverse.

 

Which is a valid choice! But it’s a very different kind of film-making.

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  • 5 weeks later...
On 08/03/2021 at 19:01, Alex W. said:

There is a lot to be disappointed about in that finale, but “the joke casting, that was clearly demonstrated to be unrelated to the X-Men universe in the very next episode, turned out to be unrelated to the X-Men universe” is so far down the list that the Morlocs are chasing it.

 

I came in here just to post that after bingeing the whole show yesterday that the throwaway casting was my favourite fourth wall breaking throwaway joke in the show. Little did I know it has everyone up in arms for some reason.

 

Spoiler

But what is fanwank but obsession persisting.

 

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8 minutes ago, IcEBuRN said:

Lets not start this crapola again about casting quicksilver to play quicksilver was NOT a terrible idea and wouldn't lead to crazy fan assumptions.

 

 

It was a bad move.

 

 

 


which is WHY it was great

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If it leads to crazy fan assumptions, that's on the fans. And if it's intentionally trolling them that's an even funnier 4th wall break. It works perfectly for the show.

 

The last episode 

 

Spoiler

big bust up works less well though, but it had to pivot to the "normal" MCU shite as some point I guess. At least it was an "outwitting" in the fight to end it though, a bit like in Doctor Strange. What I find more egregious is the borderline offensive Serkovia flashback scene where it's a generic war torn Eastern European country with families living in filth and eagerly watching American soap operas as gunfire goes off in the streets on a "normal" day. It's just a bit on the nose, and it wasn't within the hyper-exaggerated sitcom world where we see it.

 

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1 hour ago, Benny said:

If it leads to crazy fan assumptions, that's on the fans. And if it's intentionally trolling them that's an even funnier 4th wall break. It works perfectly for the show.

 

I liked the comparison that Andrew Ellard made: if the first Avengers film had been released as a TV miniseries, with gaps in between each episode, then Tony Stark's throwaway mention of a Life Model. Decoy in his first scene would have prompted fans to seriously speculate about whether we were really following a fake version of Stark all along. Then when that's revealed not to be the case, there'd be a subset of fans vocally complaining that all their speculation was for nothing: "why would Marvel troll us by setting up an idea like that if it wasn't going to be paid off at the end?" :angry:

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I think I agree with what Alex W said about a lot of people lately being seemingly unable to consume fiction as intended. People have been so conditioned to treat their interests like products, that they get disappointed when they don't get served what they think they were promised when they "ordered".

 

The blame for this shift in culture can be laid, as always, on capitalism.

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  • 3 months later...

Watched this over the last 3 nights and, well, I'm not really sure what I think of it.

 

I thought the first 4 episodes were all pretty slow and uninteresting, then it ramped up nicely for 5 & 6, 7 was okay and 8 & 9 felt a bit flat. I don't read comics so I don't know any lore outside of the films, so doubtless things passed me by but I don't know if that would've changed anything for me.

 

I feel all a bit shrug of the shoulders right now, although it did make Wanda & Vision more interesting and whilst none of the emotional beats did anything for me (heart of stone etc) it was a different angle within the universe to explore.

 

I've also been following this thread as I've watched - I'm up to page 32 so I'm about to see what everybody else thought of the finale now!

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  • 4 months later...

I enjoyed this on the whole. The ending was really good, and emotional. It really fleshed out Vision nicely, too. I've always found him a bit of a boring robot but the tragic hero angle really suits him well.

 

But more so than Loki, it felt really drawn out and I'm not massively convinced that it needed to be. Wanda's awful vocal fry when she's doing SERIOUS ACTING is very annoying.


Oh, and I'm absolutely sick to death of skipping through credits to see if there's a post credits scene. Just put a bloody skip button in, Disney.

 

 

Not sure whether to watch Falcon or Hawkeye next.

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  • 4 months later...

Finally got around to watching this. Great concept, a total breath of fresh air for Marvel, entertaining and intriguing with unexpected twists. Until the worst downhill slide in a show I can remember seeing, even worse than the downfall of Game of Thrones or Lost in terms of quality and sense. I'm just so shocked and baffled, in the final episode I couldn't believe what I was seeing, it wasn't even the same show any more. I went online because I'd heard such good things about it and wanted to see if I was alone in thinking it completely shit the bed. Thankfully there are some sane people out there (like on here for example).

 

This Reddit post I found popped up pretty quickly, and basically sums up my exact feelings about what the hell is wrong with where this show went. What were they thinking?!

 

https://www.reddit.com/r/television/comments/lz8iky/wandavision_the_ruin_of_a_good_show_spoilers_all/

 

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4 hours ago, Alan Stock said:

Finally got around to watching this. Great concept, a total breath of fresh air for Marvel, entertaining and intriguing with unexpected twists. Until the worst downhill slide in a show I can remember seeing, even worse than the downfall of Game of Thrones or Lost in terms of quality and sense. I'm just so shocked and baffled, in the final episode I couldn't believe what I was seeing, it wasn't even the same show any more. I went online because I'd heard such good things about it and wanted to see if I was alone in thinking it completely shit the bed. Thankfully there are some sane people out there (like on here for example).

 

This Reddit post I found popped up pretty quickly, and basically sums up my exact feelings about what the hell is wrong with where this show went. What were they thinking?!

 

https://www.reddit.com/r/television/comments/lz8iky/wandavision_the_ruin_of_a_good_show_spoilers_all/

 


Which is neatly argued, but gets the wrong conclusion from the end.

 

Quote

When she should be even more traumatised at the revelation of how fucked up she is, and at the thought that the man and children she has been living with for months are actually creations of her own mind, at the revelation that she’s not a scientific experiment but an actual witch (honest). After all of that she calmly says good bye to her family, neatly eradicates them from existence, and then gets on with her life. Because yeah, that’s how grief works. All you need is a big battle and a few flashbacks and you’re fine again. Goddamn this s the most lazy fucking writing.

 


This isn’t what happened.

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How can anyone assume she was "fine" at the end of this? This is also directed at people complaining about her storyline in Strange 2 undoing her character development in this. It's not undoing anything, it's building on it.

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She spends all of Wandavision learning to reject a grief-hewn magic prison of her own construction, and all of Doctor Strange 2 murdering her way back in to the exact same fantasy.

 

Edit - One of the more common responses I’ve seen is that she fell off the wagon or something and that’s how she wound up back in that place emotionally. And that would’ve been an interesting first act! But they decided not to make that movie.

 

Spoiler

Even at the very end, doesn’t actually abandon her goal. Her plan fails in an ironic supervillain way - her children reject her for the very acts she performed to reach them - and she kills herself. But she starts and ends the movie in the same place, as a character.

 

Edited again for Doctor Strange 2 spoilers.

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7 hours ago, Alex W. said:

She spends all of Wandavision learning to reject a grief-hewn magic prison of her own construction, and all of Doctor Strange 2 murdering her way back in to the exact same fantasy.

 

Edit - One of the more common responses I’ve seen is that she fell off the wagon or something and that’s how she wound up back in that place emotionally. And that would’ve been an interesting first act! But they decided not to make that movie.

 

Even at the very end, doesn’t actually abandon her goal. Her plan fails in an ironic supervillain way - her children reject her for the very acts she performed to reach them - and she kills herself. But she starts and ends the movie in the same place, as a character.

 

The post credit in Wandavision clearly shows she hadn't outright rejected it at all. She took the Darkhold

Spoiler

and used it to try find her children again. It then corrupted her because that's what it does.

 

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18 minutes ago, Stigweard said:

 

The post credit in Wandavision clearly shows she hadn't outright rejected it at all. She took the Darkhold and used it to try find her children again. It then corrupted her because that's what it does.


I don’t recall her doing that in the show with the Book That Makes You Do Villain Things, but you can surely see how giving her a MacGuffin which rewrites character motivations as an end tag isn’t exactly a great example of them respecting the series’ character arc?

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