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WandaVision Challenges The Audience In A Way The MCU Never Has Before

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WandaVision breaks the MCU’s reliable formula, as it is the first release that truly forces the viewer to be patient and pay close attention. Viewers who watch WandaVision expecting the usual Marvel formula are met with a show that boasts a puzzling plot, an indescribable genre, and an atypical visual style. Since the release of 2008’s Iron…

WandaVision breaks the MCU’s reliable formula, as it is the first release that truly forces the viewer to be patient and pay close attention.

Viewers who watch WandaVision expecting the usual Marvel formula are met with a show that boasts a puzzling plot, an indescribable genre, and an atypical visual style. Since the release of 2008’s Iron Man, the MCU has built a reliable recipe for movies that are accessible to audiences of all backgrounds and ages. The straightforward premises of most MCU movies have fostered a great deal of action and humor, even when tackling difficult themes such as death and government surveillance. The MCU experience is at its most entertaining when the viewer has seen all previous installments and read the corresponding comics, but each movie still delivers a fun story that’s easy to digest regardless of comic book expertise.

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WandaVision follows the bittersweet ending of Avengers: Endgame with a more cynical look at the consequences of Thanos’ attack on the universe and the tragedies it entailed. By Phase 4, all of the Avengers are mourning someone or something they lost, but Wanda Maximoff, who has lost her family, brother, and boyfriend, is the hero who has handled it the worst. During WandaVision, she takes advantage of her godlike superpowers to seclude herself in a false reality where she lives a perfect life with her now-husband, Vision, making it really hard to understand what is real and what isn’t, even for die-hard fans.

Related: WandaVision Theory: Scarlet Witch Causes The MCU’s Civil War 2

Phase 4 began with the weirdest story the MCU could have chosen. WandaVision, a show within a show, inaugurated the MCU’s Disney+ TV format with an ode to sitcoms, complete with a live studio audience. This format is crucial to the plot, as Wanda’s fake reality is based on the sitcoms that she considers to be the perfect setting for a life where her past traumas don’t exist. The show manages to be funnier than most other MCU movies but at the same time more unnerving than anything Marvel Studios has ever made. The viewer is left to witness how Wanda falls deeper and deeper into the anguish of her own fabrication, and it’s also up to the viewer to choose whether to laugh at her shenanigans or pity her self-deception.

WandaVision and The Avengers

Before WandaVision, the MCU was criticized for sticking to its formula. Even a subversive movie like Captain America: Civil War, which pitted the heroes against each other, ended up being far less ambitious than its comic book counterpart, which featured dozens of heroes and took a deeper look at the themes of freedom, responsibility, and justice. The concept of death also lost all weight due to the disproportionate amount of forced resurrections (which now take a darker turn with Vision’s return in WandaVision), and most of the main villains didn’t represent a real threat until Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War. All of these flaws affected the general reception of the MCU’s lighthearted tone and led many to consider the franchise to be too carefree to be taken seriously, as it didn’t require the audience to think too hard when watching an MCU movie.

Of course, whether a darker tone makes a movie better or worse is a matter of preference, but it’s safe to say that the MCU is only beginning to challenge its audience with WandaVision. The show is the first MCU release to leave the viewer without a clue of who the main villain is or what direction the story will take. Within each episode, the use of black-and-white and color, as well as the inexplicable in-universe commercials and the palpable lack of information about how Westview came to be, forces the audience to leave all expectations behind and just enjoy the ride.

People who are only taking their first step into superhero stories with the show may not even recognize the genre during WandaVision‘s first two episodes, and many could easily lose all interest after not understanding the plot. In short, WandaVision is the first piece of MCU content to truly require both Marvel fans and casual viewers to be patient and pay close attention to every detail, so when the mystery starts to unravel, the experience is more rewarding than ever before.

Next: WandaVision: Every MCU Easter Egg In Episodes 1 & 2

  • Black Widow (2021)Release date: May 07, 2021
  • Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021)Release date: Jul 09, 2021
  • Eternals (2021)Release date: Nov 05, 2021
  • Spider-Man: Homecoming 3 (2021)Release date: Dec 17, 2021
  • Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022)Release date: Mar 25, 2022
  • Thor: Love and Thunder (2022)Release date: May 06, 2022
  • Black Panther 2 (2022)Release date: Jul 08, 2022
  • Captain Marvel 2 (2022)Release date: Nov 11, 2022

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About The Author


Nicolas Ayala
(180 Articles Published)

Nicolas Ayala is a screenwriter, photographer, and model with a passion for blockbusters and big-screen adaptations. He’s been writing movies since he got his first crayon and continues to do so in his final year of Film Production at university. An extensive immersion in the behind-the-scenes of a couple dozen projects has let him see films in a new light and talk about his experiences around the web. When not writing or dreaming about writing, he’s probably cosplaying, directing goofy films, creating comic books, studying ancient mythology, learning new languages or producing music that your hips can’t stop dancing to.

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