WandaVision Is An Explosive Tearjerker & Drifts Us Back To Simpler Times
If you’re a fan of superheroes, especially the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it’s likely you’re watching the franchises’ first television series, Wandavision, airing weekly on Disney+. The elongated-film follows Elizabeth Olsen’s Wanda Maximoff AKA Scarlet Witch as she deals with the aftermath of losing her loved ones, including her boyfriend, Vision (Paul Bettany), who she seemingly had to murder in order to save the world. While other twists and turns are sure to come, this is Marvel after all, the current theme of the series is Wanda coping with the loss of her boyfriend. With unhinged superpowers, she has trapped random civilians in a small New Jersey suburb into a new reality – one that she controls.
The first five episodes have given us a taste for what’s in store for the future. Yes, there’s plenty of Easter Eggs from the comic series in typical Marvel fashion and it’s very clear there’s a big bad villain lurking in foreshadowing, but superhero genre aside, Wandavision dives deeper into its scripts that really brings one back to the grieving process and imagining a life of what could have been.
A premise of the series has Wanda imagining herself and Vision in parodied sitcoms from various decades starting with the ‘50s. At first, she’s the typical Leave it to Beaver housewife, goofily making dinner for her bread winning husband and his boss. Next, she’s mingling and trying to conform as a dutiful woman in the ‘60s was expected to act. We then see her more lively in the ‘70s as homage to Carol Brady (Florence Henderson), coming more into her personality and having her own backbone. Eventually, we slowly start to learn that Wanda suffered a mental breakdown and none of what we have been watching is actually a reality, but one she fabricated so she could live her life. Unfortunately, her breakdown is accidentally holding thousands of civilians hostage and their memories erased. When the variety of special agents crafted to handle superhuman situations tries to diffuse her hex, she comes too, and threatens them to stop trying to invade on her false reality: She has everything she wants now: Her man, children, and a happy life where she no longer has to hide. Wanda’s story of the perfect life is a crippling, emotional storyline tucked between action packed and intelligent traditional superhero chaos.
In Episode 2, after she realizes her reality is being infiltrated, she questions Vision: “Is this really happening?” We slowly understand that once she is out of this hex, she’ll no longer have anything currently in it. Wanda will occasionally get blips of actual-reality, such as when she has to discuss the meaning of death with her children: Sometimes the feeling of loss will make you, as she puts it, ‘feel sad when someone you love is far away.’ Sooner or later, she’ll change any inkling of a painful emotion – like bringing her deceased brother back to life.
As a gay man obsessed with older sitcoms, Wanda’s journey has been completely thrilling – and not just the parts filled with blasts and superpowers. The plot of her unrequited love has you yearn with her. She wants nothing more than to be seemingly normal and in love. The series allows you to step in the mindset of Wanda so much that her depression is a paramount character on the show. It made me think of the LGBTQ audience watching this incredible series. As we’re aware, past decades weren’t necessarily kind to the gay community. Achieving the traditional family or life displayed across television sitcoms was unreachable – we couldn’t even get married until a few years ago. It’s understood that societal structures and government policies prevented many people in the LGBTQ community from living their most authentic lives, especially if you time warped into a decade like the 1950s. Love and lives have been lost when you’re forced to hide or pretend.
Haven’t we all imagined the rest of our lives with someone we knew we couldn’t be with? Your high school crush who never noticed you? Your friend who never saw you with the same rose-colored glasses as you saw them? Heck, even your ex-partner! Wanda’s vision of the ideal life with someone she loves is transcending her into madness, so without a doubt she’ll eventually have to be pulled out of it. But, can’t we all relate to wanting to experience the life we’ve envisioned? We’ll certainly be seeing her exploring how to handle her emotions appropriately and fully coping with her massive loss, but until then – let’s jive and swing with this beautiful fantasy.
Wandavision is halfway through its season and the last five episodes will air consecutively on Disney+ for the next five Fridays. Have you been watching?
Writer’s Note A: This is the opinion of one Instinct Magazine contributor and does not reflect the views of Instinct Magazine itself or fellow contributors.