Posted in Blog Posts, Flick Central, MARVEL

REPOST: Wandavision, created by MARVEL Cinematic Universe: a Television Review

Synopsis:

Just over three weeks have passed since Thanos was defeated and half the universe was snapped back into being.  Wanda and Vision are pursuing an idyllic life in the rural town of Westview, New Jersey.  But things may not be what they seem as the couple’s world changes bit by bit from vintage black and white sitcom to modern television.  What is going on with Wandavision?  And is everyone safe?

General Information:

-Genre: Mixed Sitcom, Superhero

-Creator: MARVEL Cinematic Universe, based on characters and story created by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Roy Thomas, and John Buscema

-Length: 1 season, 9 episodes (episodes vary in length from 29-49 minutes for a total of around 6 hours)

-Rating: TV-14 (mild violence, mild use of alcohol, mild frightening and intense scenes, superhero action, use of witchcraft and the occult in the context of superpowers, very mild innuendos of sex in the context and style of vintage sitcom tropes)

-Where to Watch: Disney+ (with subscription)

-Main Cast: Elizabeth Olson, Paul Bettany, Debora Jo Rupp, Fred Melamed, Katheryn Hahn, Teyona Parris, Randall Park, Kat Dennings, Evan Peters

-Page of Reference in RP1: MARVEL is mentioned throughout the book

Review (contains spoilers):

Episode 1: Filmed Before a Live Studio Audience

Such an excellent rendition of 1950s sitcom cinema. From the sets to the costumes and even the time period effects the whole episode just screamed vintage television.  Everything seemed to fit the 1950s like they were intending but with some twists.  It is so nice to notice the small details like the costumes that set the two of them apart from the others around them.  I hope that they are going to continue this through the series.

I am loving the fact that they have made the effects fit the aesthetic of the episode!  They are on the side of cheesy which is exactly what they would have been in the 1950s. From the flying plates to the entire kitchen exploding.  All practical effects. The costumes are completely on point.  Most of the other characters are in darker colors and patterns but Wanda and Vision are in lighter and/or solid colors.  It’s a very subtle way to show that they are somehow different or Other in the world they are in.

There is a subtle red tint to the whole episode.  Like the black and white isn’t the true black and white of old television.  I wonder if this was intentional or not.  I do like that they changed the aspect ratio of the episode to take on the feeling of watching it on an old 3:4 television.  It adds to the authenticity of the episode.

The set is also incredibly familiar.  Like it was pulled directly out of a sitcom from the 1950s.  Leave It To Bever…or maybe The Dick Van Dyke Show.  I’m not sure exactly but it is incredibly familiar.  They just did such and incredible job with putting everything together.  If I wasn’t familiar with the characters, it honestly could have been on television during that time period.

There seemed to be a little break in the illusion at the end of the episode at the dinner party.  Something is defiantly going on.

Also the fact that there are commercials is so great.  Little nods to things like Vision being called a human toaster and Stark Industries.

Episode 2: Don’t Touch That Dial

I loved the 1960s Bewitched vibe going on in this episode. 

The costuming and sets are still on point and it is really cool to see how they continue to set Vision and Wanda apart in their clothing.  From the pants that Wanda is wearing to the fact that vision is in slacks and a sweater.

The commercials are great too. More mentions of side bits and characters.  Baron Von Strucker as a pocket watch.  Interesting choice.

I’m also really interested about how the overarching story is going to play out since we got to see some of the out of place items in color.  The move to color television near the end of the episode is interesting too. I had to look it up and found it interesting that in Europe color TV was mostly standardized in the 1960s.  The symbol on the side of the helicopter was familiar too.  I’m not sure where I have seen it…maybe in Captain Marvel…or another more recent MARVEL film.

The moments throughout the episodes that are inherently 1960s are just lovely and are very distinguishable by those who are familiar with this era of cinema.  From the laugh tracks to the music playing to the animation of the intro and Vision’s insides to the effects that Wanda uses to make the magic act more “normal” for everyone.  Its really interesting to see the cracks that are forming in whatever is going on in the world. From the cut in on the radio and the blood to the little moments in the act that they have to cover up.

Wanda being pregnant at the end is really interesting too.  I know that Vision and Wanda have two children in the comics…eventually.  I’m kind of surprised it is happening this early in the show.

And what was with the beekeeper….and the rewind.

Episode 3: Now In Color

Woohoo. We have hit the 1970’s.  So many little homages to this era of television and wonderful little tropes like the overflowing washing machine and sink, getting the nursery ready, the pipes in the ceiling bursting…

The commercial in this one is funny too.  Hydra Soak.  So silly. 

I loved the little “camera trick” of Wanda putting something in front of her belly and SUDDENLY no one could tell she was pregnant. The doll from the Brady Bunch makes an appearance.

And the sets continue to change along with the clothing.  The Brady Bunch house makes a BIG appearance here.  So distinct. The effects are still right up there with the practical and fitting the time period that the episode is set in. 

 And those moments when Vision is on the verge of figuring out what is going out are just getting worse and worst. I’m honestly not sure what will happen when or if he actually figures out what is going on.  She wound it back again… like she doesn’t want Vision to figure out what is happening.

And who is Geraldine.  She seems like she doesn’t quite fit with everything that is going on around Wanda and Vision… the other characters have a certain affect to them.  They seem rehearsed. And when something goes “wrong” they panic.  But Geraldine.  She seems out of place.  She knows more about Wanda…and Pietro.  And apparently Ultron.  Who is she and who does she work for?

And now we are in wide screen… what is going on?

Episode 4: We Interrupt This Program

Oh goodness…now we get to see what is actually going on outside of Wandavision.  I’m beyond impressed with all of the subtle little things that they show is doing to show different times and different styles.  The morphing of the margins to indicate what realities we are in.  Its nice to have gotten the background of what is happening in the real world.  But now I have questions…

Monica RAMBEAU?!?! As in MARIA RAMBEAU’s DAUGHTER? As in CAPTAIN MARVEL??? And S.W.O.R.D????

And the town doesn’t WANT him to go in?  What the hell is that about?

And what made the force field…was it Wanda or something else?

Are the episodes continuing beyond what we are seeing?  Darcy does say “once an episode”… and “Monica has a speaking part NOW..” like there is way more that we aren’t seeing.   Do we see all of the important details, but Wanda is broadcasting to the outside world? Why are we only getting one season of 6 or so episodes?  I want to be as invested as Darcy is on this. I want to see more of the details of what is going on.

This very much feels like it’s a way for Wanda to deal with that happened to Vision.  As we clearly see with the moment of her truly seeing Vision dead….

This is really just bonkers.  But the twins are really cute.

Episode 5: On A Very Special Episode….

1980s here we come. Maybe with the early 1990s thrown in.  Defiantly enjoying the cracks that are happening and seeing how Wanda is dealing with the grief that she is obviously struggling with.  The last five years since the first snap.  Losing her twin brother…losing the love of her life…. The final battle with Thanos.  It’s clearly taken a toll and we are seeing how she is dealing with it.

I’m still really loving the nature of the sitcom and how, as we move through the decades, we are getting more and more of that feeling.  Very Who’s the Boss vibes in this one.  And we get to see a lot more of the issues that Wanda and Vision are having despite the fact that things seem to be going alright overall.

Reality is kind of starting to hit really hard for Wanda.  It’s really interesting to see all of the little breaks that are going on and just how dangerous Wanda really can be.  I’m really worried about what is going to happen when Vision finally sees what is going on with the whole world they are trapped in.

Wanda is insanely powerful.  She is literally rewriting reality. Very smart for Monica to try and use the technology from the time period the “show” is in to try and infiltrate the Hex.  The amount of power she has is off the charts…and Monica stands up for her which is incredible.  She knows that Wanda is just grieving.

Poor Vision.  He can’t remember who he was…who he is.  She obviously isn’t all powerful if she can’t give him back that.

She RECAST Pietro?  Nice little nod to the times MARVEL has done things outside of Disney…

Episode 6: All-New Halloween Spooktackular!

The late ‘90s Dennis the Menace and Malcom in the Middle vibes in this one.  I love the “breaking the 4th wall trope”.  it’s something that we have continued to use in cinema to this day especially in television.  The whole “reality tv” or “kids’ program” idea that is going on with this shows that the kiddos are going to be so much more important in the long run to this whole show.  I hope that they are actually alive and not just a figment of Wanda’s imagination.

The COSTUMES! They are in the costumes from the comics!  I love that they made a nod to this in the show.  The original Scarlet Witch Costume is one of my favorites…and is one of the most covered of the female superhero outfits.  And Quicksilver’s is great.

The Claymation “go-gurt” commercial is incredible.  And is a little terrifying.  But I defiantly remember commercials like that.

The further that Vision goes out of the center of town the less of an active hold that Wanda has on things.  Its basically a ghost town out there with everyone doing just enough to stay alive.

Something about Hayward is hinky.  I’m not liking the fact that he is hiding things from the team.  He obviously has more to him than meets the eye.  That coupled with the fact that he won’t listen to and kicks Monica, Jimmy and Darcy out of the facility do not bode well with what is going on overall.  Does he even care about what is actually happening or just on getting Vision back?

Agnes is also suspicious.  There is something about her that doesn’t seem right…its off… I’m not sure why.  But now Vision has so much more information than Wanda ever intended.  I’m not sure if this was all just an act or if Wanda really has a good grip on her as a person.

Is this Monica’s Origin Story?  It would be super interesting if they compacted everything she goes through to become Spectrum (and eventually taking on the mantle of Captain Marvel).

Oh no.  Vision cannot step past the barrier.  This isn’t going to end well for him if he tries.  We get to see the twins get some of their powers as well.  That is an interesting twist to see.  The fact that they writers included them at all, let along gave them their powers.

Now to see just how powerful Wanda really is… dang…. That is one way to save Vision…

I’m also super interested in how Darcy is going to help with everything along with Monica and Jimmy.  It’s just a very multi-layered situation that is going to take a lot to unfold.  I really am not liking Hayward. 

Episode 7: Breaking the Fourth Wall

Modern Family!  Not my favorite sitcom but kind of cool to have the feel of the Office… very typical of the sitcoms that went on in the early 2000s.

I love that the kids are in the colors their comic counterparts are dressed in.

Wanda is obviously incredibly stressed.  Its clear she can’t hold onto the whole world she is built (and now expanded).  She is about to lose it.  The things under her control are starting to revert or change through the time periods she has created shows for.  She isn’t broadcasting any more. And she is super depressed.

And, of course, the commercial will be about depression meds… oh yay.  Nexus.  Very Doctor Strange.

Ooo…Billy can’t hear Agnes.  She’s “quiet”.  That is interesting.  The “Ralph” trope is great…and hilarious that it is still going on.

Did we just get Spectrum’s origin story?  I hope so.  Monica is badass.  Carol was right when she told Maria she got the bravest kid.

Go Darcy!  I hate that she has to be the one to tell Vision what happened to him and his past.  That is not something I would want to have to do because its so much.  He and Wanda have been through so much.

Hmmm…. who and what is Agnes up to? Where are the kids?  And what is in the basement?

Oh yay… this is very occulty. And magic spell ish.

“Who’s been messing up EVERYTHING? It’s been Agatha all along!”  Catchy tune.

An after-credit scene: Pietro is a bad guy too…or at least being manipulated by Agatha.

Episode 8: Previously On

It’s the “flashback” sitcom episode.

I guess we are going to get a lot of different backstories here.  I like that we are still getting some of the traditional sitcom tropes even in the “real world”. Every good sitcom that is getting cancelled has a “flashback” episode.

Agatha is definitely not a good witch.  She has stolen her magic in the worst way possible.  By betraying her coven.  That is so not okay.

It’s remarkably interesting that the rules of magic apply in the MARVEL world.  I don’t know much about how magic works in the comics, but the ideas seem to be the same as what I’ve learned as a Pagan.  Only witches that make the protection spell (be it out of runes or standard spell work) can use their magic within the circle.  Quite noteworthy that the writers of both the comic and the show might have pulled from real witchcraft to get the rules.

Wanda is on another level.  If Agatha (who has been studying for over 300 years) cannot fathom the amount of brute power that Wanda has.  She must really be full of raw strength and talent.

Now we are going to get Wanda’s origin story.

Yeah…this is going to hurt.  We know the basics from the movies but to actually see how loving her family was.  How much they cared about each other and tried to make the home happy and warm despite what was happening outside in their country.  It makes sense how and why they were radicalized.

Agatha has some interesting takes on who exactly Wanda is.  But I’m not sure how correct she is with the observations.

 Its not clear in the movies if Wanda had powers before Hydra and Strucker got ahold of her.  All we know to this point is that she was experimented on and somehow ended up with the powers she has.  The Mind Stone works in mysterious ways.  It could have given them to her by unlocking part of her brain that we all have inside.  Or it could have just opened the door to drawing what she was predisposed to be.

Oh maybe we will get to see what actually happened on that tape that Hayward manipulated.

That is beyond manipulative.  Not just the fact that the video was manipulated to show Wanda as the aggressor.  There was so much more going on.  He had to have planned out the timing and having Vision being decommissioned at that exact moment.  There was FIVE years to do that.  We know Wanda was snapped away…so why did it take S.W.O.R.D FIVE YEARS to decide to decommission Vision.

So much raw emotion.  I can’t believe that she and Vision had bought land for a home.  Away from everything else.  They had plans.  They wanted to grow old together away from everything.  Their love was and is one of the things that I hate got taken from us with Thanos and his stupidity.

Agatha knows just where to hit Wanda too… there is definitely more than meets the eye with her and this idea of a Scarlet Witch.

After Credit Scene: WE GET WHITE VISION????? WHAT THE HELL?!?!

Episode 9: The Series Finale

This is going to be fun.

We have several battles going on.  Vision vs. White Vision.  Wanda vs. Agatha. Monica vs. “Pietro”.  The Boys vs The Military.  Jimmy vs. Hayward… which may be my favorite battle in the show.  We will see how everything pans out.

And we have now seen RALPH… another little “sitcom is ending” trope.

The boys are coming Wanda! 

Ah….so much in this episode.  I guess I’m going to have to go battle by battle overall.

Wanda and Agatha first: Agatha is horrible.  She is great at manipulation.  She is great at physical magic and psychological torture.  At least Wanda tries to be good and let people out of the Hex. And tries to destroy Agatha.  The magic is incredibly strong.  And we are finally getting Scarlet Witch…the real one.  Damn.  Get wrecked Agatha!  This is why you don’t teach people lessons… then they can use that knowledge against you.

Vision and White Vision: Oh.  Vision with the LOGICAL argument.  The Ship of Theseus argument.  One of my favorite logic arguments. What truly makes something that thing?  If the ship is being destroyed by rot and being replaced plank by plank when no original plank remains will it still be the Ship of Theseus?  And if the rot were taken from the planks and the ship reassembled free from rot is it the Ship of Theseus?  Are they both the ship and yet not the ship?  So what make the ship real.  What makes us real?  Fascinating argument and leaves room for Vision to return…and to be with Wanda later.

Monica and “Pietro”/Ralph: Monica just needs to take him out…and there she did.  Bam.  Where is she off to next.

The Boys and the Military: So well done… and I love that Monica showed up and helped to save them.

Jimmy and Hayward:  I love that Jimmy bluffed his way to getting ahold of Hayward.  Thank goodness the FBI was able to get to where he needed him.  WOOT! Darcy finally made it!

I cannot get over the fact that we all knew Wanda was going to be Scarlet Witch but she never actually was called that until now.  Her costume is INCREDIBLE…and her powers more so.  She’s beyond powerful.  I wonder how that will play out in the future.

Oh this is going to hurt.  One last bedtime.  One last goodbye. As she sets everything to rights.  I hate that the boys aren’t “real”….they were just her creation just as her Vision was.  Thanks. I didn’t need my heart today.

After Credits Scene:  I’m psyched that Jimmy is doing well with authority.  And that Darcy just took off.  Hopefully, we get to see more of her.  Ooooo…that’s a good set up for Monica. Major implications that she is going to become Spectrum and show up in Captain Marvel 2.

After Credits Scene 2: Wow.  Nice set up for Doctor Strange and the

Rating:

Rating: 5 out of 5.
Posted in Blog Posts, Flick Central, MARVEL

Avengers: Infinity War, created by Marvel Cinematic Universe, based on characters by Stan Lee: a Film Review

Synopsis:

Thanos has finally achieved the start to his grand plan…one of the six Infinity Stones.  If things go according to plan, he will be able to find the other five.  And then nothing will stand in the way of his destiny and grand plan- using the stones to create ultimate peace and serenity in the entire universe.

As he and his children move through the universe to acquire stone after stone they run into a variety of different situations. 

The Avengers must group together with many others from the Guardians of the Galaxy to the Black Panther in order to stop Thanos.  If they don’t then the world as we know it may cease to exist.

But when everyone is scattered far and wide across the universe getting back to Earth may be a bit tricky.  Will they make it in time? Or will Thanos be able to enact his plan?

General Information:

-Genre: Superhero

-Creator: created by Marvel Cinematic Universe, based on characters by Stan Lee

-Length: 149 minutes

-Rating: PG-13 (for moderate violence and gore, mild profanity, moderate frightening and intense scenes)

-Where to Watch: Disney+ (with subscription), DVD, Blu-Ray, or look for it at your local library

-Main Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Benedict Cumberbatch, Don Cheadle, Tom Holland, Chadwick Boseman, Paul Bettany, Elizabeth Olsen, Anthoby Mackie, Sebastian Stan, Danai Gurira, Letitia Wright, Dave Bautista, Zoe Saldana, Josh Brolin, Chris Pratt

-Page of Reference in RP1: MARVEL is mentioned throughout the book

Review (contains spoilers):

So many moving parts.  Just so many moving parts.

I honestly don’t know how Stan Lee and Jack Kirby kept everything straight in the YEARS of comics they wrote to get to this point.

And the film captured it so well.

With such a wide variety of characters coming together at different points in the universe all to make everything happen the way it does.  Everything really comes down to choice.

The writers have done and incredible job with this (and with part two) keeping everything straight and making sure that the story isn’t difficult to follow even with so many different bits and pieces going on at all times. 

We see the development of characters, and the choices they make under the stress of the situation.  We see their deepest fears and regrets.  And we see the world changed because of an extremest view on how to bring peace to the universe-not by working together and celebrating our differences and helping each other…but by simply destroying half of all life in the universe.

I mean…I guess it works after you can get past the chaos of losing half of all the people you care about in the world.  And how many more after that to the after-effects.

The amount of thought and discussion that goes into comics just continues to astound.  I think people who enjoy the movies (since they are more mainstream) and teased people who loved the comics for being geeky and nerdy are realizing just how much is going on in the worlds within those pages.

Rating:

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.
Posted in Blog Posts, Flick Central, MARVEL

Captain America: Civil War, created by created by Marvel Cinematic Universe, based on characters created by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby: a Film Review

Synopsis:

Nearly a year has passed since The Avengers defeated Ultron in the nation of Sokovia.  Now part of the newest group of Avengers recruits (Steve Rogers, Natasha Romanoff, Sam Wilson and Wanda Maximoff) are trying to stop terrorist Brock Rumlow from stealing a biological weapon on Lagos.  When Rumlow blows himself up during the confrontation in an attempt to kill Captain America, Wanda diverts the explosion…miscalculating and destroying part of a nearby building where a group of Wakandan humanitarian workers were helping the less fortunate.

Thaddeus Ross, now the US Secretary of State, uses the incident as a jumping off point to inform the Avengers that the United Nations is preparing to pass the Sokovia Accords which will establish a UN panel that will oversee and have complete control over the team.

The Avengers are divided.  Tony Stark (alias Iron Man) is in support of the oversight, particularly in light of the incident with Ultron.  Steve Rogers (alias Captain America) disagrees and has faith that the team, and himself in particular, can make better and quicker decisions that a group of politicians.

As the Accords are ratified another bomb goes off… this time killing King T’Chaka of Wakanda.  The footage shows that the bomber is none other than Roger’s former best-friend turned brainwashed Hydra agent, Bucky Barnes (alias The Winter Soldier).  As Bucky flees, things begin to get complicated.  The Avengers are split on the Accords.  T’Chaka’s son T’Challa has vowed to kill Bucky.  And a strange, masked superhuman appears…wearing a black suit and rivaling the abilities of The Avengers themselves.

What will happen to the team now that a major rift has formed?  Will the Avengers ever be the same?

General Information:

-Genre: Superhero

-Creator: created by created by Marvel Cinematic Universe, based on characters created by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby

-Length: 147 minutes

-Rating: PG-13 (for moderate violence and gore, mild profanity, mild use of alcohol, moderate frightening and intense scenes)

-Where to Watch: Disney+ (with subscription), DVD, Blu-Ray, or look for it at your local library

-Main Cast: Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr. Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Don Cheadle, Jeremy Renner, Chadwick Boseman, Paul Bettany, Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Rudd, Emily VanCamp, Tom Holland, Frank Grillo, William Hurt, Daniel Bruhl

-Page of Reference in RP1: MARVEL is mentioned throughout the book

Review (contains spoilers):

So much goes on in this film, its almost on the same level as The Avengers title films.  There are so many characters and so much information that is given in this movie.

Not to mention the continuation of the discussions of morality that have continued over from Age of Ultron.  This story does come from the comics but I haven’t gotten to reading it yet so I can’t speak to the differences.  But I was a little shocked the first time that I watched the film because I was not expecting who ended up on each side of the issue.

The fights are epic and it was a great introduction to both Black Panther and this version of Spider-man (who is the best version in my opinion).

We get both sides of the issue…which doesn’t often happen in grand discussions like this.  The writers did a great job showing the pros and cons to both the Accords…and to not signing them.  So many times we as humans think that decisions like this are black and white when they are shades of grey.  This film shows that and so much more.

Revenge and grief.  Fear and loathing.  The desire to do good…but that doing good is not always doing “right”.  So many different layers to peel back. 

And when I saw it in theatres it was a great jumping off point for discussions about these things.  That is what art and entertainment media should strive to do.  Of course, there will always (and should always be) art and entertainment for the sake of that…but they should also be able to launch discussions that are deeper than ourselves.  That make us think of those around us. 

This film does that…as do so many comic books.

Rating:

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Posted in Blog Posts, Flick Central, MARVEL

The Avengers: Age of Ultron, created by Marvel Cinematic Studios, based on characters created by Stan Lee: a Film Review

Synopsis:

In the aftermath of everything that was discovered by Captain America about HYDRA taking over S.H.I.E.L.D. the Avengers have followed the trail of Baron Wolfgang von Strucker to the tiny Eastern European country of Sokovia.  There they are confronted with two of the experiments that Strucker has been working on, a brother and sister who have been genetically modified to have powers.  Pietro Maximoff has been granted super speed while his twin, Wanda, has both telepathic and telekinetic abilities.

With Strucker dead, Loki’s scepter retrieved and everyone back at Avengers headquarters, Stark and Banner discover that there is some sort of Artificial Intelligence inside of the gem of the scepter.  The pair secretly decide to use it to implement an experimental global defense program, codename “Ultron”.  Its mission is to protect the Earth from threats from within and without.

As JARVIS examines the scepter’s AI…the scepter is doing its own reconossance…bringing to life the otherwise hypothetical Ultron.  When Ultron finally comes to life he wreaks havok in the in lab, eliminating JARVIS and destroying the Avengers headquarters after determining them to be the biggest threat to Earth.  He steals the scepter and leaves the Avengers in shambles to begin his grand scheme.

Rid the Earth of every threat on it…even if that means ridding it of all human life on the planet.

General Information:

-Genre: Superhero, Action/Adventure

-Creator: created by Marvel Cinematic Studios, based on characters created by Stan Lee

-Length: 141 minutes

-Rating: PG-13 (for mild sex and nudity, moderate violence and gore, mild profanity, mild use of alcohol, moderate frightening and intense scenes)

-Where to Watch: Disney+ (with subscription), DVD, Blu-Ray, or look for it at your local library

-Main Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Don Cheadle, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Bettany, Cobie Smulders, Anthony Mackie, Hayley Atwell, Idris Elba, Stellan Sakarsgard, James Spader, Samuel L. Jackson

-Page of Reference in RP1: MARVEL is mentioned throughout the book

Review (contains spoilers):

I forgot just how deep this movie is.  It isn’t your standard superhero film.  It is a cautionary tale of what happens when you take the idea of defense too far.

I know that many people would love the idea of preemptive strikes on threats both on and off Earth.  But what determines that threat?  Is it someone who has committed a crime already?  How big of a crime?  Someone who is an excellent speaker that can move hundreds if not thousands of people but has never committed an atrocity to date?  Is the fact that they can move people enough?

Or is it the people that do everything they can to save as many people as they can…even if they cause other destruction or issues while doing it?

Ultron and his idea that the whole human race should start over is the extreme of this.  He followed the logical path his programming was given and decided humanity was the biggest threat…so humanity should be wiped away.

Its something to think about.  Our actions have consequences, and those consequences can be damning.

This is why I love comics and superheroes.  There is always the discussions of morality, hope and compassion.  Right and wrong.  The extremes which we will continue to see throughout the MCU.

Some of my favorite characters are introduced in this…Wanda and Vision….and we get to see more of the life behind Hawkeye who is one of my favorite characters of all time.  With every movie we get to see more and more into the characters.  And the Infinity Stones that keep popping up around the galaxy.

Just a great step into the larger world of the Avengers and what is to come.

Rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.
Posted in Blog Posts, Flick Central, MARVEL

Wandavision, created by MARVEL Cinematic Universe: a Television Review

Synopsis:

Just over three weeks have passed since Thanos was defeated and half the universe was snapped back into being.  Wanda and Vision are pursuing an idyllic life in the rural town of Westview, New Jersey.  But things may not be what they seem as the couple’s world changes bit by bit from vintage black and white sitcom to modern television.  What is going on with Wandavision?  And is everyone safe?

General Information:

-Genre: Mixed Sitcom, Superhero

-Creator: MARVEL Cinematic Universe, based on characters and story created by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Roy Thomas, and John Buscema

-Length: 1 season, 9 episodes (episodes vary in length from 29-49 minutes for a total of around 6 hours)

-Rating: TV-14 (mild violence, mild use of alcohol, mild frightening and intense scenes, superhero action, use of witchcraft and the occult in the context of superpowers, very mild innuendos of sex in the context and style of vintage sitcom tropes)

-Where to Watch: Disney+ (with subscription)

-Main Cast: Elizabeth Olson, Paul Bettany, Debora Jo Rupp, Fred Melamed, Katheryn Hahn, Teyona Parris, Randall Park, Kat Dennings, Evan Peters

-Page of Reference in RP1: MARVEL is mentioned throughout the book

Review (contains spoilers):

Episode 1: Filmed Before a Live Studio Audience

Such an excellent rendition of 1950s sitcom cinema. From the sets to the costumes and even the time period effects the whole episode just screamed vintage television.  Everything seemed to fit the 1950s like they were intending but with some twists.  It is so nice to notice the small details like the costumes that set the two of them apart from the others around them.  I hope that they are going to continue this through the series.

I am loving the fact that they have made the effects fit the aesthetic of the episode!  They are on the side of cheesy which is exactly what they would have been in the 1950s. From the flying plates to the entire kitchen exploding.  All practical effects. The costumes are completely on point.  Most of the other characters are in darker colors and patterns but Wanda and Vision are in lighter and/or solid colors.  It’s a very subtle way to show that they are somehow different or Other in the world they are in.

There is a subtle red tint to the whole episode.  Like the black and white isn’t the true black and white of old television.  I wonder if this was intentional or not.  I do like that they changed the aspect ratio of the episode to take on the feeling of watching it on an old 3:4 television.  It adds to the authenticity of the episode.

The set is also incredibly familiar.  Like it was pulled directly out of a sitcom from the 1950s.  Leave It To Bever…or maybe The Dick Van Dyke Show.  I’m not sure exactly but it is incredibly familiar.  They just did such and incredible job with putting everything together.  If I wasn’t familiar with the characters, it honestly could have been on television during that time period.

There seemed to be a little break in the illusion at the end of the episode at the dinner party.  Something is defiantly going on.

Also the fact that there are commercials is so great.  Little nods to things like Vision being called a human toaster and Stark Industries.

Episode 2: Don’t Touch That Dial

I loved the 1960s Bewitched vibe going on in this episode. 

The costuming and sets are still on point and it is really cool to see how they continue to set Vision and Wanda apart in their clothing.  From the pants that Wanda is wearing to the fact that vision is in slacks and a sweater.

The commercials are great too. More mentions of side bits and characters.  Baron Von Strucker as a pocket watch.  Interesting choice.

I’m also really interested about how the overarching story is going to play out since we got to see some of the out of place items in color.  The move to color television near the end of the episode is interesting too. I had to look it up and found it interesting that in Europe color TV was mostly standardized in the 1960s.  The symbol on the side of the helicopter was familiar too.  I’m not sure where I have seen it…maybe in Captain Marvel…or another more recent MARVEL film.

The moments throughout the episodes that are inherently 1960s are just lovely and are very distinguishable by those who are familiar with this era of cinema.  From the laugh tracks to the music playing to the animation of the intro and Vision’s insides to the effects that Wanda uses to make the magic act more “normal” for everyone.  Its really interesting to see the cracks that are forming in whatever is going on in the world. From the cut in on the radio and the blood to the little moments in the act that they have to cover up.

Wanda being pregnant at the end is really interesting too.  I know that Vision and Wanda have two children in the comics…eventually.  I’m kind of surprised it is happening this early in the show.

And what was with the beekeeper….and the rewind.

Episode 3: Now In Color

Woohoo. We have hit the 1970’s.  So many little homages to this era of television and wonderful little tropes like the overflowing washing machine and sink, getting the nursery ready, the pipes in the ceiling bursting…

The commercial in this one is funny too.  Hydra Soak.  So silly. 

I loved the little “camera trick” of Wanda putting something in front of her belly and SUDDENLY no one could tell she was pregnant. The doll from the Brady Bunch makes an appearance.

And the sets continue to change along with the clothing.  The Brady Bunch house makes a BIG appearance here.  So distinct. The effects are still right up there with the practical and fitting the time period that the episode is set in. 

 And those moments when Vision is on the verge of figuring out what is going out are just getting worse and worst. I’m honestly not sure what will happen when or if he actually figures out what is going on.  She wound it back again… like she doesn’t want Vision to figure out what is happening.

And who is Geraldine.  She seems like she doesn’t quite fit with everything that is going on around Wanda and Vision… the other characters have a certain affect to them.  They seem rehearsed. And when something goes “wrong” they panic.  But Geraldine.  She seems out of place.  She knows more about Wanda…and Pietro.  And apparently Ultron.  Who is she and who does she work for?

And now we are in wide screen… what is going on?

Episode 4: We Interrupt This Program

Oh goodness…now we get to see what is actually going on outside of Wandavision.  I’m beyond impressed with all of the subtle little things that they show is doing to show different times and different styles.  The morphing of the margins to indicate what realities we are in.  Its nice to have gotten the background of what is happening in the real world.  But now I have questions…

Monica RAMBEAU?!?! As in MARIA RAMBEAU’s DAUGHTER? As in CAPTAIN MARVEL??? And S.W.O.R.D????

And the town doesn’t WANT him to go in?  What the hell is that about?

And what made the force field…was it Wanda or something else?

Are the episodes continuing beyond what we are seeing?  Darcy does say “once an episode”… and “Monica has a speaking part NOW..” like there is way more that we aren’t seeing.   Do we see all of the important details, but Wanda is broadcasting to the outside world? Why are we only getting one season of 6 or so episodes?  I want to be as invested as Darcy is on this. I want to see more of the details of what is going on.

This very much feels like it’s a way for Wanda to deal with that happened to Vision.  As we clearly see with the moment of her truly seeing Vision dead….

This is really just bonkers.  But the twins are really cute.

Episode 5: On A Very Special Episode….

1980s here we come. Maybe with the early 1990s thrown in.  Defiantly enjoying the cracks that are happening and seeing how Wanda is dealing with the grief that she is obviously struggling with.  The last five years since the first snap.  Losing her twin brother…losing the love of her life…. The final battle with Thanos.  It’s clearly taken a toll and we are seeing how she is dealing with it.

I’m still really loving the nature of the sitcom and how, as we move through the decades, we are getting more and more of that feeling.  Very Who’s the Boss vibes in this one.  And we get to see a lot more of the issues that Wanda and Vision are having despite the fact that things seem to be going alright overall.

Reality is kind of starting to hit really hard for Wanda.  It’s really interesting to see all of the little breaks that are going on and just how dangerous Wanda really can be.  I’m really worried about what is going to happen when Vision finally sees what is going on with the whole world they are trapped in.

Wanda is insanely powerful.  She is literally rewriting reality. Very smart for Monica to try and use the technology from the time period the “show” is in to try and infiltrate the Hex.  The amount of power she has is off the charts…and Monica stands up for her which is incredible.  She knows that Wanda is just grieving.

Poor Vision.  He can’t remember who he was…who he is.  She obviously isn’t all powerful if she can’t give him back that.

She RECAST Pietro?  Nice little nod to the times MARVEL has done things outside of Disney…

Episode 6: All-New Halloween Spooktackular!

The late ‘90s Dennis the Menace and Malcom in the Middle vibes in this one.  I love the “breaking the 4th wall trope”.  it’s something that we have continued to use in cinema to this day especially in television.  The whole “reality tv” or “kids’ program” idea that is going on with this shows that the kiddos are going to be so much more important in the long run to this whole show.  I hope that they are actually alive and not just a figment of Wanda’s imagination.

The COSTUMES! They are in the costumes from the comics!  I love that they made a nod to this in the show.  The original Scarlet Witch Costume is one of my favorites…and is one of the most covered of the female superhero outfits.  And Quicksilver’s is great.

The Claymation “go-gurt” commercial is incredible.  And is a little terrifying.  But I defiantly remember commercials like that.

The further that Vision goes out of the center of town the less of an active hold that Wanda has on things.  Its basically a ghost town out there with everyone doing just enough to stay alive.

Something about Hayward is hinky.  I’m not liking the fact that he is hiding things from the team.  He obviously has more to him than meets the eye.  That coupled with the fact that he won’t listen to and kicks Monica, Jimmy and Darcy out of the facility do not bode well with what is going on overall.  Does he even care about what is actually happening or just on getting Vision back?

Agnes is also suspicious.  There is something about her that doesn’t seem right…its off… I’m not sure why.  But now Vision has so much more information than Wanda ever intended.  I’m not sure if this was all just an act or if Wanda really has a good grip on her as a person.

Is this Monica’s Origin Story?  It would be super interesting if they compacted everything she goes through to become Spectrum (and eventually taking on the mantle of Captain Marvel).

Oh no.  Vision cannot step past the barrier.  This isn’t going to end well for him if he tries.  We get to see the twins get some of their powers as well.  That is an interesting twist to see.  The fact that they writers included them at all, let along gave them their powers.

Now to see just how powerful Wanda really is… dang…. That is one way to save Vision…

I’m also super interested in how Darcy is going to help with everything along with Monica and Jimmy.  It’s just a very multi-layered situation that is going to take a lot to unfold.  I really am not liking Hayward. 

Episode 7: Breaking the Fourth Wall

Modern Family!  Not my favorite sitcom but kind of cool to have the feel of the Office… very typical of the sitcoms that went on in the early 2000s.

I love that the kids are in the colors their comic counterparts are dressed in.

Wanda is obviously incredibly stressed.  Its clear she can’t hold onto the whole world she is built (and now expanded).  She is about to lose it.  The things under her control are starting to revert or change through the time periods she has created shows for.  She isn’t broadcasting any more. And she is super depressed.

And, of course, the commercial will be about depression meds… oh yay.  Nexus.  Very Doctor Strange.

Ooo…Billy can’t hear Agnes.  She’s “quiet”.  That is interesting.  The “Ralph” trope is great…and hilarious that it is still going on.

Did we just get Spectrum’s origin story?  I hope so.  Monica is badass.  Carol was right when she told Maria she got the bravest kid.

Go Darcy!  I hate that she has to be the one to tell Vision what happened to him and his past.  That is not something I would want to have to do because its so much.  He and Wanda have been through so much.

Hmmm…. who and what is Agnes up to? Where are the kids?  And what is in the basement?

Oh yay… this is very occulty. And magic spell ish.

“Who’s been messing up EVERYTHING? It’s been Agatha all along!”  Catchy tune.

An after-credit scene: Pietro is a bad guy too…or at least being manipulated by Agatha.

Episode 8: Previously On

It’s the “flashback” sitcom episode.

I guess we are going to get a lot of different backstories here.  I like that we are still getting some of the traditional sitcom tropes even in the “real world”. Every good sitcom that is getting cancelled has a “flashback” episode.

Agatha is definitely not a good witch.  She has stolen her magic in the worst way possible.  By betraying her coven.  That is so not okay.

It’s remarkably interesting that the rules of magic apply in the MARVEL world.  I don’t know much about how magic works in the comics, but the ideas seem to be the same as what I’ve learned as a Pagan.  Only witches that make the protection spell (be it out of runes or standard spell work) can use their magic within the circle.  Quite noteworthy that the writers of both the comic and the show might have pulled from real witchcraft to get the rules.

Wanda is on another level.  If Agatha (who has been studying for over 300 years) cannot fathom the amount of brute power that Wanda has.  She must really be full of raw strength and talent.

Now we are going to get Wanda’s origin story.

Yeah…this is going to hurt.  We know the basics from the movies but to actually see how loving her family was.  How much they cared about each other and tried to make the home happy and warm despite what was happening outside in their country.  It makes sense how and why they were radicalized.

Agatha has some interesting takes on who exactly Wanda is.  But I’m not sure how correct she is with the observations.

 Its not clear in the movies if Wanda had powers before Hydra and Strucker got ahold of her.  All we know to this point is that she was experimented on and somehow ended up with the powers she has.  The Mind Stone works in mysterious ways.  It could have given them to her by unlocking part of her brain that we all have inside.  Or it could have just opened the door to drawing what she was predisposed to be.

Oh maybe we will get to see what actually happened on that tape that Hayward manipulated.

That is beyond manipulative.  Not just the fact that the video was manipulated to show Wanda as the aggressor.  There was so much more going on.  He had to have planned out the timing and having Vision being decommissioned at that exact moment.  There was FIVE years to do that.  We know Wanda was snapped away…so why did it take S.W.O.R.D FIVE YEARS to decide to decommission Vision.

So much raw emotion.  I can’t believe that she and Vision had bought land for a home.  Away from everything else.  They had plans.  They wanted to grow old together away from everything.  Their love was and is one of the things that I hate got taken from us with Thanos and his stupidity.

Agatha knows just where to hit Wanda too… there is definitely more than meets the eye with her and this idea of a Scarlet Witch.

After Credit Scene: WE GET WHITE VISION????? WHAT THE HELL?!?!

Episode 9: The Series Finale

This is going to be fun.

We have several battles going on.  Vision vs. White Vision.  Wanda vs. Agatha. Monica vs. “Pietro”.  The Boys vs The Military.  Jimmy vs. Hayward… which may be my favorite battle in the show.  We will see how everything pans out.

And we have now seen RALPH… another little “sitcom is ending” trope.

The boys are coming Wanda! 

Ah….so much in this episode.  I guess I’m going to have to go battle by battle overall.

Wanda and Agatha first: Agatha is horrible.  She is great at manipulation.  She is great at physical magic and psychological torture.  At least Wanda tries to be good and let people out of the Hex. And tries to destroy Agatha.  The magic is incredibly strong.  And we are finally getting Scarlet Witch…the real one.  Damn.  Get wrecked Agatha!  This is why you don’t teach people lessons… then they can use that knowledge against you.

Vision and White Vision: Oh.  Vision with the LOGICAL argument.  The Ship of Theseus argument.  One of my favorite logic arguments. What truly makes something that thing?  If the ship is being destroyed by rot and being replaced plank by plank when no original plank remains will it still be the Ship of Theseus?  And if the rot were taken from the planks and the ship reassembled free from rot is it the Ship of Theseus?  Are they both the ship and yet not the ship?  So what make the ship real.  What makes us real?  Fascinating argument and leaves room for Vision to return…and to be with Wanda later.

Monica and “Pietro”/Ralph: Monica just needs to take him out…and there she did.  Bam.  Where is she off to next.

The Boys and the Military: So well done… and I love that Monica showed up and helped to save them.

Jimmy and Hayward:  I love that Jimmy bluffed his way to getting ahold of Hayward.  Thank goodness the FBI was able to get to where he needed him.  WOOT! Darcy finally made it!

I cannot get over the fact that we all knew Wanda was going to be Scarlet Witch but she never actually was called that until now.  Her costume is INCREDIBLE…and her powers more so.  She’s beyond powerful.  I wonder how that will play out in the future.

Oh this is going to hurt.  One last bedtime.  One last goodbye. As she sets everything to rights.  I hate that the boys aren’t “real”….they were just her creation just as her Vision was.  Thanks. I didn’t need my heart today.

After Credits Scene:  I’m psyched that Jimmy is doing well with authority.  And that Darcy just took off.  Hopefully, we get to see more of her.  Ooooo…that’s a good set up for Monica. Major implications that she is going to become Spectrum and show up in Captain Marvel 2.

After Credits Scene 2: Wow.  Nice set up for Doctor Strange and the

Rating:

Rating: 5 out of 5.