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WandaVision

Totenkindly

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Anyone watch this yet? First two episodes (of the 9 created) dropped yesterday.

They're about 25-30 min apiece, I actually enjoyed the first two. They are modeled off older sitcoms currently -- what I saw last night reminded me of Dick Van Dyke era shows and then Bewitched (a little more obvious). It really showcases Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany (the latter of whom I felt got shortchanged in his MCU film appearances, so it's nice to see him) being allowed to do things beside the self-serious MCU action-drama approach. Olsen's been in a lot of actual drama films outside of MCU, is the more talented of the Olsen clan, and Bettany meanwhile has done drama and comedy and can have a lighter touch -- he actually drops right into straight comedy timing here as well as even physical/pratfall humor, he's quite good.

The cool thing is that it's not simply a parody of old TV shows; there is obviously something else going on; the shows so far not only have a ton of easter eggs for avid Marvel comics readers but allude to the most prominent Scarlet Witch comic arcs as well... and there's a number of moments (including the credits and episode endings) that suggest this is not at all what it seems to be, so it is playing into the future of Scarlet Witch's very own character arc and I'm still curious to see where Vision ends up even though the last we believed was that he was dead as a result of Infinity Wars and Endgame.

Another aspect I like is that it is veering away from how SW got short-changed in the films in terms of her powerset. I do really understand that in visual stories, her actual powers are more difficult to show in an action film; I guess it made sense to shift her more into a telekinetic-style personality. Whedon did try to add elements of her ability to influence minds back in Age of Ultron but that was quickly abandoned. In the comics, she essentially wields chaos magic (which is why she is called, well, a "witch") -- presented originally through her hexes that destabilize probabilities in favor of chaos and she isn't necessarily aware of the exact outcome of her cast. For example, in her early days, casting a hex at a fire-summoning villain might rupture a nearby water main, dousing the flames. In a way it's like the luck powers of Longshot and Domino as we've seen in the films, except that it's not a personal-affecting power like theirs but expanded to encompass wide areas affecting others.

eventually this became more consciously directed (or at least personally directed even when unconscious) so she effectively became a true witch and wielder of chaos magic. From what I have seen so far in the show, Marvel has been expanding her screen presence in the direction of wielding magic directly, which is why she's been slated to appear in the next Dr. Strange film -- this show is kind of a bridge between her old role and where she is going as a character. I also love how aside from her more "magical powers" there are specific callouts to her presentation from the comics... As things shift into color, red is becoming her dominant color and noticeably so.

There are a number of theories about what is happening on this show. The most general explanation is:



The thing is, there are moments in the show that suddenly feel darker, and I just had to go back and rewatch bits of their relationship in the film. I really love their arc in Infinity War, although it's unbelievably sad. The writing was pretty strong and there are lines mirrored from the beginning to the end of the film. Their love for each other is quite apparent and it was unbelievably painful at the end where Vision essentially has a good (though sad) ending torn from him and replaced by a horrific one -- he goes from a willing participant in his fate to a victim. If the series can restore some dignity to his character, that would be incredible.
 

John Catstentine

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Anyone watch this yet? First two episodes (of the 9 created) dropped yesterday.

They're about 25-30 min apiece, I actually enjoyed the first two. They are modeled off older sitcoms currently -- what I saw last night reminded me of Dick Van Dyke era shows and then Bewitched (a little more obvious). It really showcases Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany (the latter of whom I felt got shortchanged in his MCU film appearances, so it's nice to see him) being allowed to do things beside the self-serious MCU action-drama approach. Olsen's been in a lot of actual drama films outside of MCU, is the more talented of the Olsen clan, and Bettany meanwhile has done drama and comedy and can have a lighter touch -- he actually drops right into straight comedy timing here as well as even physical/pratfall humor, he's quite good.

The cool thing is that it's not simply a parody of old TV shows; there is obviously something else going on; the shows so far not only have a ton of easter eggs for avid Marvel comics readers but allude to the most prominent Scarlet Witch comic arcs as well... and there's a number of moments (including the credits and episode endings) that suggest this is not at all what it seems to be, so it is playing into the future of Scarlet Witch's very own character arc and I'm still curious to see where Vision ends up even though the last we believed was that he was dead as a result of Infinity Wars and Endgame.

im waiting for more episodes, but i really hope things work out for them, they need more screen time
 

Julius_Van_Der_Beak

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I'm getting more and more intrigued about it. I actually watched the first episode of Legion today and really enjoyed the sort of insane Wes Anderson take on the whole comic book thing ( I know it's sort of tangentially related to the X-men universe). Does this have anything approaching that level of watchable craziness?

You know it's funny because I grew up loathing the Olsen twins (especially because I hated Full House), but I actually kind of like Elizabeth. I guess you know by now I like to watch things with Aubrey Plaza, and I thought Olsen did a pretty good job in Ingrid Goes West as an "influencer."
 

Totenkindly

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Yeah, I wouldn't put Elizabeth and then the twins in the same boat; she's actually an actress with talent, the other two are more like entrepreneurs.
 

Totenkindly

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I'm loving this show, I feel like it's one of the more original and gutsier things that MCU has done over its lifetime (10+ years now?) It isn't following a formula, it's making its own.

Also, they are actually pulling off the tonal shifts -- getting the campy sitcom aspects right without ripping off specific things, and then doing these weird shifts into actual serious drama at moments in each episode, then spinning back.

Episode 3 has the Brady Bunch as its main set design, while reflecting general elements of 70's sitcoms. But it also is digging more and more into what might actually be happening.

I guess I won't spoiler this one thing -- when Vision is in normal form here, he still has the Mind Stone in his forehead. So it's clearly not the "real" Vision, nor is it a recreated Vision who would just look like the Vision without a Mind Stone. This really seems to be Wanda's recollection of the Vision she loved, as far as I can tell.

 

Totenkindly

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Yay, a framing episode! So now we know where we are and the general situation.

 

Totenkindly

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Mid-season episode.

This one rips off Family Ties. I kinda cried at the homage theme song/stylization -- there have been other better scripted / complex shows out there, but Family Ties always got me in the feels and is part of my youth, and it was one of my favorites ever. The theme song/graphics are really a spitting homage though, and well done.

A lot of things become more clear, and lines are definitely drawn now even if a few questions remain. This is really going to end up with Vision deciding to confront his own past which Wanda has been hiding from him. I really wish he could be alive again, but I also don't know if he will accept an existence that goes fundamentally against the laws of nature and truth; he has too much gentle integrity for that. Wanda might have to let him go as part of working through her own grief. I'm still impressed that the series has typically transitioned in-episode really well between sitcom comedy right into deathly serious drama with high stakes, then right back again. That's not easy to do.

SWORD is being kind of SHIELD-Y but worse. I didn't really pay much attention to them in the comics but they did seem to be shadier, if that is possible. I just remember the green-haired agent who was involved in the "X" series stuff, who might have ended up with Hank McCoy for a bit. I get why they pulled what they did in this episode but... man, yeah, this is the fallout.

The ending, I'm kinda "eh" about although I suspected for awhile this would happen.
 

Totenkindly

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Episode 7 (of 9) aired today.

I have mostly stopped reading all the stupid comic book / fandom site internet articles out there, trying to speculate on what's going on and who is who. With today's big reveal, it's clear they really over-speculated and overthought the entire show, which is what I was thinking but mostly just had rolled my eyes and ignored the articles. SOmetimes the fan base is just way too smart for its own good, like the benevolent form of Qanon or something. Outlandish theories that don't really pan out.

I'm happy with the reveal, even if it seems basic.
 

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[It was Agatha All Along was so goofy, I loved it.]

- - - Updated - - -

Boyfriend was really, really disappointed at no Mr. Fantastic. He had his hopes up so high, lol
 

Totenkindly

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Yeah, that song was wonderful. I gasped, then burst out laughing with the line about Sparky.

Plus, I'm a fan of Kathryn Hahn, she's typically great... she's super-funny while still having the dramatic acting chops.
 

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I'm really enjoying it a lot... to the point I'll be a bit sad when the season ends. I'm enjoying the reveals, even if they have been fairly predictable.

I was surprised that a podcast I listen to that's been covering WandaVision was thrown off by Agnes's over-acted confusion and distress last week. I found Agnes's over acting a tell that she was in the know about everything. Did like the retro theme song and campy winking at the end of this episode. Even when the show is not actively surprising the playing around with genre tropes is very fun.
 

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That after credits scene though...
 

Totenkindly

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I have a bad feeling about how this season will end, considering the truth about Vision's past, where he is now, what happened when he tried to go through the barrier, and his moral character. He's going to do what is right and/or what conforms with "truth" regardless of the cost. I'm not ready for this loss again and acceptance of cold hard reality. But I might not get a choice.

I'm really enjoying it a lot... to the point I'll be a bit sad when the season ends. I'm enjoying the reveals, even if they have been fairly predictable.

I felt like the format made it one of the more creative things that MCU has done, since mostly it has developed a formula for all of its movies and this was doing something different.

We never got much time with Vision and Wanda anyway in the film series. (I keep wanting to type "Wayne and Wanda" to the voice of Sam the Eagle, OMG lol...)

I was surprised that a podcast I listen to that's been covering WandaVision was thrown off by Agnes's over-acted confusion and distress last week. I found Agnes's over acting a tell that she was in the know about everything. Did like the retro theme song and campy winking at the end of this episode. Even when the show is not actively surprising the playing around with genre tropes is very fun.

Yeah, the scene in the car made me a little confused but hey that's the point and obviously if it lines up with her plan, then it still makes sense.

I find all the speculation funny. I haven't followed everything because it's all just speculation, but there are so many comics/coverage sites pumping out articles overanalyzing every little detail in the show and dumping huge quantities of geek comic backstory trying to decipher what the MCU is doing here. Like, haven't we learned yet that much of this stuff won't really pan out, and they're likely overreaching? And then everyone gets up in arms when it doesn't pan out as they had envisioned. (Vision. Haha. See what I did there?)

Anyway, honestly, this has been more enjoyable that about half the MCU films, at the least.

That after credits scene though...

I was glad I accidentally stuck it out, so I saw it in my initial viewing without knowing it was there.

Not a lot to it, and I still don't know exactly how QS falls into all of this... I guess we'll find out today.
 

Totenkindly

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Holy shit. I think I cried 3-4 times during episode 8. it's only a half hour episode!

What a hell of a way to pull it all together. I had suspected much of this, but there were little details that really fleshed it all out here.

spoiler related stuff


Kathryn Hahn = MVP of this series, pretty much. And what a hell of a cold open.

I think the line that had the most impact on me was something past-Vision said to Wanda after leaving Sokovia, trying to console her but not knowing how: "...But what is grief, if not love persevering?"

I was wondering why I have these painful nuggets of sadness in me, over things I have lost. It's easy to think of them as losses and hurts. But this simple sentence flips them on their head. Instead of them being things I am suffering, some kind of deficiency... I see now it's telling me not of my losses but of what things I have truly loved... and that love is still there. And that's a meaningful thing... to know what things one has loved and that one has the capacity for love.
 

Totenkindly

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I kinda see this going in two ways:

Realistic


Idealistic:


I want badly for the idealistic version to be true but also believe it might be more real and poignant for the realistic version to dominate. I dunno.

One thing that makes me laugh have been all the crazy ideas bouncing around with this series over its run, with the comic book hounds pitching so many elaborate plot devices, but so far it feels rather what the original guesses were and none of the crazy stuff. People really like to overthink things in situations that are relatively normal.

I also have no idea what might happen with the kids.
 
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Totenkindly

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Rewatching the whole thing before Friday -- watched five episodes yesterday (as they are fairly short) -- to pick up on what can be seen on a second viewing, once you know what's going on. There are more small things slipped into the script as well as indicators that now make sense. I always enjoy the mystery of the first views because it's like a puzzle one is trying to fit together without even knowing the picture, and then on the rewatch, knowing the picture, you can see how all the pieces actually were designed to fit.

The commercials are also all in chronological order in terms of Wanda's life and the events triggering each.

One can definitely see Agnes taking a more domineering approach, but she's really pumping Wanda for information and trying to understand what's going on even while trying to seem helpful. The things that threw the audience for a loop now also show her trying to throw Wanda off the scent.

I think each episode is far more sad now or at least bittersweet, when you realize that (as Agnes is asking Wanda, "What did you do when all your support structures were gone?" in E8) this whole thing is all she has left, now that everyone she loves has been taken from her. People find something stable to help them cope, and this is what Wanda is doing on a gut level to keep her sanity until she can at least grapple with everything. It's the life she wanted, her idealized fantasy that now can never be (?), and this is her way of saying goodbye to it, like one final kiss, once she can move on. I think's powerful because there are actually moments of true sweetness in what's onscreen -- actual love. It's not just idealized, it's actually something deep and enduring and that feels real, if only reality had been allowed to unfold.

Morally, the big problem is with the citizens of Westview, who didn't ask for this and have been subsumed into the fantasy. Even if and when they get their lives back, there was still a violation occurring.

Hayward's video footage to support Wanda "stealing Vision's body" is very selective -- he doesn't really doctor it, he just shows the right bits of it to support a particular version of the story that ends up being false.

Anyone notice the musical nods to Don Davis' "Matrix" theme music in Wanda's theme for the closing credits? Instead of scrolling green numbers, we get the pixelated multi-colored sequences of Wanda constructing reality from particles -- "chaos magic of creation" -- but definitely the brass elements of the theme are alluding to the Matrix.
 

Seymour

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Yeah... Hayward was clearly trying to be a huge instigator. I'm hoping for your idealistic resolution... seems doable, but even then I bet there is a split after this based on the moral implications of psychically enslaving a whole (if small) town. I worry that the final episode won't live up to what's been set up so far... but I think there is room for a satisfying conclusion without introducing more players.

I also like the "persisting" quote, even if there is a dark side there, too. It's true that a lot of grief is one's physiology trying to re-establish relational bonds that are no longer present. It might be persisting... but not necessarily in an adaptive way.

I do like the R/G/B pixel animations at the end. Seemed very on brand since they mostly look like squashed hexes.
 

Totenkindly

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okay. I managed to stay off Social Media *and* off Yahoo news and other typical news feeds I inhabit, until around lunch when I finally watched this -- so I survived the spoilers.

My overall rating for the finale:


Specific thoughts:

The ‘WandaVision’ Season Finale Exit Survey - The Ringer


pics: Her outfit reminds me a bit of a deep red version of the Enchantress's green one.

 

Totenkindly

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Yeah... Hayward was clearly trying to be a huge instigator.

rewatching that sequence a few times where Wanda visits him to reclaim Vision's body... I really feel like he was egging her on to try to "jump start" Vision. But she didn't spring for it there, at least. He said a lot of close-to-cruel things to her, to trigger an emotional response, and then when she flew down there, he told everyone else to leave her alone.... like he was salivating over the thought for her maybe providing the magical ingredient to restore him. I mean, bring him back online. I mean excuse me, back to life.

But she didn't go for it because she realized he was really gone.

It reminds me kind of what Cobb says to Mal at the end of Inception: "...I can't imagine you with all your complexity, all your perfection, all your imperfection. Look at you. You are just a shade of my real wife. You're the best I can do; but I'm sorry, you are just not good enough." We can immerse ourselves in fantasies and recollections of the people we've lost... but it's still not them, even if it's a close simulacrum, even if for awhile it is enough to get us through the rough days.
 

Totenkindly

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‘WandaVision’ Director Pushes Back Against Complaints the Finale Excused Wanda’s Evil Actions

I think they had good intentions, I just don't think they pulled it off as well as they thought they did and it felt more like a "wrist slap" because there are no practical implications we are aware of... and there's no real compensation by Wanda of any kind. "Oh, my bad; I shouldn't have done that," but then there are no seeming ramifications or long-term impacts that we're aware of, and one of the few other protagonists (Monica) is warmly sympathetic. Like, it's just weird -- Wanda acknowledges there is no way she could make it up to them anyway... but then it comes off as a "why bother then" shrug instead of something that continues to eat at her.

Compare to a different film -- Age of Ultron -- where Ultron went to destroy a city and the Avengers did their best to save every civilian in the city. Despite that, Stark was still held personally culpable in Civil War by Zemo because of the loss of his family, due to the fallout. In this case, the Avengers were positioned as well as possible -- they directly tried to save the city, and they were indirectly culpable (due to Stark's creation of Ultron and arguably the prior warzone damage with Stark weapons, which in fact extremized potential local terrorists, but anyway...)

Fly that against Westview, where none of the civilians had done anything wrong and Wanda just flew in and subverted them. We totally understand why and what triggered it. But at the end of the series, we're kinda left as some kind of "punishment" that Wanda is now hated by the Westview citizens, but they have no power to challenge her, no probable impact on her future, and no compensation they can expect for their suffering.

Also, Wanda is portrayed as a hero in overcoming her own grief (and we're totally in her head for the series) and very sympathetic through episode 8... and the series just really doesn't seem to care about anyone else. But it also had a few instances before the finale where we realized the townsfolk were in horrible psychological pain from her mind-control, to the degree even in the finale they were like "Let us die, if you can't free us." Pretty horrible stuff. So what? They give Wanda the stink-eye, and that's where we leave it, and we're supposed to feel good about Wanda's heroism... especially after she immediately starts investigating the Darkhold?

The show honestly feels like it has glossed over what happened to Westview and even made a strong case as to why Wanda should be locked up or viewed as a threat. Yet Hayward is portrayed almost as a caricature villain, being led off for his crimes against Wanda in the goofiest way... yet the show supports his view, ultimately!

I dunno, this is the kind of thing that bums me out -- they were so on the mark for much of the series through the penultimate episode, then seemed to really miss the mark in the finale, and it mars my views of Wanda and also the heroic way she fought through her grief stages earlier. It's weird because the showrunner wrote the finale, but it almost feels like it belongs in a different story. (although to be honest, the showrunner only actually wrote two episodes: the first one and the finale. So... maybe the writer quality was better on the others. All the writers contribute to the discussions, so it's clear they wanted something different, but the writing itself just seemed more banal in the finale.)

Maybe Westview will be dealt with later in Phase 4. I hope so. Because otherwise this is a real wash.
 
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