[Marvel Thread] Let's talk some Marvel! [Possible spoilers]

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous' started by DaybreakerMC, Feb 1, 2021.

  1. Hello! Hello!

    After having a ton of fun talking about season 2 of The Mandalorian over on Tuqueque's "Let's talk some Star Wars!" thread, I thought EMC could use a thread for Marvel (especially considering the amount of content they have coming for us). I'm sure there's been a Marvel thread in the past, but if you haven't noticed, it's probably very dead and I don't care to revive it. So, a new thread it is!

    Feel free to discuss the MCU movies and shows, Marvel comics, Marvel games, and other Marvel content here. However, please be mindful of spoilers and keep them in a spoiler bracket like this:
    hi im a spoiler

    About my history with Marvel... I grew up on the MCU movies as it was a dawning universe. I remember the excitement of seeing the first Avengers movie in theatres, and all the fun and craziness that followed. Throughout my childhood I collected some Marvel comics, graphic novels, Funko Pop! figures, and even attended San Diego Comic Con. However, some may also know that I am a film critic. As I've learned more about the art of film, I've grown to agree with the take Scorsese made back in his 2019 New York Times op-ed. It's a brilliant piece that I highly encourage all to read (and I linked it in the prior sentence).

    So, what does that mean? It means I have fun with superhero movies, and I enjoy the entertainment, but they rarely transcend that bar and become something exceptional. That's just my opinion though. I just thought I should make that clear since, when talking about certain things, I will sound like a snob.

    Anyway, discuss!
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  2. I'm loving WandaVision, anyone else here waiting for Friday's new episode?
    DaybreakerMC likes this.
  3. I'm also waiting for the next episode! I can't say I love it so far, but there's still a good lot of episodes to change that for me. Actually, I might as well start typing out my full thoughts on Ep1-4 while we all wait for the fifth episode to drop
    607 and Spiritress like this.
  4. Marvel movies are very close to my heart.

    I grew up watching Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man movies, and my dad always bought me kid’s Spider-Man comics when he took me to the comic book shop when he was buying his own Marvel comics. He collected the entirety of Marvel Zombies, the Civil War comics, a bunch of Thanos stuff, and his favourite series was Planet Hulk (I’ve got them all in a box in the loft). He’d been into Marvel comics since he was a kid.

    When Iron Man came out on DVD in 2008, he was the one who bought it and let me watch it for Christmas that year. I was hooked. Eventually it’s 2012 and my entire family - even my mum - is sat in the living room watching The Avengers. Every year it was an event for us to go watch the latest Marvel movie in the cinema. The last big movie (the actual last movie was Toy Story 4 lol) I ever got to watch with my dad was Endgame, the night it came out in the UK. In fact, the day before he suffered the stroke that killed him, he’d ordered Endgame on blu-ray; I came home from the hospital one night (before I started staying at the hotel accommodation with my mum for his final days) and it had been posted through my letter box. We watched it in his honour a few days after he passed.

    The eulogy me and my mum wrote for him was littered with jokes about Iron Man, Hulk, Captain America, and Deadpool. He’s even buried in his socks with the Hulk on them lol.

    I’ve got him to thank for turning me into a nerd and Marvel (+ Dragon Ball) was a big part in that. Now I’m reading the latest run of Venom comics when I should reeallllyyyy be getting on with my university essays...
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  5. I'm not interested in this fictional universe at all, but I hope you find some people to discuss it with. :D I do enjoy seeing threads like this on EMC. I wonder if there are any fans of Disney comics here. ;) (Scrooge McDuck, Mickey Mouse etc)
    DaybreakerMC likes this.
  6. Aaaaaaaaalright! It's time to dive into the first four episode of WandaVision. My thoughts have been put in spoilers as always. Even if there aren't many plot details within my thoughts (idk I haven't written them yet), it's always best to go in blind. So watch the show, or don't, that's up to you, but here's what I've taken away so far:

    WandaVision launched with a double episode drop. After watching the first two episodes, I could see why. I found both of these episodes to be incredibly dull. The show is trying to recreate a 50s sitcom in these few episodes, which I think is where they overlook an important factor. In the 1950s, sitcoms didn't try to be "50s sitcoms." They just tried to be successful sitcoms. With WandaVision, it feels like the first two episodes put more effort into emulating a retro sitcom than they do trying to be successful. The plots are extremely simplistic, even for a sub-25min episodic comedy show, and almost every joke falls flat (for me at least). Actually, there was one joke about Bolsheviks that cracked me up.

    However, there are things I did like (what really?). I don't think this is mind-blowing by any means, but I appreciated the methodical camera style in these episodes. For the vast majority of the scenes, the camera was still and diagetic, never zooming in, only tracking. This helps to recreate the camera style of sitcoms, as their studio sets are normally very limiting on camera range. Although, when something out of place happened (like Mr. Hart choking), the camera became non-diagetic. It moved and zoomed. I think this was a great way of emphasizing that something is off. Right away, whether the audiences realize it or not, there's an unusual feeling as soon as the camera becomes non-diagetic. Like I said before, not mind-blowing, but it was something I really liked.

    I also appreciated how held back the show was. I don't think it gave away too much in these first two episodes, with just one or two odd moments here and there. The restraint I appreciate in these two episodes will not carry over well as we get into some later moments in the show. Even with that though, I didn't feel drawn into the show after these two episodes. I think the showrunners put an overreliance on the 50s sitcom feel and whacky moments carrying these first two episodes, but in turn didn't make them interesting otherwise.


    I think I have the least to write on the third episode as it's easily the best so far (in my opinion). Unlike the first two episodes, I think a good amount of the jokes landed in this episode. I also felt like the plot, while still simple, was enough to carry the episode. I think the show's version of Wanda and Vision's relationship is displayed best here as well. Not only that, but I thought the whacky turn of the episode was intriguing. I like how Monica mentioning Ultron brought back Wanda's memories of Pietro. You could really feel her pain in that moment. I hope the show continues to dive deeper into the trauma Wanda's been through, as it could cement her as one of the MCU's best characters (not that trauma makes a character good, but when executed right, it can make a character feel deeper and better developed, e.g. Thor post-Ragnarok).

    So yeah, I like episode 3. It's that balance that the first two episodes needed, and I hope the show continues to explore the Westview side of things in the same style.

    I'll make a separate post for my thoughts on the fourth episode because oh boy.

    Ratings:
    Episode 1: 5/10
    Episode 2: 5/10
    Episode 3: 7/10
  7. Here we go...

    I'll be blunt; I don't like this episode. I think it's the worst episode so far, and I hope the show never falls below that bar. I think this episode just offers a plethora of issues, so I'll start with what I liked.

    The start. Yeah, that's pretty much it. Jokes aside, I quite enjoyed the start. It was fascinating to see another perspective on the Uno reserve card snap that brought everyone back. The chaos as people just appeared, and the sheer shock of the realization the snapped people got when they realize how much time had passed. I also really enjoyed how the show focused on Monica. I think her character is one of the best things to come from the show so far, and I can't wait to see where they take her. I really wish more of the episode included Monica. Unfortunately, as we know from the prior episodes, she had to enter Westview. Then we get Darcy and Jimmy Woo.

    Before I get into all that I didn't like, I should mention that I really like Randall Park as Jimmy Woo. Dude is hilarious. That said, I'm not huge on Darcy. I kind of forgot about her after the MCU also forgot about her, but I guess it's nice to see she still exists at least. I think Darcy represents a greater issue with the episode though: the screenwriting. It's some of the weakest writing I've seen so far in the MCU. In Darcy's case, the script gives her so many jokes that just blatantly fall flat. Or consider Jimmy Woo, whose jokes are probably saved by Randall Park's delivery, yet still feel off because of the contrasting tones clashing in an incoherent way. On one hand you have a missing person case, people being kidnapped, an agent being sent in to die, and the MCU's most powerful superhero having a breakdown. On the other hand, you have jokes about coffee, TVs, people laughing at the sitcom. These two tones could flow together well. We saw Taika Waititi do this in Thor: Ragnarok, or James Gunn in both of the Guardians of the Galaxy movies. Although, in the case of WandaVision episode 4, it's just not executed right. These tones violently clash in an unpleasing way. Even the first three episodes could get it right. This is just the tip of the iceberg with the screenwriting issues.

    Let's talk about exposition. For 10 years the MCU put out super formulaic movies. Hero has origin story or new conflict, bad guy wants to rule/destroy the world/universe, hero fights bad guy in big epic fight, the end. Audiences love it, just look at the box office. For the first time ever, the MCU is putting all of its weight on a different style of media, which means a different formula, and they are holding our hands through it. Literally, I saw on Twitter the showrunner apparently acknowledged that the show was slow... what? Then after this episode we got two or three new trailers/sneak peaks. It's really irritating. This is how shows work. They develop over time. Slow? Really? If anything, WandaVision is moving wayyyyy too quickly. I'm just shocked by how the showrunners really don't think we can sit through nine 30min episodes. I'm even more shocked by the fact that some people are actually complaining about it being too slow.

    Anyway, this episode is littered with exposition. That's basically the whole episode. It's the "oh the first three episodes intrigued you but you're too impatient to wait for answers to unfold naturally? Okay don't worry we'll hand them all to you on a silver platter." Only the platter is actually made of plastic with cheap silver paint. The second Darcy arrives at the camp, there's an agent looking over her shoulder that way she has someone to explain every single thing to. Every single thing, I swear, every single thing is explained to the audience through some confused extra. There are barely any lines in this episode that aren't either exposition or a crappy joke. I found it really really hard to watch. And yes, of course it's cool to get answers, but I don't see why we needed them all now, or presented in this way. The first two episodes gave us very little (which isn't a bad thing), the third gave us a bit more, and the fourth just drowned us. Furthermore, most of what we were told is stuff we could piece together already. Wanda's doing it? Yeah, no kidding eh? I think this episode just assumes audiences are too stupid to figure stuff out for themselves, or too impatient to watch a TV show the way TV shows have always been watched.

    BUT THAT'S STILL NOT THE END OF MY ISSUES. SPEAKING OF "THE END," WE GET A GRAND REVEAL AT THE END OF THE EPISODE.

    So we're in Westview again, seeing things from a non-diagetic perspective (i.e. not Wanda's sitcom reality, Wanda's actual reality). Vision walks into the house. The camera is still focused on Wanda, who is centre-left frame. Vision, out of focus, is more grey than usual. There's something off. A spot on his head is darker. It's haunting us, and it's haunting Wanda. She doesn't even need to look at Vision for us to know it hurts her.

    CUT TO CREDITS

    lol just kidding it's Marvel we're talking about...

    CUT TO CLOSE UP OF A DEAD VISION

    More than any other gripe I have with the episode, this got to me. They had what could've been a perfect ending to the episode. The camera was focused on Wanda. After all, it's her show, her reality, her trauma, her story. That entire moment is about Wanda. There's no reason why she shouldn't be the focus of the shot. In the background you saw something was off with Vision. I picked up on it immediately. I went "hey he's desaturated, and it looks like he... OHH... OMG... IT'S HIS CORPSE!" For a good few second, I was astonished. It was that "hidden in plain sight" technique that so many good horror directors use. It reminded me of The Babadook, or even some of Hitchcock's work (sorry Alfred). That shot was all we needed. We could tell what was up and we could tell how it made Wanda feel. I guess not though, because they had to do this dramatic close up of Vision. As if audiences couldn't tell. As if we needed it super plain and clear as day. It no longer felt horrifying to me at least. There was no "what if" about it. It's like if Ridley Scott opened Alien with the Xenomorph in plain daylight. Yes, eventually it will be shown clearly, but why did we need that shot clarified so early on? Below I've attached the picture of the shot I love. Think to yourself, and be honest, how would you feel if they cut to credits right after this shot? No clarification, dramatic cuts, or focused shots. Just that ominous thought of "is she using Vision's corpse as a puppet?" in the background.


    Sometimes subtlety is the key to effectiveness.

    Rating:
    Episode 4: 4/10 (and that's generous)

    I should add that, despite being disappointed so far, I am looking excited to see what's to come. I still think there's a lot of room to make an amazing second half of the season, especially with how much potential they have at their disposal. I just hope they can make it happen. I'll continue to go into every episode with an open mind (and yes, I've been avoiding all teasers/trailers/sneak peaks).
    607 likes this.
  8. Ok so first just my overall ranking in terms of the episodes:
    5
    3
    2
    1
    4

    Now my thoughts on the current episode
    I thought it was great. But I’ll be honest and say I wasn’t a fan at first. It was slow and despite vision slowly becoming aware of what’s going on at the beginning I wasn’t a fan.

    But it starts to pick up especially when the Twins age up, which I found weird and slightly funny, and Agnus just doesn’t notice. No way she isn’t involved in this. I wasn’t thrown off by the split perspectives at first but after this episode I do like it and hope that the rest of the episodes share this

    Once Vision goes into his office I have nothing but good stuff to say about this episode. Vision being able to fix the memory of his co-worker, which I presume is because of Wanda and Vision both having exposure to the mind stone, was surprising and the jokes kind of landed with me.

    Now once the drone goes in and Wanda finally confronts the SWORD agents, I found, well off putting and confused me because then what happens to the town if she is the one in control. The little hints from the kids about Vision and bringing him back from the dead, and Agnes starting to tear up was great.

    Now the ending. Vision finally confronting Wanda after talking with Norm was definitely the best part of the episode. The way Wanda makes the credits role proving she’s in charge and Vision finally snapping and confronting Wanda about before and his death was... amazing. And of course QUICKSILVER. But from the X-Men. Of course I loved it but it raises the question, how? Of course now the X-men are part of the MCU but still idk how he got into west view. Maybe something to do with an Astro physicist mentioned before my Rambeau.

    TLDR: Great episode, best so far. Love the small hints that vision picks up and his confrontation. And of course X Men quicksilver
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  9. If you read by thoughts on the previous episode, you'll know I was not a fan. That sort of lowered my expectations going into this episode, but I still had hope it would pull through and deliver something great. Well, I'm glad to say I genuinely enjoyed the fifth episode of WandaVision!

    Immediately, the aspect ratio just whacked me across the head. I'm used to seeing things in 4:3, 21:9, and more recently even 2:1. Although seeing that 16:9 aspect ratio in a film/TV presentation is just... horrific. I think I know why I don't like sitcoms now. That's not a flaw of WandaVision or anything, don't get this criticism wrong. This is a flaw of the 80s and every other time that aspect ratio was used unironically. By using that aspect ratio, WandaVision accurately captured the feel (but really pls no more shows in modern setting use it ever).

    I have to say, Paul Bettany's performance in this episode might be the best he's ever given in the MCU. Maybe with the exception of his final scene in Infinity War. It really felt like he put a lot into his lines. In a way, Vision has never felt as human or independent on screen. The same goes for Elizabeth Olsen, although I think her return to a Sokovian accent was a little bit rough.

    I also loved the tension in this episode. Between Wanda and Vision at the forefront, but also Wanda and SWORD, Hayward and Rambeau, Wanda and Agnes, and just everyone with the situation they're in. You can feel the uncertainty in characters, and it's really amplified when Vision frees Norm for a split second. This episode implements those surreal moments really well.

    Even the plot of this episode works well. It's still not insanely deep or anything, but it makes the first three episodes look like the first draft of a C-tier soap opera. I think moments in this episode, especially when the dog (unfortunately) dies, amplify some of the deeper themes the show has been trying to invoke. Most prominently, the grief that follows after the loss of something you love. It's a pain Wanda knows all too well, and what has most likely driven her to the state she's currently in. She tells her twins that you can't bring dead things back, all while desperately clinging onto the dead things she's lost. To me that shows that, even in Wanda's hypocrisy, she still cares for the things she loves and understands the mistakes she's made.

    I mean it's really a crazy leap. Last week the show was so infuriating to watch, but this week they had their best episode yet. My only real problem with this episode is some of the writing, but if I held every Marvel movie to a standard of "good writing," not many would pass. So, I'm kind of fine just looking past it. I enjoyed what we got, and I hope the rest of the episodes are just as good.

    So, what I didn't mention in my thoughts on Ep5 was that Quicksilver showed up at the end. IT didn't really affect the story of the episode, so I didn't really find a place to put it in. I think I should mention a few theories I have though. Just simple ones, and I won't go into much detail. Generally, while I do like to be curious and wonder where stuff if going next, I more often just like to leave the story to the showrunners. Overtheorizing almost always leads to disappointment (I mean just look at The Last Jedi discourse). So here are my three very simple theories:
    1. Quicksilver (the Fox version) will lead Wanda to realize there's a multiverse out there. That multiverse opens the possibility for her loved ones to still be alive. So, she'll go searching. Kind of a rip-off of Kingpin's motives from Into the Spider-Verse, but oh well. Anyway, that'll tie into Doctor Strange 2 in some way.

    2. Agnes is bad. Yeah, I've thought so since the first episode. I kind of hope not since I'd love for the show to just be about Wanda, but she gives off "really obvious surprise villain" vibes. One of my friends pointed out that Norm never mentioned Wanda by name, and just said "she/her" or something. So... is Agnes doing it? I really hope this is wrong, but Marvel loves their formulas.

    3. Vision is actually dead. I mean, obviously right? Moreso, the Vision we see is actually Wanda's subconscious. Seeing Vision understand and fight back against the Westview reality is like seeing white blood cells fight back against unknown invader cells or whatevs idk biology stuff. Anyway, I think this would be a really cool psychological dive into the mind of Wanda. Plus, it would open up for a Wanda vs Vision fight at the end (which Marvel loves their big epic flashy fights) while also preserving a Wanda-focused story.

    Anyway, what are your theories?

    Rating:
    Episode 5: 8/10
  10. Well, I guess we're back to our regularly scheduled program. After the fifth episode left me impressed, I was quite looking forward to this episode. I can't say I was as pleased by this episode, although don't get me wrong, I didn't hate it. This episode was pretty average for me. It's about the quality I've come to expect from the MCU. Not terrible, but not exceptional.

    My biggest issue with this episode is easily the messy tone. It's something I worried about after the fourth episode. You have this serious SWORD investigation trying to figure out what's going on with an emotionally damaged superhero, all while seeing into the comedic sitcom reality of Westview. Throw in a few out of place jokes about "recasting" characters and ta-da, a tonal mess. So when last episode started cutting between Westview and SWORD I got quite worried that clash would be very apparent. Thankfully, I didn't think it was. I thought the 80s style sitcom really merged well with that surreal element of Westview. Unfortunately, I don't think this 2000s style sitcom worked well at all.

    Maybe I just don't like 2000s sitcoms, but characters staring at the camera and giving narration totally caught me off guard in all the worst ways. I think it might have been fine if they stayed consistent, but the 2000s sitcom style seems to be dropped halfway through the episode. It's quite the tonally incoherent episode. Although I did end up enjoying the second half much more than the first.

    Let's talk about Quicksilver. Seeing Evan Peters at the end of last episode left me curious, but all this episode really told me was that he's just Pietro with a different face. He has all the same memories and experiences as Aaron Taylor-Johnson's Quicksilver. That makes me wonder, if he's the same Pietro, why get Peters instead of Johnson? I feel like there was so much emotional potential missed by bringing in Peters. To the audience, and to Wanda (in a way), these two characters have never met each other before. That makes their reunion, and especially the moments where they reconnect and reminisce about their past, feel underdeveloped. I think giving Wanda the chance to talk to her brother again could've been so powerful. I have to assume they plan on doing more with Peters's Quicksilver.

    It fits that the Halloween episode has the scarier elements. Vision ventures to the edge of Westview where people either moving extremely slow, or not at all. Makes me wonder what's up with Agnes. After all, she could talk before Vision set her free. I'm really struggling to make takeaways from this episode though. I found everything to be quite simple. Vision walks to the edge and almost escapes. Wanda spends Halloween with her brother (that seems to know what's going on). Monica, Jimmy, and Darcy all learn that Hayward is up to something. I can't find any complexities in this episode like I could with last episode. It's just simple, and that's fine.

    I think it was really cool how Wanda expanded the Westview reality at the end of the episode. It once again shows her power. Although, I'm not going to pretend to be mind-blown by the fact that a TV show ended with a cliffhanger. It's really par for the course, and I'm surprised it took them this long to really end on a cliffhanger like that. I will say though, this episode really got me excited for next week. I'd like to learn more, and this next episode seems like it will have a lot to address (between Vision's discovery, Darcy in Westview, the Westview expansion, and whoever Monica's engineer is). So, yeah, episode six is fine.

    Rating:
    Episode 6: 6/10
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  11. Got a bit busy but it's finally time to talk about...
    It's fine. More than anything, this episode showed me that WandaVision wasn't going to go against the Marvel formula. It's a little disappointing, but nothing I wasn't prepared to see.

    The seventh episode has to be one of the funniest episodes so far, even though (to me) many jokes fell flat. Even with the jokes, this episode really felt bare. The last two episodes had this momentum behind them that kept the show moving forward after the integration of SWORD. Unfortunately, this episode seems to lose that momentum. In fact, I found the greater half of this episode to be quite dull.

    Let's talk about the two biggest talking points. First of all, the engineer. I watch Twitter go crazy with theories of who the engineer would be. Could it be Reed Richards? If so, who's playing him? Maybe Doctor Doom? What if it's Bill Foster? In my thoughts on the fifth episode I said "Overtheorizing almost always leads to disappointment." Surely enough, once the engineer didn't turn out to be any significant character (that we know of), people seemed disappointed (Actually, the disappointment of fans was trending on Twitter). Either way, there was no reason given in the show to assume the engineer would be anyone huge, and I'm glad they just let the show be the show.

    Now let's talk about Agatha. I don't think surprised anyone to see that Agnes is evil. If anything, Agnes being evil was supposed to be too obvious to be true. I guess not. It's not bad by any means. Agnes was sprinkled into every episode, giving her a relevant enough character to be evil. I also think the little jingle she does at the end of the episode was fun enough to make up for how predictable it was. My main gripe just comes with why the show needed a villain in the first place. I thought the show was doing an excellent job with Wanda's character and the effect the events of her life have had on her. We were getting a dive into the mind of a character that's been through so much, now finally being pushed to the edge. It could've an amazing psychological character study, with Monica showing up to be the hero that helps Wanda out and never loses faith in her. As much as I knew Agnes would be a villain, I just hoped they couldn't pull such a cheap cop out.

    So, yeah, the episode is fine. The greater half lacks momentum, the jokes are hit or miss, the obvious villain was a villain, and WandaVision is a Marvel project. Like I said, it's not a bad thing, it's just not all it could've been. I'll probably write more about this when I give my final thoughts on the show. Until then, I'm still curious to hear what everyone else thought of the episode. Feel free to reply to this thread with your thoughts. Surely I can't be the only one watching the biggest show in the world XD

    Rating:
    Episode 7: 6/10
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  12. Probably time I wrote about the 8th episode...
    In this episode of WandaVision we learn all about Wanda's past and the events leading up to the Westview situation. I found this episode to show off WandaVision at both its best and its worst.

    The episode begins with a flashback to 1693 Salem, Massachusetts to show us the origin of Agatha Harkness. This was immediately an issue for me. Through this origin flashback, the show places the presence of witches in Salem. It might seem insignificant to the average viewer, but this is a problematic approach to a real life tragedy. Of all the things to romanticize, the Salem Witch Trials was an extremely insensitive choice. Just because it was centuries ago does not mean we should be desensitized to the horrific things that happened in Salem. I've visited Salem before. I've heard the stories and seen the gravesites. So, when a major studio presents a story that says "there were witches in Salem," it devalues the victims who were executed and empowers the hateful men who incited the trials. I'm sure there wasn't malicious intent when writing WandaVision, but this just marks a greater issue in how crowd-pleasing blockbusters tackle history.

    I haven't watched a lot of TV shows. My expertise is in film. So, I don't know if this is a common practice, but I find stuffing an entire episode with flashbacks to be a lazy method of storytelling. It's similar to the issue I had with the fourth episode. It comes off as a chunk of story that the screenwriters couldn't find a way to fit into the greater story. Not that the scenes are bad at all. In fact, I think some of these flashbacks are some of Marvel's best scenes. It's just not smooth. It feels as though the story just up and went on a coffee break, which doesn't help after the seventh episode slowed the momentum down. Nonetheless, it was really nice to see Wanda get more character development. While some of it was predictable (like the reason for WV's sitcom feel), it was great to see it explored more.

    Now, I can't say I'm big on Agatha's role in this episode. She kind of just served as a "memory taxi," driving Wanda around her past. It's another technique that seems sort of cheap. Rather than organically interweave these flashbacks into the story, Marvel has opted to have their villain be a docent. Agatha even had a villain monologue at the start of the episode and I'm not sure what her motives are. Plus, now we have a Vision clone to worry about?

    Problems aside, I'm looking forward to see how WandaVision concludes. I think Wanda is a great character, and while the show can be quite messy, I'm glad she's got her chance to shine in the MCU. Marvel will be Marvel though...

    Rating:
    Episode 8: idk i'm thinking about it, come back next week
  13. I don't have a ton to say about this episode. Mostly because I'll be saving my conclusive thoughts for my WandaVision series review. Although this episode did kind of disappoint me. Not because "oH mY fAn tHeOriEs dIdn'T cOMe tRuE!" Honestly, I found the Ralph Bohner joke hilarious (it's his name in the show don't yell at me). This episode disappointed me because it's just so Marvel. They have a good concept on their hands but instead of taking risks and exploring it, they just play it safe.

    Something specific to this episode that I will talk about is Anti-Vision, or clone Vision, or whatever you want to call him. Anti-Vision literally added NOTHING to the show. They threw him into the final episode so that Vision could have something to fight. I guess it sort of made Hayward look bad (once again -> playing it safe). Point is, after he talks to Vision, he just up and disappears. Why's this? THE ENTIRE PURPOSE OF ANTI-VISION WAS TO FIND A LOOPHOLE TO BRING VISION BACK TO LIFE. Seriously, no one stays dead in this universe. I'm not rooting for death, but I feel like all the value of Infinity War is now gone. Vision is alive again, 2013 Gamora is out there somewhere, 2012 Loki is out there somewhere. Black Widow really feels like the only consequence after 13 years of Marvel content. Even SWORD is just a way to bring back SHIELD without undoing The Winter Soldier.

    Anyway, that's my rant. I'll be working on my full review on WandaVision soon. Odds are things might be redundant. It's for Letterboxd, which I didn't do episodic reviews for, so I'll end up repeating some of the points I made on this thread.

    Also... Ralph Bohner

    Rating:
    Episode 9: 5/10
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  14. Episode 5 was my favorite too, closely followed by 4. I have not watched past the Halloween one yet (6).

    Thoughts on what I've seen so far: It was a neato clever idea and presentation, but honestly, I was mostly bored. My son and husband really liked it. I felt like it was dragged out. Episodes 1-4 should have been only 1 or maybe 2 episodes long. I thought 6 started dragging yet again. The actors were all great. No complaints there. The pace of the plot was just way too slow for me. Too much time spent on clever hinty foreshadowing stuff, and not enough time spent on the plot coming together and moving forward. There's building suspense, and then there's "Oh, was something going to happen? Sorry, I dozed off."
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  15. I'm a week behind, but I've finally written it. To be honest, it's been so long since I've just sat down and wrote an in-depth review. I don't know why but I just haven't had the motivation to write reviews for much lately. Although, I made sure I got this one out and oh boy did it feel good to write a review again!

    The vision is destroyed once more. WandaVision presents a shift of focus to the world of streaming for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The show follows Wanda Maximoff on her journey to overcome grief, all wrapped up in an ode to the decades of sitcoms. It’s clear that a lot of passion went into the creation of WandaVision, which is what makes the final product that much more unfortunate. Ultimately, WandaVision sets aside any strive for creativity in an attempt to fit the classic MCU formula.

    I found WandaVision to be a very mixed product. Every week a new episode would leave me feeling different about the show. Whether it impressed or disappointed, I knew it would be hard to see the series as consistent by the end. In this review, I will break down my three biggest takeaways from WandaVision.

    The Mess
    In Marvel’s first feature miniseries they provide a messy translation of their film-based formula.

    WandaVision feels as though multiple different ideas are clashing. The primary concept for the show is an exploration of grief through the eyes of Wanda. After losing her family, the death of Vision breaks Wanda, leading her to create a pocket reality out of emotional anguish. This pocket reality resembles the class American sitcoms that Wanda and her brother would watch with their parents. This concept is compelling and well enough to carry the show. However, the corporate controllers of creativity at Marvel’s board must ensure that all MCU properties follow their tried and true formula. The formula dumbs down storytelling to average-at-best quality in the goals of avoiding audience alienation and appealing to all moviegoers. Only, WandaVision is not a movie, and the formula is not yet perfected for miniseries.

    Rather than playing as a coherent miniseries, WandaVision presents itself as a generic MCU film chopped up and spread out. It almost seems as if Marvel took no notes from the success of Netflix’s Marvel miniseries. Of course, it would be too much to ask for Marvel to do away with their formula. Rather, audiences must wait for the MCU to become more experienced in miniseries, only then will the formula fit the TV show format in a clean fashion.

    So, what damage is done by this flawed adaption of the formula? The issues can first and foremost be seen in the fourth episode of the show. The story comes to a halt as all scenes shift outside of Westview to the points of view of S.W.O.R.D. agent Monica Rambeau and astrophysicist Darcy Lewis. The episode begins as The Blip is reversed, which, while it is an intriguing insight into the greater universe, detracts from the contained story of Wanda’s character. The jarring shift in tone comes when Monica enters The Hex and Darcy takes over as the episode’s protagonist. Darcy, while a fan favourite, brings upon a violent crash of tones. The episode quickly turns from a dark look at post-Blip Earth to a buddy cop comedy with writing so weak it feels directly out of Avengers: Age of Ultron. As if that wasn’t bad enough, the entire episode serves as exposition. This weak spot could’ve easily gone without damaging the show too much. Unfortunately, the clashing tones of S.W.O.R.D. and Westview continue until the finale.

    The problems don’t end there. According to the formula, every project in the MCU requires a big bad villain and an epic climactic CGI battle. Despite these elements more than often hurting what could’ve been perfectly good superhero films, Marvel still insists to instill this element into every property. Although, this time they didn’t just bless us with one CGI big bad for our main characters to fight. Oh no, they gave us two. Enter Agatha Harkness, one of Marvel’s most predictable twist villains, and Anti-Vision, whose only purpose was to offer a loophole around killing off the real Vision.

    Blurring the Lines
    Contrary to the concept of the show, Marvel restricts itself from blurring the lines between good and evil.

    Core to the events of WandaVision are Wanda’s severe actions. In her anguish, Wanda created this pocket reality, and, in doing so, Wanda took an entire town captive. It is worth noting that, when their mind is freed, citizens of Westview acknowledge the events that have gone on around them, confirming that they are conscious while locked into the role Wanda has imprisoned them in. While it could be argued that the creation of The Hex was out of Wanda’s control, when Wanda realized what she had created and the effects it had on the citizens, she still opted to keep The Hex in place. The bottom line is that Wanda’s grief has driven her to act in unethical ways, and not just in small terms. Wanda commits numerous felonies throughout WandaVision.

    It would almost seem as if the weight of Wanda’s actions was the point of the show. In fact, it’s brilliant in concept. They say the best villains are the ones that believe they’re doing the right thing. It’s an even greater achievement if a storyteller can get the audience to sympathize with the villain. Wanda’s character was so well fleshed out through the show that she’s become one of the better-developed characters in the MCU. It’s just a shame that this brilliant concept was never brought to form.

    A simple glance at Wanda’s actions throughout WandaVision certifies that she has become a villain, and yet Marvel seeks every opportunity to mitigate the audience’s perception of her unethically. To put it bluntly, blurring the lines between good and evil poses too much of a threat to their profits. So, enter two villains that are objectively evil. The hope, one might assume, is to make Wanda look like the hero once more by comparison.

    The first villain is Agatha Harkness, who had been under the guise of Wanda’s nosy neighbour Agnes. During her grand reveal, WandaVision presents a brief retelling of the show’s events from Agatha’s perspective, paired with the jingle “Agatha All Along.” This reveal simply tries to state that Agatha was Agnes all along. However, the reveal seems to purposefully mislead audiences into believing that Agatha was behind most, if not all, of WandaVision’s events, therefore taking the blame away from Wanda. The problem with Agatha Harkness is that she serves to be more of a plot device than an actual character. She removes responsibility from Wanda, serves as a docent for Wanda’s flashbacks, explains MCU witchcraft lore, has a CGI fight, and is put on the shelf for possible springboard projects. Even showrunner Jac Schaeffer said “We didn’t think this series needed a big bad … I mean, the big bad is grief, you know, and that’s the story that we were telling. ”

    The second villain is S.W.O.R.D. Director Tyler Hayward, who heads the Westview containment operation. Hayward is perhaps the laziest avoidance of blurring lines in the entire show. Hayward’s purpose, to investigate and address the Westview situation, would be an expected reaction from government agencies. In the simplest way of saying it, S.W.O.R.D.’s goal is to save the citizens of Westview. However, Wanda is the protagonist of the show (villain or not), and if Hayward and S.W.O.R.D. are working against Wanda that would make them antagonists. God forbid Marvel has an antagonist that isn’t also a terrible person. Easily enough, the writers just made Hayward’s character is a self-centred a-hole. Now audiences won’t have to worry about their antagonist being remotely likable. “Wait, no, that’s not enough,” said one Marvel board member to the other. “Let’s have him try to murder children.”

    The Railing
    In fear of losing the audience’s attention, Marvel holds our hands throughout the run of the series.

    If it wasn’t obvious enough by now, Marvel only sees one thing in the MCU: money. There’s a catch though. The amount of money depends entirely on the scale of the audience. Recently we’ve seen a lot of studios appeasing fanbases in an attempt to draw forgiveness from distraught fans turned away from alienating projects. While this concept seems relatively new to the likes of Star Wars and DC, it is the lifeline of Marvel’s success. Although now Marvel is tasked with a challenge. They know they have a consistent audience with their films, but they have to cross that audience over to a miniseries format. Even scarier, this debut miniseries is “nothing” like anything Marvel’s ever done before.

    This doesn’t so much reflect the show itself, but it definitely reflects the weekly experience watching it. The showrunners took every step possible to make sure the audience was never lost. Whether it was dropping the first two episodes at once, dedicating an entire episode to explaining what’s happening, tweeting that the show’s pacing will pick up, releasing new sneak peeks trailers, or adding mid-credit scenes to episodes, WandaVision did it. Perhaps the weirdest part was when cast member Paul Bettany hyped up a shocking cameo that never came. Similarly, cast member Teyonah Parris hyped up the reveal of a mysterious engineer character. In retrospect, both cast members were joking around with the audience. However, both jokes seemed like an attempt to keep audiences engaged with the unravelling of the story.

    In Conclusion

    WandaVision is not terrible, nor is it groundbreaking. Rather, WandaVision is Marvel’s messy attempt to play it safe while taking risks. It once again presents creative differences between the showrunners and the corporate board. While it’s a shame to see such a compelling concept tarnished by formulaic clichés, it’s nice to see there was at least an effort to explore deeper themes. Unfortunately, I fear Marvel will learn all the wrong lessons from WandaVision.

    Overall rating: 6/10

    You can also read my review on my Letterboxd page: https://letterboxd.com/daybreaker/film/wandavision/
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  16. Sorry for the delay, I was very mixed on The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. So much to the point that I didn't rate or review my first watch. A few days ago I rewatched the entire series in one sitting that way I could properly collect my thoughts. If you're curious what they were, I'll link the review (it's too long to copy/paste). Among other criticisms though, here's kind of my thesis (do they even have theses in reviews idk): "I came to realize that 'The Falcon and the Winter Soldier' is an unrefined calamity of inept politics."

    Anyway, full spoiler review on Letterboxd:
    https://letterboxd.com/daybreaker/film/the-falcon-and-the-winter-soldier/1/

    Rating: A generous 6/10
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  17. I really enjoyed Falcon and the Winter Soldier. I thought it had a nice pace, and more than anything, it was FUN. It was exactly what I wanted from a Marvel show.
    I agree with you that Zemo was a stand out. Again, I agree with you that he didn't actually do much for the plot and that they contradicted the movie a bit on his character, but I felt that was handled simply and well with Falcon's comment on it. I think Zemo was a stand out because the actor knocked it out of the park. Perfect performance. He nailed it.
    I disagree with you on your read of the politics. I think Marvel keeps all that murky very purposefully. They don't want to take on quite that much substance. They needed a sympathetic "enemy" for The Flag Smashers, and one that if things had been done a little differently, would never have ever been an enemy. I thought they contrasted them nicely with Zemo. He's very likeable, but he's also a monster.
    Anyway, I don't want to get too spoilery. I thought the show was a great time, and I had a lot of fun with it. I'm very glad they intend to do a second season too.
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