In 2019, Martin Scorsese described the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies in a way that the ending of “WandaVision” turned out to be true. “The closest I can think of to them, as well done as they are, with actors doing the best they can under the circumstances, is theme parks,” the filmmaker told Empire. “It is not the cinema of human beings trying to transmit emotional and psychological experiences to another human being.”
In the end, “WandaVision” proved that much of Scorsese’s summary was true, but not all. About 30 of the 50 minutes of the final was one of those rides. This fun happened with the star witches throwing energy balls at each other while floating in the sky. Nosy neighbor Agnes, revealed as sorceress Agatha Harkness (Kathryn Hahn), drops her glamor to face off against Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) while Wanda’s Vision (Paul Bettany) takes on her resurrected Tin Man twin as a weapon of the government. .
Cars go through houses; the heroes are crushed by the asphalt. A super-powerful new Monica Rambeau (Teyonah Parris) defeated a possessed mystery man posing as Wanda’s brother Pietro, but who turns out to be an anonymous guy whose last name sounds like “boner.” And, spoiler alert, Wanda prevails losing everything. He created a sitcom version of Westview, and his more loving version of Vision, to escape his pain. The only way it could end was painfully, not the kind that physically hurts or makes you bleed. The kind that rips your heart out.
It does not matter. Being an MCU creation, everything finally comes to blows. . . and explosions, screams and flames. Amusement park thrills, as the man said, and not a particularly fast-paced version of that.
However, once the fight is over, the ending challenges Scorsese’s assumptions about superhero titles and returns to the attributes that make “WandaVision” such a marvel. To save the people of Westview, she puts an end to her perfect little world and locks Agatha in her supporting role of “nosy neighbor” as Agnes. And in her last heartbreaking moments with Visoin, Wanda goes out of her way to convey the emotional and psychological experience of her humanity to the synthetic being she loves.
“Wanda, I know we can’t stay like this,” Vision says quietly as his disappearance approaches. “Before I go, I feel like I should know: What am I?”
“You, Vision, are the piece of the Mind Stone that lives in me. You are a body of wires, blood and bone that I created,” he says. “You are my sadness and my hope. But above all, you are my love.”
He sheds a tear, kisses her hand and observes: “I have been a voice without a body. A body, but not human. And now, a memory come true. Who knows what it could be now? Goodbye before, so It is logical – “
She finishes, “- we’ll say hello again.”
This was not a simplistic roller coaster dialogue. This was the magic of a romantic movie as defined by Scorsese in a later article he published in the New York Times. If, as he puts it, cinema expresses “the complexity of people and their contradictory and sometimes paradoxical natures, the way they can hurt and love each other and suddenly come face to face with themselves”, then “WandaVision” is the first MCU. title that meets Scorsese’s qualification.
And the only way I could do it was like a TV series.
“WandaVision” should not be dismissed for stepping away from the canvas of standard gender violence to work through her feelings creatively, not to mention in a way that embodies who Wanda is and, not only that, who Vision is and who has always been Monica Rambeau. been in the heart.
It is true that Wanda’s excursion has the miserable effect of torturing a town full of innocent bystanders, leaving us feeling that their desperation has done lasting damage to their minds and reputations. None of the more interesting supers are fully upright all the time. Comic book fans understand this, as do people who love daytime and prime-time soap operas.
That’s why Marvel put the Wanda Maximoff story on television, a medium whose larger networks have historically skewed women, certainly on ABC for most of recent history. Presumably Disney, a brand built on princesses and brides, has done it forever.
Since “WandaVision” is a bridge between Disney + and theaters, and between television and movies, why not build that bridge with the story of a woman who is also a witch, wife and mother, and whose only job is keep the world? running and happy and stable? The best television versions of superhero stories have been about women, after all. This was true for “Wonder Woman” and definitely for “Agent Carter.” Even “Legends of Tomorrow” became a necessary visualization once the woman took over as leader of that team.
This woman simply asks us to step away from the roller coaster of deadly lasers and fist fights, allowing us to better appreciate the beautiful heartbreak in thoughts like, “What is pain, if not persevering love?”
Bettany spoke that line with all the contemplative sweetness it deserved and in a calm environment, free from threats or even loud noises.
“WandaVision” released dozens of think tanks because there are countless ways to think about it. But its ending proves that someone at Marvel took seriously what the great filmmaker said.
The frustrating part for moviegoers may be that the result was a beautiful thought-provoking TV series rather than an eye-opening but concise superhero movie. But all the artistic dimensions that the filmmaker appreciates boil down to a single concept, intimacy, that no franchise action movie can channel in depth.
Television can. Therefore, “WandaVision” performed best when the battles were psychological and emotional rather than relying on a brutal conflict approach with many visual effects. This is also why such a story could only star a woman who does not have superhuman strength, exceptional fighting skills, or bulletproof skin, and who was not quite a hero or villain. Wanda is simply a person paralyzed by pain.
Whether that benefits or harms the series depends on what you expect from a Marvel, DC, or any other comic book label.
Common complaints among people who dislike “WandaVision” are often due to the lack of fight scenes. My husband, who only saw it because he did not want to miss any narrative thread that carries over to future films, dismissed it as a soap opera.
But all comic book hero stories are soap operas. What are soap operas if not stories informed by loss, psychological trauma, despair, amorous torture and revenge? If you mourned Iron Man’s death at the end of “Avengers: Endgame” it’s probably because the MCU spent nine roles building Tony Stark’s emotional profile, including three “Iron Man” movies, building the most basic bones of a relationship. romantic between Stark. and Pepper Potts on the way.
His great love has been threatened, kidnapped, seemed to die and was reborn. Sorry to burst your bubble folks, but that’s premium foam material.
And on TV, by using funny visuals and gutting dialogue instead of putting savagery front and center, it gives us a sense of that human complexity and paradoxical nature that Scorsese was talking about. In its stillness, the show provided us with a backstory about these two people as it brought us face to face with a part of ourselves.
Sadly, there will be no “WandaVision” sequel, only the following chapters of the stories born there and made within the plot of another character, specifically “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” and the upcoming Spider-Man movie, each. with the guarantee of being full. dazzling visuals and digital destruction.
Just as unfortunate, at least from a filmmaker’s perspective, this means that neither she nor any other Marvel series to follow – the next one will be “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” – will likely influence their related theatrical releases to point to the level. psychological or emotional complexity that Olsen, Bettany and Parris bring to their performances here. Instead, they will further blur the line between television and movies, between the need for streaming services and the uniqueness of the theatrical experience.
If we’re lucky, we’ll have more shows like “WandaVision” in the deal, stories that mingle with that emotional danger that Scorsese greets rather than developing new ways to show incredibly muscular beings breaking each other’s bones. Stories of the heart and heartache are embedded in our memories more permanently than a thousand artificial fireballs and outbursts of rage, and we could use many more.
Television and comics share something else that theme parks don’t, which is the notion that successful narratives can end, but the stories that give birth to them aren’t completely dead. Therefore, the end of “WandaVision” might not be a firm goodbye to all that he strove to achieve. Maybe it’s just a melancholy “See you later, darling.”
All episodes of “WandaVision” air on Disney +.