R E V I E W – S E R I E S
One of the basic principles of plot twists is to introduce two polar entities and reveal them to be one. And the Big Reveal can only be as staggering as the buildup it follows. With subtle clues and plot devices like foreshadowing, the final payoff follows the established logic, perfectly balancing the shock and the rationalisation. Which is why, a categorisation of WandaVision episode 7, blatantly titled “Breaking the Fourth Wall”, makes it exceptionally hard and heavily circumstantial.
With only two episodes remaining, and much of the game still left to be played despite answering what was perhaps the biggest question (many knew the answer to), we can safely expect a supposedly thrilling multi-arc showdown, that also runs a risk to alter the set-up thematically in a bad way. With Marvel showing no remorse for the excruciating runtime, a binge watch to catch up seems very doable and still recommendable. And Disney+ crashing during the premiere this time further solidifies that. Well into the 21st century, we are finally provided with a stylised theme we can relate to – The Office style mockumentary × Modern Family drama — relieving our eyes from a hyper saturated Westview.
The intro perfectly executes the psychoanalytical aspect of the show this time — implying how fatuous a speck Vision’s existence is, as Wanda takes over this bubble reality. Wanda’s rants at the beginning extend that aspect as we are clearly notified that she, after crossing the three stages of grief (denial, anger, bargaining), is in depression. Stirring that with a mentionable increment in irony-based mystery and eeriness of this episode is what makes us excited for the upcoming ones, as she might quite possibly enter the last stage – acceptance.
Quirkiness and awkward social encounter sketches enter as WandaVision finally catches up with modern day humour. Acknowledging the progressive society’s increase in sensitivity by showing how the chatters they had before is boundarised now is clever of the writers. Whether be it leaving Stan Lee’s birth date on a licence plate in the intro or adding an extra layer of indiscernible voiceovers, which can only be found through the subtitles — the MCU is upping their Easter egg game, making it all the more rewatchable. Via set-up based music — this time carnival based — they are tackling the scarcity of a memorable background score with variations.
A catchy theme song at the end adds to their honest effort. They did not only solve the lack of a super-powered individual on each side with a pleasant surprise, but also made the science behind it relatable to people other than scientists, increasing the sci-fi aspect and the demographic of it. Whether the advertisement is a nod to an event from Age of Ultron or a tease of the multiverse as suggested in the comics is open for speculation. But it succeeds in adding a pinch of nihilism to the dread of this waning reality.
No matter how effective, changing the aspect ratio to highlight the cinematic effect of an important scene will surely roll some eyes. So will Marvel‘s attempt to handle the Big Reveal. It does give us something catchy to come back to, but that being the best part of it isn’t exactly good news. Be it the ambiguous foreshadowing or their ability of clever writing gained from fantasy world-building or inability to pull off orthodox plot twists, the sequence still goes pretty well with the overall tone of the show, despite the recurring spoon feeding.
But the shock effect and the character rewriting is still circumstantial to our knowledge. The buildup matters only because we know both sides. Hence, not knowing about a certain character from the comics takes away the shock value, as we are left to ask if that is supposed to mean good or bad. Whereas, for a geek who had it coming from day one, it is not shocking, only a late reveal is momentarily provoking. That is why, for viewers who don’t step outside the screen and into the strips, the exposition spoon feeding is necessary. But it still does not compensate for a relatively cheap excuse of mind numbing entertainment as what we are provided to decide on about the nature of a character is…animal abuse.
Revival, reappearance, recast, plot twist — we had it all. Yet Paul Bettany teases about an upcoming appearance that should knock our socks off. While we are not assured if the character is essential to the storyline or will just aid in future world-building, suffice it to say that Marvel is weaponising lore more and more, not leaving one bit of independent arc, to glue us to our seats. This taking up too much time of a promised six hours of show has us praying for a long showdown. While we don’t know what we have coming for us, (especially) after episode 7, we can unanimously agree that “Please Stand By” is indeed a villain.
Like all previous reviews, this would’ve been it if not for the surprising Marvel classic cliffhanger mid credit scene. Go check it if you missed it!
Shudipto Dip a replicant with the emotional range of a labradoodle.