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This article accommodates spoilers for WandaVision.
Hello sky beam! After eight episodes of previous TV pastiches, gradual buildup and loads of character examination, the ultimate episode of Disney+’s WandaVision lastly gave the viewers the massive punchy power blast battle that we’ve come to count on after seeing dozens of Marvel and DC movies. For those that had been hating the present up to now, possibly it was a reduction. For those that have been having fun with how the collection strayed from the norm… it’s in all probability a case of blended emotions. Because what made the present such a delight was that it was so totally different from earlier superhero outings, a sense amplified by the best way the present was delivered in weekly doses as a substitute of unexpectedly.
Streaming has modified how folks watch TV, with so many now anticipating a fast repair the place they’ll watch the whole lot directly and never have to attend to see cliffhangers. Want to see if Captain Picard survives being changed into a Borg? In my day you needed to wait a whole summer season for the answer; now you simply anticipate the following episode to load on Paramount+. Binging emerged as a result of folks began consuming previous media through DVD collections and streaming companies, rewatching previous favorites like The Office for consolation and new favorites like Game of Thrones so that they could possibly be a part of the dialog at work and on-line. Savoring the reveals’ particular person elements was by no means the purpose.
Netflix checked out these viewing patterns and determined that was how folks most popular to look at collection, releasing its unique programming multi function large drop at 3am. And at first it labored, with folks planning out their weekends across the new season of House of Cards or Orange is the New Black. It even reached a degree the place some folks have been taking Fridays off so they may see all of Daredevil or Luke Cage as quickly because it arrived, usually plowing by all 13 episodes earlier than most individuals had even gotten up for work.
While some companies like Peacock have adopted Netflix’s lead, others nonetheless hew to a weekly launch. Paramount+ does this with Star Trek, and Disney+ has been doing it with its large marquee originals like The Mandalorian and now WandaVision. Part of this determination is merely sensible: in the event you stretch out the discharge of a present, you assure that subscribers stick round for a number of weeks, as a substitute of binging the whole lot over a weekend and cancelling their subscription till the following season drops. Of course, folks can nonetheless try this now, however which means being the final to see the present and lacking out on the preliminary watercooler discuss.
In the case of WandaVision, it additionally means shedding plenty of the impression. Not simply in spoilers — although lacking out on the excitement round “Agatha All Along” is a disgrace, as a result of it’s simply such a bop (and amusing meme). But in how every episode is constructed as a singular piece of artwork, using totally different types and specializing in totally different elements of the sitcom format, even episode size. Dick Van Dyke was a marketing consultant for the primary installment — would we actually have appreciated that reality as a lot if we instantly had eight extra episodes after it to fill our ideas?
Even as soon as we left the sitcom type the final two episodes nonetheless felt distinctive, with final week’s functioning as an emotional tour de pressure about Wanda’s ongoing trauma and this week, as I mentioned earlier, mainly embracing a extra action-packed combating with power blasts. But it nonetheless discovered methods to tell apart itself. There’s a dialogue of the Ship of Theseus conundrum, and even an element that form of wanders into zombie territory (Marvel Studios hasn’t actually carried out horror earlier than, so it was both a pleasant or very disagreeable shock relying in your personal consolation ranges).
Even as I sit right here digesting what the episode means for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, I can’t assist however take into consideration how individuals who selected to attend will take in the present. Taken as an entire, WandaVision actually does function like a Marvel movie, albeit barely longer. The first three episodes are the intro, then episode 4 reveals us what’s actually occurring, then the plot actually begins to take off from there earlier than we roll into the massive reveal on the finish of episode six adopted by the massive emotional beats and climactic battle. Even final week’s episode, with Agatha taking Wanda on a stroll by her previous jogged my memory of the flashbacks that Captain America, Iron Man and even Thor have had of their respective outings — simply stretched out a bit, to provide Wanda the characterization she so desperately lacked within the movies.
If a Marvel film was damaged up into segments, there’s a chance that many viewers would really feel dissatisfied by these. In the primary Iron Man, Tony Stark doesn’t go well with up till over a half hour into the movie. And that’s solely the prototype — the “real” go well with doesn’t make its debut till an hour has handed and we’re midway carried out with the film. Iron Man 3 even flipped the script by beginning Tony out within the go well with after which stripping it away for a full hour within the center. (Which is why the movie is generally derided as boring, regardless of being considered one of my favourite Marvel flicks due to the way it threw out the usual conventions.)
WandaVision is nonetheless utilizing that general structure, however now we needed to wait every week between the main story beats. And sure, this is anecdotal, however plenty of the folks I do know who hate WandaVision… are the identical ones who hated Iron Man 3. Had they been capable of watch it unexpectedly, possibly their preliminary disappointment would have pale as soon as they obtained to the “pew pew pew” components in episodes 4 and 9. Binging a present — or watching a film — doesn’t offer you plenty of time to consider the part components, simply the work as an entire. And if the tip delivers what you need, you’re extra more likely to have a constructive opinion of it.
However, WandaVision was a celebration of the artwork of tv as a lot because it was a superhero story, and the intent was to get you to consider its components and the craft that went into them — in addition to the emotional beats they hit. Had I watched it unexpectedly I’d solely in all probability be centered proper now on the questions we’re left with on the finish — the place did white Vision go, what do the Skrulls need with Monica and what occurred to poor, poor Ralph — however as a substitute I’m additionally conscious of what every episode meant to perform. Taken as an entire, it in all probability would have made for a mediocre superhero film. But as a collection, it’s been a fairly nice journey.