Honest Trailer for WandaVision Has Both Hilarity and Harsh Truths
“But ever since Cap left Bucky for this homewrecker,* Wanda and Vision are the closest thing Marvel has to a healthy relationship, even though she’s torturing a small town with her mind.” Welcome to the Honest Trailer for WandaVision!
Around these parts, we greatly enjoyed WandaVision, but that’s not to say the show and its premise didn’t have anything to criticize. So Honest Trailer’s ribbing of WandaVision and the greater MCU comes as a sort of pressure relief valve. It’s nice to be able to laugh from a distance because we’re in on all the jokes. And sometimes the jokes are on us.
“Watch this power-couple cosplay through some of history’s most delightful sitcoms, from Modern Family to Malcolm in the Middle to the shows Boomers loved because they literally had no other options.”
I grew up with Nick at Nite’s “Block Party Summer” programming (this segment was actually first called “VertiVision” by the channel in the early 1990s). Bewitched, I Dream of Jeannie, The Dick Van Dyke Show, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, and I Love Lucy were standard fare—and so I enjoyed the myriad winks and homages to classic properties as Wanda reshaped her reality across a sitcom backdrop. But I’ve been wondering how well this translated for younger audiences or people without many associations with these shows. There’s definitely something lost. I haven’t watched the more modern sitcoms referenced on WandaVision, and I know a lot of their references passed me by. It also feels like there was a missed opportunity to cast a much wider net in terms of famous TV family depictions.
“… and [Vision] is her imaginary vibrator programmed only to love.”
I’m glad that the Honest Trailer takes the time to point out some of my biggest issues with WandaVision. Vision’s general credulousness throughout many episodes even though he is a wildly powerful “supercomputer” often pushes the bounds of belief. Even in a superhero property starring a witch and her undead synthezoid husband in a magic-constructed TV reality. To be fair to Vision here, whenever he notices that something is off, Wanda soundly rebuffs him on the matter and sometimes seems to actually reset the “scene” to follow her narrative.
I’m also glad they highlighted the exchange where Wanda says that she can control Vision as she does the others, a seriously uncomfortable dynamic that prevented me from being fully invested in their “romantic” relationship throughout the show. For most of WandaVision, all we know about Vision is that he has no memory of who he was before and that his wife keeps telling him everything is fine when it is very clearly not fine. I do wish this had been addressed further after Vision tries to leave the Hex.
“Step outside the Hex to meet characters like Darcy, the latest phase of Marvel’s image rehab campaign for Thor: The Dark World, Jimmy Woo, the only cop who’s into close-up magic that anyone could ever love, and Monica Rambeau, who grows from a knowing commentary on TV’s Black best friend trope … into an actual example of TV’s Black best friend trope, and finally into a superhero who could one day become Marvel’s first Black best friend trope … in space.”
Now, some of our favorite parts of WandaVision followed the cast of MCU MVP alums like Darcy Lewis (that’s now Dr. Darcy Lewis to you) and America’s Sweetheart Jimmy Woo. I love the Thor joke, but we all know that nothing could really rehab Thor: The Dark World, a movie that for me only consists of Tom Hiddleston as Loki looking defeated at last after smashing up his prison cell in a grief-filled rage. Otherwise, we’d have to talk about Malekith and the Dark Elves, and no one wants that.
Teyonah Parris’s dauntless Monica Rambeau and how she is portrayed is a more complicated matter, as Monica plays such a vital role in so much of the story—including leading an episode from her perspective—only to be somewhat sidelined at the end, much to our disappointment. She does, however, have her own superhero origin story in WandaVision, and the show gave a solid grounding in her character and motivations. I think it’s far too reductive to say that she is made to be a TV trope, though I could have done without the too-pat “They’ll never know what you sacrificed for them” reassuring line that WandaVision has Monica deliver after Wanda dismantles her magic-made reality in “The Series Finale.” Monica’s role should be writ large in future MCU properties; I wish we were seeing her in a movie of her own next instead of Captain Marvel II, though I’m excited to see her character journey under Nia DaCosta’s direction.
“In a story that’s really about Wanda’s grief and finding acceptance … the acceptance that no matter how original a Marvel thing starts off, it still has to end with a sky beam and two CGI dolls throwing particle effects at each other. [sniffles] It’s just so meaningful … this reminds me of my own struggles.”
Where is the lie here? There is no lie detected. Even if you adored almost every moment and decision made in WandaVision, you were probably a little disappointed by Wanda and Agatha Harkness hurtling balls of energy at each other as the big “showdown.” Especially when the Ship of Theseus scene taught us there are other compelling ways to subdue a big bad. We’ve seen the airborne dolls fight scene a million times before, but maybe this is some kind of superhero property onscreen stipulation, because the powers that be sure do seem to love it. Note to Hollywood: we’re ready for something different.
“Let your love for Kathryn Hahn blind you to the fact that her plan doesn’t make a ton of sense, and her past implies that the Salem Witch Trials were kinda onto something.”
Ouch. Okay! But look over there! It’s Kathryn Hahn! And Agatha All Along is the bop of the year!
The Honest Trailer also mocks the vast, worldwide-web-sprawling ecosystem of analysis, theories, and “conspiracy”-esque thinking that has sprung up around properties like WandaVision. Now, we’re certainly guilty of indulging in our own theories and predictions of what’s to come, but for me, that’s a large part of the fun of being a fan of these properties.
I enjoy seeing the Easter eggs people dig up or the wilder speculations that could be signified by a fly on the bedroom wall. And studios like Marvel and Disney knowingly fuel this feeding frenzy by maintaining ultra-super-secretive productions. A single set picture or a possibly veiled reference throws us into overdrive, and that’s all the better for their word of mouth. But sometimes a fly is just a fly, and Mephisto is nowhere in sight.
What did you think of the Honest Trailer for WandaVision? Are there other notes you had for the show?
(image: Marvel Studios)
*Peggy Carter does not deserve this kind of slander.
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