Will We “Marvel” Over Falcon+Winter Soldier Like We Did Wandavison?
A black and white TV show presentation. 1950’s camera angles. Period costumes. Stylistically perfect performances. These are just a few of the elements that captured the attention of soon-to-be Wandavision fanatics when the first episode of the hit series premiered.
But what really made this show so popular? Why did not just a nation- but an entire world- latch onto this one show on one streaming service amidst a sea of choices? It certainly has something to do with the fact that ‘Marvel’ and ‘Disney’ are now household names and everything they create draws attention…but there was something more that made Wandavision so alluring.
Now that the Wandavison credits have rolled for the final time, a new question has surfaced: will Falcon and the Winter Solider captivate us in the same way? Exactly what concoction of television show perfection will it take to make Falcon and the Winter Soldier as popular as Wandavision? Let’s get into it!
Instant Gratification Formula, Be Gone!
We live in an instant gratification culture. And until Wandavision, Marvel has been an instant gratification franchise through and through. Each of its movies leading up to-and including- Endgame followed a very specific formula in which a brief set up, climactic CGI battle scene, and predictable resolution were par for the course. In. every. single. film.
Wandavision broke that mold with its very first episode, and continued the trend throughout the series. And in my opinion, it’s a huge factor in what made the show so successful! Week after week, we were plunged into Wanda and Vision’s seemingly normal, but definitely odd story.
And we didn’t really get many answers for the first three episodes. That boring formula of instantly knowing what was going on was nowhere in sight…and it got EVERYONE talking. In order to live up to the Wandavision hype, the new Marvel series will have to incorporate some type of mystery too…but in a different, fresh way than what we just experienced with Wandavision.
Mystery Make Us Want More
Every week during Wandavision’s run, I looked forward to Sunday church. We had a group of Wandavison-watchers at my church (myself proudly included) who would get together after watching the latest episode…and speculate. And speculate, and speculate, and speculate.
We had a nerdy three-person circle that would sit together and painstakingly dissect what happened in the past week’s episode, and what we thought was coming. Who was the big bad villain behind it all? How did Monica know who Ultron was? And was Vision really the REAL Vision? Trust me when I tell you we had some wacky but insanely fun theories each week, and the fun of the mystery kept us all excited.
Falcon and the Winter Solider have frighteningly big shoes to fill. And I don’t hope that the show follows the same formula as Wandavision. What I do hope however, is that the new series is presented as a true episodic series, meaning that each episode slowly reveals more of the plot. Slowly being the key word. A big battle scene masking the plot progression is clearly not what audiences are craving, and Falcon and Winter Soldier are toeing the line of falling into that trap…but what can save the show from falling victim to the Marvel formula?
The Undeniable Lure of Human Stories
Captain America is cool. Hulk’s powers are awesome. And Thor is a big heartthrob. But I don’t relate to any single one of those characters on a deep level like I did with Wanda and Vision. Why?
Because human beings relate to human stories. The story of Wandavision was not about how powerful of a superhero Wanda was, or how cool Vision’s skin-tight superhero costumes were. At its core, Wandavision was about a grieving woman who lost her husband finding it impossibly difficult to cope all by herself. I can relate to that.
It was about a woman who was feeling both empowered by and trapped in her own world- a fictionally perfect, escapist world that she created in her own head. I can relate to that. It was about a husband and wife who wanted to live happily ever after in their dream home, whose unfair circumstances prevented them from ever doing so. I can relate to that.
If Falcon and Winter Soldier dig deeper than the superhero costumes, it has a chance. If we get to see the backstory of these characters and understand their motivations, it has a BIG chance at becoming a success.
I sincerely hope Marvel lets us in on more of these extremely relatable human backstories that every one of their characters inherently possesses. Every one of them has a past, and understanding their characters on a deeper, more relatable level is what it’s going to take to launch this show to the top of the charts.
“It Was Humanness All Along”
The core of Wandavision’s success was a summation of perfectly timed reveals, a layered mystery, and truly human stories. Yes, the fantastic acting performances, wonderful set and costume designs, and overall tone of the show definitely helped.
But that’s not what made me- or any of us- wait on bated breath for Friday to roll around again. As much as I want to believe it was Agatha all along, it was the deeply rooted connection to a very human story that made the show resonate so uniquely to audiences around the world. And there is absolutely no mystery about that. “It was humanness all along”.
Do you think Marvel’s newest series will live up to the hype? Will you be watching? Leave me a comment and let me know- I’d love to hear your thoughts and have a conversation!
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