Marvel and Disney+’ WandaVision took a very different approach to a superhero narrative than audiences have seen from the MCU so far. It started off as a parody of wholesome family sitcoms and slowly mutated into a supernatural crisis involving magic, the legacy of a witch coven, and the true meaning of the self.
The MCU has consistently earned good performances out of its actors, but a project like WandaVision requires its actors to turn in some truly emotionally affecting performances. Thankfully, many of the series’ actors turned in some top-notch performances while others struggled to stand out.
10 NAILED THEIR ROLE: Elizabeth Olsen As Wanda Maximoff/The Scarlet Witch
Needless to say, Elizabeth Olsen provided the confusion, sadness, and depth needed to nail the role of Wanda Maximoff in this show. Her role is a complex one in this show, as she is very much the villain in many regards. However, she doesn’t know it, as she is ultimately someone with power she doesn’t understand trying to hold onto past happiness.
All of that is well-captured by Elizabeth Olsen in this series, and it’s without a doubt her best Wanda Maximoff performance yet.
9 FELL SHORT: Ilana Kohanchi As Iryna Maximoff
Viewers don’t get a lot of time with Iryna Maximoff, the mother of Wanda and Pietro Maximoff. She doesn’t have as much of an impression as one might expect from the mother of one of the title characters.
This may partially be due to writing and the way Iryna is positioned in the series. There’s not much to grab onto with the character, and she is left feeling like more of a footnote.
8 NAILED THEIR ROLE: Paul Betanny As Both Visions
In a way, Paul Bettany has to play three different Visions in this series. There is the idealized Vision of Wanda’s memories, the true Vision reasserting himself out of that fantasy, and the white Vision made by Hayward and S.W.O.R.D. Bettany manages to rock all three of them and provides a genuinely affecting performance.
That isn’t easy to do under layers of body paint and makeup, but Bettany shows himself to be a consummate professional and provides a thoroughly gripping look into an artificial man trying to process the very nature of existence.
7 FELL SHORT: Emma Caulfield Ford As Sarah Proctor/Dottie Jones
Again, this may be down to the way the character was positioned as the snooty “perfect” housewife neighbor to Wanda and Vision. However, there wasn’t anything particularly interesting about Dottie Jones as a character, and little of note came from the character.
The one exception to this is the scene where Dottie cuts her hand and seems to awake from the mental manipulation; Emma Caulfield Ford is killer in that unsettling scene.
6 NAILED THEIR ROLE: Teyonah Parris As Monica Rambeau
Teyonah Parris as Monica Rambeau and the future Captain Marvel/Photon is another stellar performance in this series. Watching this individual come to grips with the loss of her mother as well as the crisis happening in Westview is absorbing.
Teyonah’s ability to sink into the background until Monica’s identity reasserts itself is really impressive too. One wouldn’t suspect who she really was until she starts trying to manage this crisis a few episodes into the series.
5 FELL SHORT: Randall Park As Agent Jimmy Woo
This is by no means saying that Randall Park’s performance as Jimmy Woo is bad; it’s only pointing out that he isn’t one of the standout performances of the series compared to Teyonah Parris as Monica and Kat Dennings as Darcy. Woo is still an engaging character; he’s just overshadowed by those around him.
Hopefully, Jimmy Woo gets to have more of a presence in future MCU projects, as Jimmy Woo of the Agents of Atlas is a great character in Marvel Comics.
4 NAILED THEIR ROLE: Kathryn Hahn As Agnes/Agatha Harkness
Needless to say, Kathryn Hahn as Agnes/Agatha Harkness is one of the most unforgettable things about WandaVision. Unlike Teyonah Parris as Monica Rambeau, the audience is meant to suspect something is up with Kathryn Hahn’s character, and it’s a delight watching her metaphorically and literally wink to the audience in many of the earlier scenes.
Of course, when Agatha reveals herself, Kathryn Hahn shows herself able to chew the scenery and menace the hero with the best of them. She elevates the character to a great and classic-feeling villain, and it’s a delight.
3 FELL SHORT: Josh Stamberg As Director Tyler Hayward
On the other end of the antagonist spectrum, Josh Stamberg’s Tyler Hayward never really stands out. He feels too much like a run-of-the-mill militaristic bad guy—and not the fun kind like General Thunderbolt Ross. Even when he’s supposed to be menacing and assertive, Hayward never really grabs the center of the scene.
Hayward doesn’t seem like a villain that’s supposed to be attention-grabbing like Harkness either, and maybe this end result is just how he’s supposed to be.
2 NAILED THEIR ROLE: Debra Jo Rupp As Ms. Hart
Fans of That 70’s Show learn to enjoy a good Debra Jo Rupp performance, and she delivers with WandaVision. Her character of Ms. Hart feels like Kitty Foreman in many ways, but there is palpable yet quiet desperation that turns audible in the scene where her husband is choking while Mrs. Hart begs Wanda to “stop it.”
Debra Jo Rupp is an absolute treasure, and Mr. Hart should show up in another Marvel project as an excuse to have Debra Jo Rupp back on the screen.
1 FELL SHORT: Evan Peters As Quicksilver/Ralph Bohner
Evan Peters’ revelation as the Pietro Maximoff in Westview was a shocking revelation, but it didn’t turn out as significant as one might suspect. Beyond that, Peters as Pietro just feels a bit cartoonish. He’s the stereotypical cocky and irresponsible guy—which admittedly may be the point.
However, other characters, like Monica and Ms. Hart, give the audience a peek at who is underneath. Pietro/Ralph Bohner never gives the audience that, and it’s a bit disappointing.
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