The Power of Grief in Marvel's 'WandaVision'
By ALEX LANGRIDGE
Marvel’s TV show WandaVision is helping viewers understand grief after the last episode aired earlier this month.
Ben Carter, 24, from Kent, who suddenly lost a Grandparent to cancer at the beginning of this year, told how watching the show each week has helped him come to terms with her death.
He said: “Wanda is going through the same experiences so I can connect with her and see her journey to acceptance which is great to see.”
The show sees main character Wanda (Elizabeth Olson) navigate life after the death of her husband Vision (Paul Bettany) with every episode mimicking a classic TV sitcom from the 1950s to present day.
Ben, a long-term Marvel fan, continued: “Seeing superheroes humanised and the grief that they suffer shows that even superheroes morn and grieve, so if they can grieve and show emotion as superheroes anyone can do the same.”
The show opens with Wanda and Vision in a black-and-white 1950s setting with the former attempting to blend into the suburban town, Westview, while concealing her super abilities.
It is later discovered Wanda has trapped the town in a reality of her own creation where Vision is alive.
A spokesman from Cruse Bereavement Care, a charity offering support to the bereaved, said: “Having sensory experiences of the person who has died is not unusual. It is part of us processing the loss and is not concerning at all in and of itself.”
They added: “Programmes about death and grief help raise awareness and trigger much needed conversations to make grief and death less of a taboo.”
Ben found it refreshing to see a superhero film explore these tropes and believed the grieving process had been portrayed accurately. Yet, Cruse suggested that it will depend on the individual watching as what resonates with one may not with another.
In episode 8, viewers are taken through Wanda’s memories where they see her enjoying sitcoms with her family and then later using them as a comforter after her parents and brother’s death.
WandaVision’s sitcom parodies are explained to be a visual cue of how Wanda is now dealing with Vision’s death.
Peter Eldrid, Counsellor at Brunel University, said: “Grief is a very individual thing. In other words, I do not think there is a right way to do it. If TV shows are making room for the diversity of responses, then I am more than impressed with them.”
Common feelings after someone dies include shock, pain, anger, guilt, depression, longing, and numbness.
Ben concluded: “In the show Wanda experiences all of this but it allows her to grow as a person which is what grief allows you to.”
The nine-part TV show aired on Disney+ from January 15 to March 5 and is still available to stream.
WandaVision is streaming now on Disney+. Image owned by Disney.