WandaVision: The Complete Series (Steelbook) (4K UHD Review)

  • Reviewed by: Stephen Bjork
  • Review Date: Dec 04, 2023
  • Format: 4K Ultra HD
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WandaVision: The Complete Series (Steelbook) (4K UHD Review)


Matt Shakman

Release Date(s)

2021 (November 28, 2023)


Marvel Studios/Disney+ (Buena Vista Home Entertainment)
  • Film/Program Grade: B+
  • Video Grade: A
  • Audio Grade: A-
  • Extras Grade: B+

WandaVision: The Complete Series (4K UHD)



Marvel Studios properties are sometimes accused of being safe, cookie-cutter entertainment, with the even the likes of Martin Scorsese and Denis Villeneuve having taken the time to cast sour grapes on Marvel’s product. That’s not a completely fair criticism, of course. The company has indeed taken a few risks during its journey to build a shared cinematic universe—carefully calculated risks, but risks nonetheless. Films like Guardians of the Galaxy may not seem particularly risky in hindsight, but there were no guarantees of success when Marvel took their franchise away from Earth and into the cosmic realm accompanied by a talking raccoon and an anthropomorphic tree. Black Panther also took a leap into levels of representation that no previous comic book adaptation had ever dared, not even Blade. (Not all of their fans were particularly happy about that, either.) The fact that most of these gambles have paid off is why they don’t appear quite so risky in retrospect. Yet Marvel has still been willing to push the envelope in its own calculated fashion, never more so than with the first streaming series that officially took place within its shared cinematic universe: WandaVision.

The previous shows that Marvel had produced in partnership with Netflix had at best a tenuous relationship with rest of the MCU, and some of them may or may not even be considered canonical. That allowed for a bit more freedom with the storytelling, since it wouldn’t necessarily interfere with what the films were doing at the same time. Yet all of the newer shows that they’ve done for Disney+ fit squarely into the continuity of the MCU, so theoretically that means that these should be more risk-averse. Despite that fact, WandaVision launched everything by going to places that not even the various Netflix series would have dared.

The basic concept of WandaVision has Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) living a storybook life with her late lamented love The Vision (Paul Bettany), all expressed in the form and style of classic television sitcoms. Each episode of the show advances a decade in terms of television history, with references to The Dick Van Dyke Show, Bewitched, Malcolm in the Middle, and many others. That’s not exactly typical summer blockbuster material, especially when you consider that The Vision had been killed not once but twice during the events of Avengers: Infinity War—one time by Wanda’s own rueful hands.

As Marvel’s first attempt at serialized storytelling within the MCU, WandaVision does perhaps hammer its concept home a bit longer than necessary. It doesn’t quite wear out its welcome, but it does strain the idea to its limits. However, telling an episodic story by making its episodic nature an actual part of the narrative was a clever way to bring the characters from the big screen into an inherently smaller scale television format. As gimmicky as everything may seem at first, it all serves the larger purpose of addressing Wanda’s inability to deal with her grief at having lost the love of her life. Ultimately, WandaVision is about the pain of letting go—it’s really Marvel’s take on Truly, Madly, Deeply, with The Vision substituting for Alan Rickman’s character Jamie.

So, does WandaVision still fall into the Marvel trap of having an epic CGI-filled battle at the end? The answer is yes—but only sort of. There is a battle, and it does indeed have plenty of CGI, but the stakes in it are of a far more personal nature (there are plenty of innocent bystanders involved, but they also end up becoming a part of those personal stakes). The finale also subverts expectations in multiple ways, including by closing off an entire theatre of battle with Dark Star-inspired philosophical musings. Most importantly, the battle itself doesn’t really resolve anything, as real resolution only arrives during the bittersweet coda where Wanda finally accepts that she has to let go.

Of course, nothing would end up being quite that simple going forward, since the way that she exercised her powers in order to change the reality around her has had lasting effects in the MCU, with many consequences yet to come for those whom she has touched (for good or for ill). Breaking with conventional reality also had major consequences for her own mental state, and the post-credit sequence in the last episode of WandaVision sets up just how far that she would be willing to take things during the events of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.

In the end, WandaVision is an interesting journey that requires some patience while things are unfolding, and it doesn’t entirely stick the landing, but it still deserves credit for taking chances with some unconventional storytelling. It’s hardly groundbreaking, but it’s also far from being safe cookie-cutter entertainment. It showed that Marvel was willing to push the envelope just a bit with their streaming series in ways that wouldn’t necessarily have worked for a feature film, all while still keeping one foot firmly on the ground that it had already established—WandaVision ended up being evolutionary, rather than revolutionary.

Cinematographer Jess Hall captured WandaVision digitally at 4.5K resolution in ARRIRAW format using ARRI Alexa LF and Alexa LF Mini cameras with a whopping 47 different lenses (both spherical and anamorphic). Post-production work was completed as a full 4K Digital Intermediate. To help create an authentically old-fashioned look, Hall experimented with a variety of vintage lenses, but he ultimately opted to add adaptive optics to existing modern lenses in order to mimic the characteristics of the older ones. He also applied 23 different LUTs (Look Up Tables) during filming in order to tailor each shot to the era—and further degradation effects were added during post-production. The entire show was mastered in High Dynamic Range, although the LUTs for the earlier episodes did create some intentional constraints on it. (While WandaVision is offered with Dolby Vision on Disney+, per Disney’s usual policy, the disc version is confined to HDR10 only.)

All of that means that the look of WandaVision varies widely from episode to episode and even from shot to shot. There’s a steady progression in the visuals from the early sitcom material to the later reveal of what’s happening behind the scenes. The first episode is in black-and-white, framed at 1.33:1. The image has been deliberately softened, and the contrast range is limited. Everything has the flat, low-con look of television broadcasts from the era, and fine detail has been reduced to nearly standard definition levels. The second episode is still black-and-white at 1.33:1, but the image is slightly sharper and has stronger contrast. Near the end, splashes of color are added in order to set the stage for episode three going full color. By the fifth episode, the aspect ratio widens to 1.78:1, although there are still some intentional effects being added to degrade the image. Meanwhile, the behind-the-scenes story is introduced at the full 2.39:1 aspect ratio used by the majority of the MCU, and it offers genuinely cinematic levels of picture quality. These images are razor sharp and finely detailed, while the HDR grade offers vivid colors, dazzling highlights, and deep black levels. We’re talking about the Scarlet Witch here, so there are plenty of glowing energy beams being tossed around that take full advantage of what HDR can offer.

While the first couple of episodes of WandaVision may not display any clear advantages on disc compared to the streaming versions, it’s a completely different matter once the framing story is finally introduced. Disney is still continuing their welcome trend of using BD-100 discs for these Disney+ releases, and the higher bitrates do make a difference. Everything has a touch more depth and solidity to it. At its best, WandaVision looks as good on UHD as any of the big-screen MCU efforts ever have, and that’s a testament to what Hall’s visual creativity was able to accomplish for the show.

Primary audio is offered in English Dolby Atmos. WandaVision is also available in Atmos on Disney+, but only in highly compressed Dolby Digital, and the aural differences are even more dramatic than the visual ones. The audio follows the same progression that the video does—it doesn’t quite have the courage of its convictions to go full mono for the early episodes, but they’re still anchored to the center channel with limited stereo spread and surround activity. That expands a bit during a key moment at the end of the first episode, and it keeps expanding as the series progresses. (Interestingly, the laugh track remains mono longer than anything else, although that eventually moves to full stereo as well.) Once the framing story is revealed, everything becomes fully immersive with all channels driven including the overheads. Its during those moments that the real advantages of the uncompressed audio become apparent. It’s fuller and richer here, and while it’s still mastered at the typically lower levels of Disney home video releases, nudging up the volume doesn’t compress the dynamics. The sound design of WandaVision is no less creative than its cinematography, so be patient while Wanda and her handlers work their magic. The limited nature of the earlier episodes helps to throw the later episodes into sharp relief, sometimes in dramatic fashion.

Additional audio options include French and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital, plus English 2.0 Descriptive Audio. Subtitle options include English SDH, French, and Spanish.

Disney’s 4K Ultra HD Steelbook release of WandaVision is a two-disc set that includes a set of three different art cards. It’s not dual format, since Disney has opted to release the Blu-ray version separately, and it doesn’t offer any Digital codes. (Presumably they’re withholding that option in order to protect the value of the show on Disney+.) The nine episodes are spread across the two discs, with the extras split between them:


  1. Filmed Before a Live Studio Audience (UHD – 26:33)
  2. Don’t Touch That Dial (UHD – 33:41)
  3. Now in Color (UHD – 29:57)
  4. We Interrupt This Program (UHD – 32:32)
  5. On a Very Special Episode... (HD – 38:09)
  • Through the Years (HD – 7:01)
  • Gag Reel (HD – 2:36)
  • Deleted Scenes:
    • Ankle Bracelet (HD – :29)
    • Mouth to Mouth (HD – :20)


  1. All-New Halloween Spooktacular! (UHD – 34:42)
  2. Breaking the Fourth Wall (UHD – 34:41)
  3. Previously On (UHD – 43:21)
  4. The Series Finale (UHD – 46:51)
  • Assembled: The Making of WandaVision (HD – 57:07)

The extras on the first disc are a collection of not very interesting EPK fluff, including an unfunny gag reel, two inessential deleted scenes that are really nothing more than trims, and a featurette that’s little more than an advertisement for the upcoming Agatha: Darkhold Diaries. The centerpiece of the extras is on the second disc, and that’s Assembled: The Making of WandaVision. Like the Assembled episode that Disney included with Loki, it’s a fairly comprehensive examination of the production of the show featuring interviews with all of the key cast and crew members. Paul Bettany and Elizabeth Olsen both share their histories in the MCU (Bettany goes all the way back to when John Favreau hired him for the first Iron Man), and they explain what the series has meant to them. Director/executive producer Matt Shakman has a history of his own with this kind of material, having been a child actor on series like The Facts of Life, Diff’rent Strokes, and Growing Pains, so he brought his experiences to bear on the production of the show. Head writer/producer Jac Schaeffer also shares her thoughts, as do theme song writers Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez. The sitcom material was shot in front of a live studio audience to capture the energy of classic television shows, with the visual effects being done in-camera using wires and jump cuts. The digital visual effects artists are also included here, so they’re given a chance to describe how they handled the effects of the framing story. The best part is still probably the discussion with the songwriters, who explain how they worked the same basic motif into each of the wildly varied theme songs (and just in case you’re wondering, yes, that really is Kathleen Hanna of Bikini Kill singing the Malcolm in the Middle style theme).

We definitely live in a strange era when studios like Disney/Marvel are producing quality making-of documentaries like the Assembled series but primarily limiting them to streaming only. It’s even stranger when they’re not included on any the home video releases of the actual cinematic installments of the MCU. Disney has definitely chosen which side of their bread to butter. Still, at least they’ve included the relevant Assembled episodes on their home video releases of both Loki and now WandaVision, so it’s a step in the right direction. The improvements in picture and sound quality over streaming also don’t hurt. Yes, there’s no Dolby Vision, but the advantages gained by the higher bitrates should outweigh Dolby Vision on all but the smallest of displays. For the time being, these 4K Steelbook releases of Loki and WandaVision are the ones to own.

- Stephen Bjork

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