After 563 days without a new Marvel Cinematic Universe release, the MCU marked its arrival on Disney+ as Wandavision released its first two episodes this Friday (January 15th). And, I will be reviewing each episode weekly on this blog so be sure to follow.
After 2020 was the first year that didn’t contain a single MCU release since 2009, Wandavision kicks off what promises to be a packed year for the MCU in 2021, which I ranked in terms of my anticipation for each project in my last post.
We find our heroes Wanda (Elizabeth Olsen) and Vision (Paul Bettany) trying to live a quiet life in the small town named Westview. However, it doesn’t take long for our heroes to realise something is wrong with this town as they can’t seem to remember anything. The entire show pays homage to sitcoms of the past, with each episode paying homage to a certain time period.
As I’m sure you are no stranger to, there has been a LOT of hype for Wandavision. Not only because it’s finally giving Wanda and Vision the spotlight but also for what it promises to set up for the rest of Phase 4 and the MCU. So, the first question is: does it live up to the hype? Well, two episodes in and I can say that it does.
As you will know if you saw my ranking of 2021 MCU releases, I feared due to the decision to have every episode pay homage to a different time period starting with the 1950s and going down, the show would be incredibly slow to start. I also feared the sitcom format wouldn’t work with these characters, whilst there was no doubt in my mind this series would be amazing, I did have my doubts
But, Wandavision is a very ambitious series that takes big risks yet works so well. What’s the most impressive however, is how Wandavision can stand on its own as a sitcom there is no need for the added depth, I was genuinely shocked at how funny I found it. But in the same breath, the show has this incredible ability to flip the script and almost in an instance, it is able to execute the fear Wanda feels to the audience without giving the audience any context.
Furthermore, I was scared that because the show chose to pay homage to sitcoms of the decades before I was born, I wouldn’t understand half of what was going on. But, the entire concept of the show – works, it is a television show within a television show and choosing Wanda and Vision – such a mysterious characters anyway, is the key to its success, hell, there are even adverts embedded in the show but it’s fits seamlessly in and they are perfect in giving fans easter eggs.
Those aren’t the only easter eggs however, as these first two episodes are easter-eggs galore, not only for the show but also for where the MCU will go in Phase 4. Plus, Wandavision is such easy viewing, thirty minutes per episode is perfect and leaves me wanting to see more episodes and see what else Wandavision can come up with regarding sitcoms, something I wasn’t even sure would work in the show to begin with.
So, as established it manages to pull of the sitcom format, but Wandavisions strength is its ability to change the tone in an instance – and the score must be given credit for how effective it is in changing the tone. This is never more present than in the dinner scene in the first episode, which makes us ask whether Wanda is actually the hero of the story, or whether she is actually the villain.
Elizabeth Olsen excels as Wanda Maximoff as she is finally given the spotlight to shine, whilst Paul Bettany is amazing as Vision who also gets the spotlight – with a highlight being Vision swallowing gum. The shared focus wasn’t something I thought would happen especially considering (you know) Vision’s dead but I’m glad Vision is given the chance to shine. Kathryn Hahn is also very impressive as Agnes, and brings the natural comedic element to the show.
Not only did Wanda and Vision get more of the spotlight, but we also got to see their comedic sides, something that was a joy to watch. Although, the show has rightly focused on Wanda and Vision, I hope we get to see more of Monica Rambeau so we can come to love her before we see her in Captain Marvel 2.