Last year, was an uneventful one for the development of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). After the events from Endgame, the MCU wrapped up its third phase and left us with a drought of content regarding earth's mightiest heroes. Black Widow was supposed to kickstart us into Marvel’s phase-four, but due to COVID-19 the project was postponed so what propels the fandom into a new phase, is Marvel’s first (official non-Netflix) series WandaVision, and just like everything that Kevin Feige touches it looks amazing and bound to leave fans satisfied.
Created by Jac Shaeffer (The Hustle, Captain Marvel), directed by Matt Shakman (The Good Guys, Mad Men, The Boys) the series brings Elizabeth Olsen (Old Boy, Ingrid Goes West, I Saw the Light) reprising her role as Wanda Maximoff, and Paul Bettany (Uncle Frank, The DaVinci Code, A Beautiful Mind) reprising his role as Vision. Accompanied by Debra Jo Rupp, Kat Dennings, Fred Melamed, Randall Park, Teyonah Parris, and Kathryn Hahn Marvel’s first original series inserts us into the life of domestic bliss that Wanda and Vision are sharing, and it looks very, VERY, promising.
In the two-episode premiere, the show looks like something straight out of the ’60s and informs us that while they are not traveling in time, different periods will be depicted during the show. With clever writing, exceptional acting, familiar shot composition, accurate scenarios, wardrobe, laugh tracks, soundtrack, and the characters' speeches/enunciation the show does not mimic series from that time but instead feels like a flattering homage to shows from the '60s. The writers need to be applauded on how they rightfully circumvent the outdated jokes (read sexism), cliches (read “I hate my wife jokes”), and zeitgeist (read inequality) from that period, while transporting fans to an earlier age of television.
Clearly “Bewitched” was one of the biggest inspirations for the two-episode premiere, while the original show had the powerful witch portraying your run-of-the-mill housewife, who married your everyday man, here we have one of the most powerful MCU characters in existence and one of Earth’s mightiest hero (who might look like your everyday man next to Wanda’s power) living what look like at glance an uneventful suburban life. How powerful and unhuman these characters are, make the archaic and otherwise cringy jokes feel funny and fresh, plus the comedic timing and delivery of the cast is superb.
WandaVision is not strictly a comedy by any means, but it’s just funny to see these absurdly surreal characters in some of the most mundane/cliché portrayals of a household that TV has ever come up with. Yes, there are some “dad jokes”, but there are also smart jokes that play directly to the peculiarities of the characters, and do not feel unnatural or out of place.
Encapsulating dated sense of humor in an elegant fashion is not the only thing the show has to offer, at the end of episodes we are left with small easter-eggs, enough content to obsess and theorize around, and a behind the curtains intimate look at the life of an unusual couple. Still, what made me intrigued is how effortlessly the show shifts to more serious and eerie feelings, that not only alarm Wanda and Vision but also informs the audience that something is off and that perfect looking suburban life might not be what it seems.
All in all, we get to see a different side of Wanda and Vision different than what was showcased so far in the MCU. Without spoiling the show, both episodes are extremely fun and entertaining, but the “Magic Act” from episode two was the highlight of the premiere for me. Of course, I have my own theories about characters, and what color represents in the show, how this will all tie up to “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness”, and expectations of which arcs will make it into the show, but that might be worth its own article.
This show proves once again that Kevin Feige is one of the best at satisfying movie fans and comic book fans alike. His specialty is creating original content and delivering faithful depictions of iconic story arcs for the most beloved heroes of all time, and WandaVision is a new testament to Feige’s (backed by Disney and Marvel) ability to consistently deliver entertainment. It is too soon to attest to the quality of the entire season, but with an amazing premiere, big expectations were created.
It’s refreshing to see Disney take such a bold and quirky approach to tell the story of this couple. For years on end, I’ve been complaining about how unoriginal content from big entertainment moguls have become, so to see the risks they’ve taken and how original the show is, feels like a gift that was tailored towards me.
As a Marvel fan, I can’t help but be on the hype train and hope that future episodes are as good, or better than the ones we have at the moment. Even if you’re not that familiar with the characters outside the MCU, I still highly recommend the show.