WandaVision: A Delightfully Weird New Direction For The MCU
Somehow we’ve managed to go a whole rotation around the sun without any new Marvel Cinematic Universe content.
Thankfully, society didn’t completely collapse in the absence of our favourite heroes, but it’s still a delight to welcome the first MCU TV show: WandaVision.
Was it worth the wait? Well, in a word, yes. WandaVision is a joy to watch, being fantastically funny, suitably sinister, and seriously compelling.
Reuniting the Avengers’ star-crossed lovers Vision (Paul Bettany) and Wanda (Elizabeth Olsen), WandaVision opens with the pair in black and white wedded bliss in a clear parody of the iconic sitcom I Love Lucy.
From there though, things start to get weird, very weird, as Vision and Wanda find themselves living out a parody of a classic TV plot seemingly with no memory of their superhero lives or the fact that Vision, is you know, dead.
To say any more would be a spoiler, but needless to say things only get stranger from there.
I must admit, despite Marvel Studio’s stellar track record for quality (Thor: The Dark World aside), I was interested to see how the studio would approach TV. It’s a very different medium from film after all, and I didn’t know how these characters would translate from the silver screen to the small screen (shrinking, after all, isn’t a power either possesses).
Of course, I needn’t have worried, the show is sensational in all regards. WandaVision is wonderfully written, managing to be both a surprisingly funny parody of the sitcoms of yesteryear, while also a compelling mystery at the same time.
It’s actually surprisingly scary at times and I was a big fan of whenever Wanda and Vision would have a moment of clarity, realising something is wrong with this world they find themselves living in. The way the canned laughter continues as the panic sets in is really disconcerting and dreadfully effective.
There’s something sinister at the heart of WandaVision that, after watching the first three episodes, I can’t quite put my finger on. It’s tonally at odds with the sweet and saccharine world the pair are living in, but it’s super compelling to watch.
Not that the mystery is the only reason you won’t be able to stop watching WandaVision, because the production itself is lavish, with each of the different sitcoms parodied lovingly recreated by the team at Marvel. The show is clearly a tribute to the bygone days of television and classic sitcoms like I Love Lucy, Bewitched, and The Brady Bunch.
Obviously though, this isn’t just a show for fans of old sitcoms, and there’s more than a few Easter eggs scattered about for the discerning Marvel fan to uncover if they have a keen eye and a quick hand on the remote to pause proceedings.
One of the greatest things about WandaVision, however, is the pair at the centre of it; Bettany and Olsen sparkle on screen together in a way they’ve never quite managed to before. Sure, they’ve always been key members of The Avengers, but it’s nice to see the pair, who have long been overshadowed by Earth’s other mightiest heroes, get their time to shine.
Don’t let Wimbledon fool you, Bettany is a fantastically funny actor, and he’s brilliant in this. It’s nice to see him delivering proper gags as opposed to the slightly ironic, too cool for school asides that have become a trademark of the MCU.
The real star of the show is Olsen, this is her show after all (It’s WANDAVision not VISIONWanda), and while she’s just as funny as Bettany she has to do a bit more of the heavy lifting as the weirdness permeating the world they live in makes itself more and more obvious.
The reason that I’m so taken with WandaVision is that the concept is really odd, in a really good way. It’s interesting in a way Marvel hasn’t been before. Sure, they’ve always been great at ‘spectacle,’ but let’s be honest, after Endgame they couldn’t rely on spectacle alone to get by.
After all, it won’t be easy to top the portals scene at the end of the Infinity Saga and I don’t think they should try to. Not every TV show and film should end in a great big punch up in a blown-up car park, so how does Marvel maintain the hype?
Well, after watching WandaVision, I think they’re going to take a leaf from their source material and start exploring the wacky and bizarre concepts that could only be born from the pages of a comic book, or at least I hope they are after watching the first few episodes of this wonderful show.
If I had any issues with the show I do think the weirdness might put some people off (as will the black and white of the first two episodes, unfortunately). I also have a creeping suspicion that if you’re not 100% up to date on the MCU you’ll have as much chance of following the show as I do of understanding the offside rule.
WandaVision is streaming on Disney+ from 15 January 2020
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