By Jihan Moon,
Warning: slight spoilers for episodes one through four and previous Marvel films.
After an excruciating year and a half since the last Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) outing, Marvel fans have been gifted with the easter egg-filled mystery, “WandaVision.” The miniseries, created by Jac Schaeffer (“Captain Marvel”) and directed by Matt Shakman (“It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”), premiered Jan. 15 on Disney+.
As the first Marvel Disney+ show, “WandaVision” marks the start of a thrilling new phase of the MCU. It is darker and stranger than previous films in this franchise and shows a depth of storytelling that appears in few other Marvel films.
The series takes place a few weeks after the events of “Avengers: Endgame.” Newlyweds Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) and Vision (Paul Bettany) arrive in a sitcom-styled Westview, New Jersey. As they try to assimilate to their new lives, things go awry.
Outside of Wanda and Vision’s sitcom world, SWORD agent Monica Rambeau (Teyonah Parris) teams up with FBI agent Jimmy Woo (Randall Park) and astrophysicist Darcy Lewis (Kat Dennings) to figure out how to stop the simulation.
The show grapples with the effects of grief by juxtaposing Wanda and Monica’s responses to the deaths of people they love. While Wanda suffers through other-wordly denial, Monica pours herself into helping others, particularly Wanda, get better.
Not much happens in the first two episodes, but the delightful mood of the 1950s and ’60s sitcom-style episodes is just what you need to get out of your quarantine blues.
After a slow first few episodes, “WandaVision” picks up the pace in episode three. Episodes three through seven surprise and entertain with sinister, whimsical twists and turns.
The show gradually and masterfully hooks the viewer in with a series of proposed questions. What is up with all the sitcoms? Who made this sitcom world and why are Wanda and Vision in it? Didn’t Vision die at the end of “Avengers: Infinity War“?
More questions are raised as the series progresses and while some answers are given, are the provided answers the truth or are they intended to mislead? We will not know until the show ends on March 5.
Olsen and Bettany show off their massive ranges as actors. Not only are they tasked to deviate between different sitcom acting styles while keeping their characters consistent, they have to switch between several different genres: comedy, drama and horror, to name a few.
The rest of the cast also shines, particularly the grounded, determined Parris and playful Kathryn Hahn as Wanda and Vision’s next door neighbor, Agnes Harkness.
Major props are to be given to the entire crew who recreated the sitcom styles of such varied shows as “The Dick Van Dyke Show,” “Bewitched,” “The Brady Bunch,” “Family Ties,” “Malcolm in the Middle” and “Modern Family.” From the costumes to the production design to the theme songs by Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez (“Frozen”), every period-specific aspect is perfectly singular and enthralling.
If “WandaVision” forecasts what the future of the MCU holds, then I could not be more excited.
Check out the first seven episodes of “WandaVision” on Disney+ right now, with new episodes airing on Feb. 26 and March 5.