WandaVision is weird, in a ‘goodly’ and ‘bigly’ way, and it’s a shame that it isn’t available to stream all at once. Around a month ago we had predicted that WandaVision would be a strange new gateway to the MCU’s next phase and may be using some iconic comic book storylines like House of M, Vision (2015) and Avengers Disassembled to create something more, unique and fantastic. Now, with the first two episodes of the series dropping on Disney+ Hotstar, and given the truckload of easter eggs included in them – we may have been bang on! Which is a good thing, since it’s a positive indication of the places Marvel Cinematic Universe’s (MCU) new Phase is willing to go – while staying true to its source material.
In case you’re the TL:DR types, WandaVision is a fantastic start to Disney+ MCU, and it is great to see that Kevin Feige and his team are willing to take risks with the vision (heh!) and scale of MCU and its characters.
The first two episodes, for anyone used to the standard MCU template, will be visually jarring and cerebrally disorienting. Set in black-and-white with a 4:3 aspect ratio like a 50s or 60s sitcom, this is not the MCU we are used to. There is no background provided, no recap, but a straight dive into the story. We see a married Vision and Wanda moving into a small suburban setting in the 1950s. Both our characters have their superpowers in place – be it Wanda’s reality bending skills, or Vision’s Vibranium based android superpowers. A bulk of the first two episodes is spent navigating this strange “Bewitched” neighbourhood, and this strange time and place – complete with ominously blinking Stark Industries toaster and Strucker watches commercials.
Paul Bettany and Elizabeth Olsen have delivered good ‘hammy’ performances, aligned to this format – and they are well-supported by a stellar cast. There’s Kathryn Hahn as the nosy neighbour Agnes, Fred Melamed as Vision’s boss in a computational firm that does nothing, and our favourite mom from the 70’s – Debra Jo Rupp. The entire casting sheet alone should get fans excited for what’s to come in the series.
We see a married Vision and Wanda moving into a small suburban setting in the 1950s. Both our characters have their superpowers in place – be it Wanda’s reality bending skills, or Vision’s Vibranium based android superpowers.
As you start watching WandaVision, you will be asking questions immediately. The first one being, how (spoiler if you’ve been living under a rock past four years) is Vision still alive post the events of Infinity War? Just as you begin to think all of this is an imaginary construct in Wanda’s mind – there are ‘Easter Eggs of tangibility’ thrown your way! The directors and writers keep you both disoriented, on your toes and invested through the first two episodes. I won’t linger on further on the events in the episode, but I will mention that Disney+ only gave us the setup so far – and that setup is totally worth your time.
Which also brings me to my “boomer” gripe with WandaVision – if there was one show that NEEDED TO BE BINGED this past year, this was it. Therefore, it is a great disservice to both the show and the MCU that we will have to wait week-on-week for the show to play out. Sure, last year two terrific shows The Boys and The Mandalorian followed the serialized template – but their premise wasn’t hung upon the mystery they had to offer. WandaVision is hinging on that mystery – so it is only fair that we get know what’s going on NOW, and not in a few weeks. It’s a streaming show, for God’s sake!