After a year and change since the last Marvel Studios production, WandaVision is back to provide fans some desperately needed MCU (and comic book) goodness. WandaVision marks the first official Marvel Studios television effort under the supervision of Marvel head Kevin Feige.
The fates of ABC and Netflix productions like Agents of SHIELD, Daredevil, Luke Cage, The Punisher, etc. are very much in the air at this point so consider WandaVision the official cannon MCU TV show. Critics were asked to withhold detailed story points and spoilers, which is easy for this episode as there was very much an air of mystery around everything.
What I can safely say is that stars Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany likely had a lot of fun shooting this very original, high concept series that’s likely going to reward repeated viewing and an extended binge session once the season wraps.
The season premiere had a classic Bewitched, Donna Reed and I Love Lucy flavor and as a kid raised on classic sitcoms via Nick at Nite, this hit all the nostalgia buttons. If there was one definitive influence it’d be Bewitched thanks to the similarities with Wanda and Samantha’s powers.
In true 50s fashion, Vision is the breadwinner trying to impress his boss, Mr. Hart (Fred Melamed, In a World) and his wife (Debra Jo Rupp) while Wanda navigates her intrusive neighbor Agnes (Kathryn Hahn, Bad Moms). Hahn hammed it up in an era appropriate turn for the neighbor sidekick and she’s going to prove an invaluable cast member.
Maybe it’s because Wanda is not given a lot of lighthearted moments, but Olsen is the real surprise here with her comedic timing and impressive ease she translated Wanda’s ability creating gestures from throwing around Thanos to arranging dishes.
Bettany has shown a welcome chemistry with Olsen almost from their first interaction in Avengers: Age of Ultron. He also adds some fascinating shades of his established Vision performances in this sitcom environment keeping his movements just stiff enough to reinforce the notion that underneath the suit and hat he’s still the somewhat awkward Avengers android.
There’s at least one nod to the larger MCU and likely a few more Easter Eggs for attentive viewers. This is not like a typical MCU production and Director Matt Shankman (The Boys) does an excellent job of building that tension and uneasy feeling within the trappings of a perfectly normal 50s sitcom.
Writer/Showrunner Jac Shaeffer perfectly channels the flavor the respective era from the level of modesty to poking fun at the outdated societal norms within the household.
With a brief 26 minute run time, Marvel Studios was smart to run two episodes back-to-back for premiere week so audiences can get a better sense of the show, which already promises to be one of the most unique experiences we’ve seen so far in the MCU.
Rating: 8 out of 10
Photo Credit: Disney+