Wow, we have missed that Marvel Studios intro sting. Even when it performs in entrance of lesser MCU movies, in a previous life it often indicated that you simply had been about to observe a ludicrously costly superhero blockbuster on the large display – one thing we’ve not been in a position to do since July 2019. Simply listening to it initially of WandaVision, the primary ever Marvel Studios-produced canonical TV present, is oddly evocative, even should you’re only a informal Marvel fan.
The collection ready for you behind that emblem, nevertheless, is like nothing you’ve got seen within the MCU earlier than.
WandaVision is an odd choose for the primary MCU present to exit on Disney Plus, but it surely was by no means deliberate that approach. The Falcon and the Winter Soldier – a extra conventional-seeming present, that appears like a Captain America film unfold out over six episodes – was supposed to go first, and it is smart.
This can be a extra subversive and experimental present. It isn’t mind-blowingly unusual, however it’s an MCU present ostensibly offered as an American sitcom – or, slightly, a collection of sitcoms, because it progressively works its approach by means of riffs on yesteryear hits like I Dream of Jeannie and Bewitched (which, we’ll confess, we’re solely reasonably acquainted with).
In WandaVision, Avengers Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) and Imaginative and prescient (Paul Bettany) reside an idyllic life within the suburban city of Westview. The stakes of their on a regular basis lives are good and low: they attempt to preserve Imaginative and prescient’s secret of being a pink artificial being a secret, whereas Wanda tries to throw the proper feast for Imaginative and prescient’s new boss.
Every of the three episodes we have seen makes use of a well-known sitcom plot like this as a place to begin. Clearly, although, as has been hinted at extensively by the trailers for WandaVision, one thing weirder and darker is at work under the floor. Imaginative and prescient, as we all know, died – he was destroyed by Thanos on the finish of Avengers: Infinity Battle when the Thoughts Stone was faraway from his brow. We by no means received see Wanda actually grieve for him. Right here, he is seemingly alive, and the pair look like residing fortunately collectively.
We have got theories about what is going on on, based mostly on these first three episodes, however that thriller is basically the crux of the present.
What’s stunning is how firmly WandaVision commits to being a sitcom. It isn’t all that hilarious, however Olsen and Bettany have strong chemistry, and a lot cash has clearly been spent on nailing the look of the exhibits to which it is paying homage.
In the event you’re anticipating superhero battles aplenty, it is actually not that type of present – not but, anyway. A big a part of every episode actually is devoted to a goofy sitcom plot, undesirable appearances from neighbors (together with Kathryn Hahn, who you may really feel such as you’ve seen in 1,000,000 nice sitcoms) and foolish snapshots of suburban residing. Facet notice: it is actually cool that actress Emma Caulfield, who performed Anya in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, is a part of the forged on this present.
WandaVision’s thought of utilizing an outdated sitcom aesthetic to cover darker secrets and techniques is not new: every part from the film Pleasantville to the sport Fallout 3 to an episode of Scrubs have tapped into this concept earlier than. Nonetheless, the best way it is layered in right here as the idea for a thriller drama is genuinely creative – and when the present decides to take a dramatic flip, it truly is stunning and efficient.
For the MCU – which regularly feels prefer it’s repeating itself in relation to how the films are filmed or set piece concepts – WandaVision’s stylistic decisions end in one thing that feels actually towards kind. The present additionally will get bonus factors for having faux, period-accurate commercials that attract some good references from the broader MCU.
Pleasingly, these are a few of the solely references to the remainder of the canon in these opening episodes of WandaVision – the present is far more involved with drawing focus in on its titular characters, and investing time of their characterization that you simply by no means received to take pleasure in within the motion pictures. That is an enormous power that we hope to see the opposite MCU exhibits replicate.
Whereas we’re certain content-deprived MCU followers are going to lap WandaVision up, it is truthful to say that that is nonetheless a little bit uncommon for Marvel’s first step into TV. It would not really feel like a ‘flagship’ present in the best way The Mandalorian was for the Star Wars universe. In truth, if this was the primary big-budget present Disney Plus had launched with again in 2019, it could’ve appeared a little bit weird as a solution to get subscribers excited.
As a part of the broader MCU, although, this experimental collection feels refreshingly completely different to the 23 motion pictures you’ve got already seen time and again. We’re curious to see how the thriller unravels over the approaching weeks.