Coming off the back of Avengers Endgame, Marvel Studies took a swift change of directions, departing for a list of Disney + projects that attempted to interplay the realm of cinema to the small screen of television and distancing itself from the range of branded productions that dominated Netflix queues for years. It’s safe to say none of these past attempts to dominate television ever caught on to a wide-ranging success. Although exciting for providing Marvel fans with more content, shows like Jessica Jones and Luke Cage despite having excellent lead performances were quite easily forgettable.
So, what would make their new Disney+ shows memorable? After producing one of the highest grossing films of all time, what would make a 9-part series about two of the franchises less appreciated characters resonate with audiences? WandaVision kicked off the Marvel/Disney+ era with a bang and easily answered these questions and beyond. It can easily be described as an incredibly ambitious, postmodern venture of sitcom tropes laced together with the superhero genre classic conventions of costumes and explosions. A mixture of the sort that as expected to be met with confusion, actually has been widely adored by TV nerds such as myself.
The series itself follows quite soon after the events of Endgame and opens with Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) and Vision (Paul Bettany) living their 1950s married life bliss in a black and white sitcom while keeping with all the classic tropes of a cheesy theme song, a nosy neighbour (Kathryn Hahn’s Agnes), managing life in a small suburban town, oh- and ensuring their identity as a powerful witch and android remain a secret. However, as the show proceeds through the decades, it becomes apparent that the life of domestic tranquillity is not all it seems, and the threads of their perfect life begin to unravel.
Although slow building to the true nightmare behind the marital fantasy, each episode stands very solidly on its own, each styled and polished to perfection to fit with the evolving sitcom styles. Every half an hour is as close to pitch-perfect as I have seen in a very long time with every piece of the show falling very brilliantly into place as we watch Wanda’s illusion unravels and paranoia reaches a peak.
Of course, the big unanswered question is, first of all, Vision is dead. He was one of the few in Endgame that remained dead after everyone that was blipped away was returned. As we watch the trends change, new stories arise audiences are well aware something is wrong. It feels very resemblant to the Truman show and as glimpses of reality start to show, Wanda continually tries to push this further away. She has the love of her life, children, twin brother who had been killed Avengers Age of Ultron and all the trauma in her life disappeared, What could possibly be wrong with that? This reality of her own creation has been built in a real town, as real people become her background actors. Eventually, cracks begin to show.
I thought before watching that this was a weird show to start with but I was happily proved wrong as both Wanda and Vision have risen to the top of my ranking of marvel characters with finally time for both talented actors to develop their storylines and for audiences to see their chemistry take centre stage and not as a side-lined plot for Captain America or Ironman. Both actors clearly know what they’re doing but more importantly where they want the characters to go and it shows. Elizabeth Olsen especially has stood out not just as one of the strongest heroes on the screen but as one of Marvels greatest talents. For what could be a very heart-breaking story of a woman who has lost everything, has a multidimensional arc with emotional truths and comedic relief.
It wouldn’t be a marvel project without easter-eggs to other projects and understandings only hardcore fans will pick up on. However, this show found its footing within the first episode and remains one of the best shows I’ve seen in the past year. You don’t have to be a Marvel fan or know the characters to enjoy this show and I would recommend it to anyone. WandaVision has been an absolute joy that has set the standard very high for Marvel’s next projects.