Marking a fresh start for the MCU, Arjumand Qobil reviews the first three episodes of WandaVision
The recent release of Marvel’s new project, WandaVision, sees Wanda and Vision settled in the apparent idyll of Westview, trying to live an ordinary suburban life without giving the secrets of their powers away to the rest of the world. The release of this show seems to set the tone of the future of the MCU with Marvel trying to push the boundaries of their content by moving away from the typical superhero film and blending it with different genres.
WandaVision is the first introduction to something that feels refreshing, at least regarding the first few episodes. From script, to delivery, to lighting, to cinematography, to aspect ratio, each episode is a pitch-perfect but loving parody of classic sitcoms. It’s delightful to see the characters poke fun at the styles of different eras in each episode, from the 50s’ Dick Van Dyke, to the 60s’ Bewitched and currently the 70s’ Brady Bunch. On top of this, we feel like we are watching The Truman Show spun out over a dozen instalments, as pennies half-drop and occasional dots start to join up. We find ourselves questioning this eluded sense of things being a little out of place as we cannot ignore the mysterious man in the beekeeping suit or gloss over strange messages transmitted over the radio.
In terms of the content, the parodies are fantastic fun. The jokes are tasteful and the performances and chemistry between Olsen and Bettany are sweet and endearing. The darker undertones give it heaviness and texture that invite you in deeper with every episode. The light and the dark are woven seamlessly together, and the parodic element is never just a gimmick.
Nevertheless, I can see why there have been mixed responses to the show. Some people found it hard to adjust to the sitcom style, expecting for more of the usual Marvel-packed action. Several viewers have dismissed it as boring as the first few episodes give no element of the powerful and heroic Wanda and Vision dynamic that we are used to. Instead, we get to see them for what they wanted to be – just an ordinary and happy couple.
WandaVision is the first introduction to something that feels refreshing
I too was sceptical of the new style Marvel decided to opt for, but as I have come to understand the story more, the more I realise it makes sense for them to do it this way. This is about Wanda’s grief and coping with the loss of Vision after the events of Avengers: Endgame, and I think this is a wonderful way to portray that pain. Grief is not going to be thrilling fight sequences full of AI robots and evil aliens. This is the life she wanted with Vision and the one she could’ve had if it wasn’t for Thanos. The added obstacle that Wanda does her best to remake reality whenever she sees unsettling things, shows she is not willing to go back to a reality where her loved ones are dead. This is the aftermath of it all, which makes it more heart-breaking and impactful to watch than the usual Marvel action.
It is great to finally see two characters that haven’t had much spotlight in the MCU take centre stage and come into their own. I appreciate this contemporary approach Marvel has gone for and it will be interesting to see how the story unfolds over the remaining seven episodes.