SPOILERS for WandaVision
I was very excited this morning to see the premiere of the first two episodes of Marvel Studios new Disney + series, WandaVision. I am, of course, a huge mark for Marvel and the Marvel Cinematic Universe and it has been too long since Spider-Man: Far From Home. That was the last time that we had any new content from the studio. With Covid-19 playing chaos with the schedule, the anticipation for this show only grew. I am pleased to say that the anticipation was well worth it. I loved WandaVision and I am completely on board with what they are starting.
However, I can understand if there are people out there who will not love this as much as I do because there is no denying that this is Marvel Studios taking a huge swing and taking their universe into a direction that you have never seen before. It is totally weird, original, unexpected…all in the best ways.
When the people at Marvel Studios said that this was going to be a sitcom, they were telling you the truth. The first two episodes are clearly reminiscent of the TV days of I Love Lucy, Bewitched, I Dream of Jeannie, right down to the laugh track. The black and white helped set the tone of the series and it is unlike anything Marvel has tried up until now. It is a real gutsy move from Marvel to have this series be the first one out of the gate for the Disney + shows.
The show is an homage to the black and white sitcoms of the 50s and 60s. I was always a huge fan as a child of the reruns of these kind of shows so I enjoyed honoring them by including the sitcom tropes into this 2021 series. Plots of having to host a surprise dinner with the boss or perform at a city talent show are the type of plots one might have seen on these sitcoms.
Elizabeth Olson and Paul Bettany are absolute joys. They are clearly having a blast with these characters being placed in this setting. And they do it without sacrificing what made Wanda and Vision the fan favorite characters that they are. They fit seamlessly into the framework that the show is going for and I expect that their performances will only increase as the show progresses.
Kathryn Hahn as the nosy next door neighbor Agatha is a beautiful touch to the series. Her character is starting out as a trope herself, but there is so much more that is under the surface with Agatha that I am excited to see where this character is taken. I also loved having Debra Jo Rupp, a veteran of sitcoms from That 70s Show, appear as one of the women in the town of Westview. These touches really help to make WandaVision feel like a sitcom of the 1950s.
However, there are subtle (and some not so subtle) hints that there is something sinister going on with the show. It is not going to remain just a sitcom paying tribute to the days of TV lore. I would go as far as to say that there were a couple of distinctly creepy moments of reality among the black and white façade. When Mr. Hart (played by Fred Melamed) was choking, I was totally creeped out. There was a puppetmaster feel to the situation, as if someone was forcing him to choke, and the looks on the faces of Wanda and Vision truly helped cement the scene as bizarrely intense.
The appearance of the mysterious Beekeeper near the end of episode two was a moment that was really out there. The show does a remarkable job in such a few short, quick scenes of building the mystery of exactly what is happening to two of our favorites from the Avengers. There was also the radio that was asking Wanda what was happening. Another subtle point was the feel that the crowd at the talent show of people from Westview were more like the Stepford wives than we had expected. And the end of episode one with the person watching on the TVs gave a LOST vibe (and you know how much that hits with me).
When the second episode ended, I immediately wanted more. While I have been leaning more towards shows that are weekly in nature instead of the binge, WandaVision might have just made me reconsider that.
Oh, and I did not even mention the commercials. Yes, there is a commercial for each episode and I wonder how they may play into the narrative. A mini oven made by Stark Industries or a watch made by Strucker? The whole Strucker reference was great, since Baron von Strucker played a huge part in Wanda’s past.
I cannot wait until next Friday.