This review of the Disney+ original series WandaVision contains minor spoilers — proceed with caution!
Like millions globally, Marvel Studios was forced to delay their schedules due to the pandemic; thus, 2020 was a rather dry year for the entertainment company.
However, as of today, Marvel super-fans are no longer suffering — their hunger for new content is over.
On January 15, Disney+ released a two-episode premiere of the Marvel spinoff series WandaVision. The series follows newlywed superheroes Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) and Vision (Paul Bettany) as they navigate an idealistic suburban lifestyle. As they travel through the decades, the pair begin to speculate that things are not as they seem.
The first episode, titled “Episode 1” takes us back to the 50s. The pilot, directed by Matt Shakman and written by show-runner Jac Schaeffer, takes influence from the well-known sitcom I Love Lucy. Not only is the episode in black and white, but there is also an actual live audience that reacts in real-time to the classic, silly jokes and antics that were seen during the Golden Age of TV.
The episode follows the superhero duo as they settle into their new home in the fictional town of Westview. Viewers are introduced to a new character, Agnes (Kathryn Hahn). Agnes is their neighbor who quickly befriends Wanda.
While it is exciting to see this iconic and almighty superhero pair back together, Kathryn Hahn stole the show. Agnes is a comedic delight, bringing massive energy and hilarity to the series. It is uncertain whether she has a larger role or not, but I think she does. There is no way Marvel can introduce this mysterious, amusing character as a red herring — she has to have a deeper connection to everything going on.
The essence of the first episode revolves around Wanda and Vision playing house and hosting a dinner party for Vision’s boss Mr. Hart and his wife. Without spoiling the first episode, here are the only three things I have to say:
The second episode, titled “Episode 2” jumps ahead to the 1960s. The second episode is directed by Matt Shakman and written by Gretchen Enders. Not much has changed filming wise — still black-and-white and still the same fullscreen aspect ratio. However, this episode now parodies popular 60s sitcoms, such as The Dick Van Dyke Show and Bewitched.
The episode contains that same old-timey foolishness as Wanda and Vision do their best to fit in with their community. Agnes is back as her usual, pleasant self; however, a new significant character is introduced. Wanda meets Geraldine (Teyonah Parris), and the two become friends.
If you aren’t up to date with the casting announcements of the show, I won’t spoil you on who she is actually portraying. Trust me, though- it’s pretty exciting.
Although Parris doesn’t have tons to work with in her introduction, it is evident that her character is electrifying and well-performed. With her addition, she just might play a crucial part in deconstructing the mystery of the series.
This episode is fun, yet sprinkles in more eeriness than ever before. Rather than placing dramatic, Twilight Zone-esc moments at the end, they are distributed sporadically throughout the second episode. Thus, the plot starts to pick up, and fans can start coming up with theories and researching…much like I’ve been doing all day.
Overall, I am enjoying this show already. As a Marvel super-fan, I have been dying for new content - it's riveting that the post-Infinity Saga release is WandaVision. Not only is the show incredibly inclusive with a female lead, but it also illustrates a multiracial friendship during a time in which individuals of different races were often pitted against one another. For that reason alone, the period sitcom is innovative and futuristic.
WandaVision is far from Marvel’s first venture into television (see also Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Agent Carter, and Jessica Jones) and it’s already proven to be a huge success. Similar to The Mandalorian and other shows on the streaming service, WandaVision will follow a weekly episodic format. Though it is frustrating to have to wait for the remaining episodes, it gives the audience something to look forward to. Work hard the first four weekdays, and then, on Fridays, give yourself a chance to kick back, relax, and indulge in this bizarre multi-genre show.