WandaVision: Marvel’s charming sitcom proves an astounding success
Phase IV of the MCU is here, and it kicks off with WandaVision, the first in a line of planned spin-off shows on Disney+. Starring titular superhero couple Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) and Vision (Paul Bettany), the new chapter in the saga sees the pair ditching their Avenger companions in favour of a normal(ish) life in a quaint American suburb. The show switches gears from big-budget cinematic spectacle to episodic sitcom in a huge departure from the classic Marvel fare. Despite many wondering whether the concept would work, the result – going by the first two episodes at least – is an astounding success.
The opening episodes, which take inspiration from classic 50s sitcom Bewitched (later episodes are set to homage other classic sitcoms from later decades), have a unique flavour that toys playfully with their source material. Though Wanda and Vision aren’t fighting world-destroying villains, seeing them haphazardly organise a last-minute dinner for the latter’s stone-faced boss (Fred Melamed) or rehearsing a magic act for a local talent show is a lot more entertaining than it sounds. Moreover, the series has some genuinely great jokes, too. The consequences of Vision inadvertently swallowing gum culminate in a hilariously unexpected climax, for example. The somewhat out-of-place one-liners in the Marvel films finally find a suitable home and the starring cast delivers them with irresistible charm.
Those already acquainted with the central pair will be familiar with their onscreen chemistry. And they’ll no doubt be glad to hear that their bond is just as strong here as it ever was on the big screen. It’s impossible not to get on board with this couple when they’re together.
Underneath the smiling faces and canned laughter, though, there’s something mysterious at play. When it surfaces in brief, surreal moments during these opening episodes the show becomes something more akin to Twin Peaks than Bewitched. While nothing about the strangeness has been given away just yet, it more than piques our interest for what’s to come with the rest of the season.
WandaVision may only have just begun, but it’s endearing, funny and mysterious enough to spark genuine curiosity for where it (and the rest of the MCU) could possibly go next.
WandaVision is released digitally on Disney+ on 15th January 2021.
Watch the trailer for WandaVision here: