Before or after reading this review, I recommend watching the show to formulate your own opinion. Also, it would be a good idea to catch up on the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) to understand the show better.
On January 15, 2021, Marvel Studios released the two premiere episodes of their new show WandaVision. This series is a unique take on the ideas of classic American television, as it takes you through the different decades of TV history. Between the monochrome coloring, the 4:3 aspect ratio and the basic silly sound effects, the first two episodes at least completely cover you with nostalgic and reminiscent feelings. So far in the story, it is about Wanda and Vision living the ideal life in a sitcom style TV series.
WandaVision was created, written and produced by Jac Schaeffer. The first two episodes were directed by Matt Shakman. The main cast include Elizabeth Olsen’s Wanda Maximoff, Paul Bettany as Vision and their nosey neighbor Agnes, played by Kathryn Hahn. Also in the first episode, there are guest stars Debra Jo Ruppas as Mrs. Hart and Fred Melamed as Mr. Hart.
Each episode has a $25 million budget, and is the first content to come out of the MCU since Spiderman: Far From Home, which was released all the way back on July 2, 2019. (As you can guess, COVID-19 heavily affected their 2020 cinematic release schedule.)
Episode 1 of WandaVision, interestingly titled Filmed Before a Live Studio Audience, takes place in the 1950s. It is about Wanda and Vision preparing to host dinner for a guest. The problem is, though, they forget who. Only a heart on their calendar gives them a clue as to what is so special. So they continue with their days, wondering what it meant. But as Vision was at work, he realized suddenly what it meant. It was about how his boss, Mr. Hart, and his wife, Mrs. Hart, were coming over. On the other hand, Wanda, who is with Anges, their nosy neighbor, thinks it is their anniversary. Agnes and Wanda have no idea of what Vision discovered, so they prepare for an anniversary, while Vision sits nervously at work hoping Wanda knows what he does. So obviously, when Vision comes home with his employer, and Wanda has everything for an anniversary, there are many issues. Both Wanda and Vision rush into the kitchen, and try to solve the situation at hand. Luckily, everything works out, and at the conclusion, Vision somehow still has his job. Then the episode properly ends with them both questioning their anniversary, and when exactly did they get married (also they had no rings). They realize that they don’t have either of these things, so Wanda magically poofs some into existence, and the episode has a little outro ending. This leaves you the viewer wondering if any of this world is really, well… real.
This first episode helped set the tone of the show, really instilling that this series will be the most unique thing to come out of Marvel. Even though it is full of clichés and tropes, there is something so unique about watching a show like this from modern Hollywood. It is simple, yet elegant. The idea that their world may be unreal is even more fascinating. After Avengers: Endgame, as some of you may know, Wanda lost everything, including Vision. So the fact that he is back definitely shows something is up, but don’t act like episode two gives us any answers.
Don’t Touch That Dial is the second episode of the series. It follows a pretty similar story structure, as it creates a problem to be solved later by them later. In this episode, both Wanda and Vision are preparing for a local talent show. Vision is the lead wizard, while Wanda is the sidekick, as they put on a magic act for the community. The problem this time, though, is that while out with some friends, Vision chews on some gum, and by an almost insane chance, swallows it. And if you’re not as big of a Marvel fan as me, you may not know that Vision is a synthetic human created by Tony Stark and Bruce Banner in Avengers: Age of Ultron, meaning he can’t eat. So when he swallows the gum, he malfunctions, causing him to be in an almost drunk daze. As you probably could easily predict, it causes the talent show to almost go into disarray, but luckily Wanda is there to save the day, as she uses her powers to keep all of his mistakes in check. The show goes well, and everything is happily ever after. At least, you would hope. Just like the last episode, the ending of this episode makes you question their world, because as they are home, they see a mysterious bee keeper comes from nowhere, out of the pothole in their street. Then, they go back into their home, see the world around them turn to color, and notice that Wanda is pregnant. That’s a lot, right? As the show goes on, I expect it to get wackier and wackier.
If you watch the second episode, you can see that it does a lot of work to open up and expand the world of WandaVision. You truly begin to understand that their world may not be as it seems. The theory so far is that Wanda, who is a powerful sorcerer, created her own world to live the perfect life with her love, Vision. But the situation is that she is having a problem maintaining the continuity and consistency of the reality, causing there to be glitches (almost like the Matrix, but that’s a bit of a stretch).
The show’s plan is to bring you through the past, showing you the different possibilities of the perfect life. The idea is that according to Wanda, these were the best times in history to represent the American Dream, and that is why she chose the setting.
WandaVision releases a new episode every Friday, exclusively on Disney+. The show will have 9 episodes, and will air until March 5, 2021.
Here are my picks of movies to help you understand WandaVision better:
Avengers: Age of Ultron
Avengers: Infinity War
Marvel Studio’s Legends (there is an episode for Wanda and Vision)