Making a review of WandaVision is difficult when we have only been able to see the first episodes of the complete series. However, just by seeing the beginning, it can be said that Marvel and his team have configured an innovative product, perhaps not in form, but in substance and intentions. At the same time that a story that we all know from the source material of these characters is adapted, a unique tribute is made to the dawn of American comedy television.
By now everyone knows that this series comes with a particularity. Each of its episodes recalls the aesthetics and ways of making television of the past. While the first episode is a kind of tribute to the sitcoms of the fifties, the second does the same with the sixties and the third with the seventies, until it evolves into modernity. As the episodes progress, so do the image, format, production design, and even the actors’ histrionic methods.
It is not worth fooling yourself and assuring that the show is something different from what Marvel would have done before. At its core, WandaVision follows the same patterns that the Marvel Cinematic Universe has had so far, since under the wrapping is the true mystery of the series and an argument that will have a connection to the next installment of Doctor Strange. However, what Jac Schaeffer and Matt Shakman have achieved is to disguise everything with something not proven so far within the headquarters of the study.
The show follows in the footsteps of Wanda (Elizabeth Olsen) and Vision (Paul Bettany) as a happy newlywed couple, settling in a house located in the WestView suburbs. We soon discover that she has the ability to move things with her mind and he is actually an android, but despite everything, all they want is to fit in with their new neighbors and lead a normal life. So we see them struggling to organize a tangled dinner with the head of Vision; or trying to do the right thing to be accepted by the head of the neighborhood committee, among other situations that are just a distraction from something more sinister that happens in the background.
When considering developing a series focused on characters such as Wanda and Vision, it was almost mandatory to use and take illusions, apparent realities, costumes and everything that flees from reality as a starting point. Under this excuse, both Kevin Feige and Schaeffer, have the great point of using the sitcom format to create the aesthetics of the series and at the same time make reference to the culture of American television, precisely, with the first television series of this universe.
The effort to deliver a combination of genres, tributes, and inspirations is appreciated, while taking a further step in the plan laid out for Marvel’s fourth phase. However, what should be worth mentioning is the level of detail and commitment they have, as craftsmen, to achieve an atmosphere that is extremely successful in the sitcoms of yesteryear.
The opening episode serves perfectly to illustrate the care put in by Schaeffer and his team. From the music, the intros and even the staging made up of only three cameras, they speak directly to us about series like I Love Lucy, The Dick Van Dyke Show or The Brady Bunch. At all times, the space, the frames and the movements of the camera are taken care of to match in detail the ways in which comedy television was made during that time.
However, when doubts and sinister moments begin to appear in which both characters and audience realize that something is not going well, the style breaks and the sitcom disappears. The narrative raises alarms both in what is said and in what is seen. And despite the fact that during its first episodes the series focuses very little on solving or delving into the mystery, the viewing is satisfactory for its manufacture and for the impressive work of the actors.
In this regard, it is necessary to mention Elizabeth Olsen’s innate abilities for comedy. Her histrionic work evolves as the episodes do, and under her carefree and charismatic face, she manages to show with her eyes the bewilderment that the false reality that surrounds her awakens in her. For his part, Paul Bettany indulges in comedy and steals the second episode with a memorable talent show.
Although the one who should be mentioned above all is Kathryn Hahn, an actress who has generally gone unnoticed in supporting roles throughout her career. Although her character is also in the background here, without a doubt her role as the nosy, friendly, sarcastic and alcoholic neighbor, is the one who takes the best moments and the most accurate gags. Applause for his performance, as funny as it is dark, which ties in perfectly with the show’s undercover plot.
There is no doubt that WandaVision was the best production with which the fourth phase of the well-known superhero film universe could begin. It’s the boldest twist on Marvel’s formula and the riskiest creative step the studio has ever taken. Beyond the show trying to imitate the television styles of yesteryear, here they are taken as a reference to create something of their own. The comedy is cool, the slapstick and witty word games are present. And as a bonus, at the bottom is a mystery that will surely have us elaborating theories from here and until the end of the series.
The first two episodes of the WandaVision series will be available on Disney Plus starting January 15, with the rest arriving week by week.
Original title: WandaVision
Creators: Jac Schaeffer, Matt Shakman
Actors: Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Bettany, Kathryn Hahn, Teyonah Parris, Kat Dennings
Release date:January 15, 2021 (US)
Disney Plus elizabeth olsen marvel studios paul bettany vision WandaVision
Luis Angel H Mora My letter from Hogwarts never arrived, so I focused my life on the cinema. I like writing, Harry Potter, Doctor Who and the parties I get to be an astrologer. John Williams and The Killers musicalize the drama of my life.