There have been countless endeavours by the Marvel Cinematic Universe to bring a fresh and unique take to proceedings with their beloved characters, but they’ve never done anything quite as intriguing as the new Disney+ exclusive series, WandaVision.
Going in, I honestly didn’t have much of an idea of what to expect. Vision had died as part of the events in the MCU movies, so exactly how he was going to be brought back was left up in the air.
Director Matt Shakman and Head Writer Jac Schaeffer have left the specifics to interpretation, but we are given some clues as to what’s going on here throughout the 40-minutes or so of the first two episodes.
In the first few moments however, I was left with just one thought: ‘What the f*** is going on?’
The classic television humour of 50s sitcoms is woven into the series from the get-go, with Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany expertly adapting to their new roles; so much so that the latter channels the late comedy great Rik Mayall throughout much of Episode 1 and in particular, the ‘drunken’ sections of Episode 2. It’s sheer genius.
This silly old-school and slapstick humour combines with the unchallenged sexism of the era to present an almost picture-perfect view of what life might have been like for any ‘normal’ couple at the time. Almost.
We as fans of the MCU of course know that danger lurks around every corner. When it becomes clear that it’s going to be trickier than Wanda and Vision could have imagined to keep their powers and identities hidden, a slight unravelling of this ‘perfect world’ begins to take place.
Has Wanda used the most powerful of her abilities to wrap herself up in an alternative reality, where she and Vision can live what she would perceive as a ‘normal’ life? It would appear so.
Though she has even pulled the wool over her own eyes, at times we can see the facade slip as Wanda’s mental health takes a turn for the worst and the reality of her situation dawns on her. The end of the second episode in particular shows just how far she’s willing to go to maintain the front, stopping Vision from discovering the truth when he spots the mysterious Beekeeper from Nick Fury’s new organisation, S.W.O.R.D. (Sentient World Observation and Response Department).
Of course, there’s always the opportunity that something more sinister is going on. In Episode 2, we hear a voice reaching out to Wanda through the radio, asking “Who’s doing this to you Wanda?” Has she really got control of the world around her, or is she a part of somebody else’s simulation that Fury’s organisation is actually trying to free her from?
When Vision’s boss repeatedly demanded to know exactly why the pair had moved into the area, he began to choke on a piece of sausage at the dinner table. Was it Wanda who had caused the distraction from the question, or somebody else to stop them from figuring out their strings were being pulled? It’s a little more outlandish than the simple Wanda explanation, but we know to expect the unexpected from the MCU.
One thing’s for sure: this is the most interesting project that Marvel have worked on for some time. It genuinely feels like a completely fresh take
WandaVision Episodes 1 and 2 are available now on Disney+, with new episodes coming to the streaming platform every Friday.