Review: ‘WandaVision’ is a charming, mysterious kick-off for MCU’s Phase Four
The first outing for Marvel Studios on Disney+ has arrived with “WandaVision,” and with it, a fresh and surprising start to the next phase in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).
Arriving on the streaming platform on Jan. 15, this sitcom (a first for Marvel) sees Vision and Wanda Maximoff—two super-powered beings—attempt to live an idealized suburban life and blend in with their archetypal neighbors… until they suspect that not everything is as it seems.
Each of the nine episodes tackles a different era of sitcom history, but with an MCU spin. The first episode, which was filmed in front of a live studio audience, kicks off this idea in true “I Love Lucy” style, complete with all the practical effects, cheesy slapstick comedy and witty quips between Wanda and Vision.
For this review, I was able to screen the first three episodes of the series. With this being the first live-action TV outing for the MCU on Disney+, I have to say, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Usually, Marvel films adopt a certain tone that’s mostly consistent with each Super Hero’s respective franchise – but “WandaVision” is a breed all its own. I found the show to be consistently charming and funny, with just enough hints and teases as to the overall arc of the show and its connections to Phase Four as a whole to keep me guessing and wanting more.
The chemistry between Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany as the titular couple is where the show really finds its spark. Our star-crossed superhero lovers finally get a chance to enjoy domestic bliss, and Olsen and Bettany seem more than game to really play in this not-so-perfect sitcom world. Olsen fits each era of the episode perfectly as the “magical wife,” and Bettany nails the Dick Van Dyke-style comedy while keeping true to the Vision we know.
Each episode runs around 30 minutes in length, with multi-era antics permeating each one (as well as episode-specific theme songs from Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez of “Frozen”). The episodes also feature Twilight Zone-esque, eerie allusions to the post-Endgame world beyond this technicolor dream – but you’ll have to watch the show for yourself to see what they are, and what they could possibly spell for Wanda and her new domestic life.
“WandaVision” hints at a strange (pun intended) and sinister path in the MCU going forward. As this series explores Wanda’s trauma after the events of “Avengers: Infinity War” and “Avengers: Endgame,” and leads up to her appearance in Sam Raimi’s “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness,” which releases theatrically on March 25, 2022, it’s sure to only get weirder and darker from here.
“WandaVision” premieres on Disney+ on Jan. 15. You can check out the trailer below: