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WandaVision review: Marvel returns with its riskiest release yet

WandaVision review
Paul Bettany and Elizabeth Olsen in WandaVision. Pic credit: Marvel Studios

WandaVision hit Disney+ on January 15 with the first MCU action since Spider-Man: Homecoming in 2019. However, this might not be what fans expected — at least not at first.

WandaVision brings back two Avengers, Wanda Maximoff (The Scarlet Witch) and The Vision. However, since The Vision died in Avengers: Infinity War, that leaves several questions for this series to answer.

What might take some fans back is that the answers are not coming at the beginning.

Monsters & Critics had a chance to view the first three episodes of the series, two of which hit on January 15 and the third, which arrives on January 22, and here is what you can expect.

WandaVision on Disney+ review

It is hard to judge WandaVision from the start, outside of warning fans to remain patient with this series. This is not something that throws down the Marvel action from the start.

Much like The Mandalorian, WandaVision is a weekly show, just like network television. Like The Mandalorian, each episode is about a half-hour in length, with a total of nine episodes.

It wasn’t until the end of the third episode that the truth behind the series was revealed, but we won’t go into that here to avoid spoilers for that third episode.

Instead, the first three episodes are mostly a chance for showrunners to flex their muscles by putting these two Avengers heroes into a sitcom world — one that flies through three decades in the first three episodes.

There are glimpses of The Dick Van Dyke Show, Leave it to Beaver, Bewitched, and others from the ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s. This allows Wanda (Elizabeth Olsen) and Vision (Paul Bettany) to show off their comedic timing in the television settings from yesteryear.

The first episode is a straight sitcom. Vision is trying to get comfortable in his new job, although he has no idea what the company he works for does. Meanwhile, Wanda is a housewife who seems almost as confused as Vision about the entire situation.

It isn’t until the second episode that it appears something is wrong when someone shows up in the town that clearly doesn’t belong there and is immediately sent away as the episode rewinds and changes the events. That is where the mystery arises, and it finally reveals more at the end of the third episode.

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The big risk is losing fans before it reaches this point, and hopefully, viewers will stick it out.

Both Bettany and Olsen are great in these roles, and the episodes are short enough that it is an easy watch. It is just a little harder to wait week by week for more of the story to unfold in today’s world of instant streaming. Still, as The Mandalorian showed, this brought back the wonderful watercooler conversations each week and people anxiously awaiting the next episode to air.

There is a mystery here. What is holding Vision and Scarlet Witch in this town, which started as a black and white Leave it to Beaver world before switching to the colored world of the third episode where Wanda and Vision receive a huge surprise.

Everything here is entertaining, especially Bettany’s performance of The Vision, whether he is trying to impress his boss or slowly breaking down due to a mishap with some chewing gum. Olsen is also solid as Wanda, as she flips from winsome and almost ditsy to deadly serious and a little scary.

Anyone who reads comics knows that Wanda is not a reliable hero and has done terrible things while trying to find happiness. The idea of her creating a new world in House of M plays strongly here with what is clearly a fake community, including several people who seem to know something is wrong but are afraid to say anything about it.

These side characters are also well drawn in the first episodes.

Agnes (Kathryn Hahn) is great as the over-the-top nosy neighbor, although she clearly knows something isn’t right here. Teyonah Parris is also introduced in the second episode, although her true identity is not revealed until the third episode.

Even smaller cast members like the townspeople are great at playing their roles while acknowledging that something isn’t right through movements and reactions.

Whether or not Wanda is the bad guy here or if something else is pulling the strings will play out as the season wears on. As long as people are patient and enjoy these first three episodes for what they are, a loving homage to classic sitcoms with something dark under the hood, this is a show worth watching and is very entertaining.

WandaVision final thoughts

There is a lot to love about WandaVision.

The acting is tremendous, with Bettany and Olsen a joy to watch as they stumble through sitcom situations. However, watch closely and see Bettany show a lot of uncertainty as Vision and Olsen show there is more to her than meets the eye.

There is also some fun fake commercials in each episode with Easter eggs thrown in there that might all mean something by the time the mystery clears up.

WandaVision might be the perfect way to start Phase 4 of the MCU, and if the predictions are true, and Wanda caused all this to happen, it could set up a very different world when the rest of the movies and Disney+ shows start to arrive.

WandaVision premiered on January 15, 2021, on Disney+.

Shawn S. Lealos


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