WandaVision (Episodes 1-3) (2021) Early Review (Written By Hussain Alokaily)
If this is the creative direction Marvel is going on with Phase 4, consider me intrigued!
**Note: The following review will have no specific spoilers on plot points or hints of where the story goes. The first 3 episodes have been provided for review so this will be a general review of all 3 episodes with the focus of the review being on the first 2 episodes.**
WanadaVision is both the first part of the next phase of Marvel and the first Disney + Marvel series as all the episodes are directed by Matt Shakman and is starring Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Bettany, Kathryn Hahn, Teyonah Parris, and much more! Living idealized suburban lives, super-powered beings Wanda and Vision begin to suspect that everything is not as it seems.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe has dominated pop culture for the past 12 years with 23 films that all built up to a massive finale that satisfied everyone who followed the universe from the start. However, after Endgame being the movie it was, it was hard to see where else Marvel could go storywise which made feeling excited over the future of the universe really hard to do for a while. Things started to change when Disney announced they would be making shows for the streaming service Disney + that would feature different characters, try unique approaches to storytelling, and would connect directly to the films. One of these shows is WandaVison which is the very first one to come along which promised something we haven’t quite seen before in the MCU. After checking out the first 3 episodes of WandaVision, I’m happy to report that there’s a lot to be excited about again with the MCU. WandaVision is truly unlike anything Marvel has done and it builds a lot of excitement for the rest of the series to come!!
The MCU throughout its 23 films does have differences that set them apart from other films but the films have some similarities that carry over from film to film. The many things that usually carry over are approach to humor, cinematography, and even visuals and storytelling as it does make the films feel connected in a shared universe. This is where WandaVision separates itself from what Marvel usually does and instead, creates it’s most unique approach to storytelling yet. Matt Shakman really enhances this idea with his direction as the early episodes are in a Sitcom style that each represents a different era of Sitcoms and there is no setup this as it immediately throws you into the style. It really surprises the viewer how much it actually commits to that style as it’s shot like a sitcom of that era, looks like one, and even has a real laugh track audience there to really it feel that much more authentic. It feels separate from the MCU and really allow a story that promises to be psychedelic and strange to come to life.
This also carries over to the writing which also shows lots of promise here. The idea to literally throw the audience into the whole sitcom idea is something that works so well as it creates so much intrigue into where the story goes, why everything happens, and leaves each episode with something to discuss. What helps is that each episode has subtle nods to what direction the series could be heading in as the show takes a slow burn approach it’s taking so far as it builds up so much intrigue to the bigger picture. It’s defiantly going to be a show where it’s week to week release plan will help in making each episode standalone and ultimately letting fans discuss each episode with others. Aside from the overall picture of the story, the style of writing feels like something of each era they represent and the writing for the characters work really well. The show builds on the chemistry already seen between Wanda and Vision in the movies and seems to be exploring both characters in interesting directions going forward. As for some of the new characters so far introduced into the show, my favorite so far has to be Kathryn Hahn who a role who is both very fun and one with lots of mystery as to what direction her character goes on.
What makes the show work that much more is the production design and costume design as it perfectly captures the exact sitcom feeling it’s trying to capture. It has a home design that feels right at home with shows of its era and costumes and even hair and makeup that also makes each era standout. It overall makes each episode a different, exciting, and authentic feeling to its represented era.
Before closing off the review, I wanna briefly talk about the 3rd episode of the show. The first 2 episodes are dropping on Friday for everyone to watch but the 3rd episode will be dropping on January 22nd. There won’t be any spoilers for the third episode but what I wanna say is it’s an exciting episode that starts to make the slow burn approach feel rewarding. The nods it starts to bring in from the MCU itself and where the story goes for is going to be exciting. It truly made me excited to see the rest of the episodes going forward.
Overall, WandaVision shows that the MCU will be going in a new, unique direction that once again has captured my attention to where the story will go, through its great direction, writing, characters, and production design, WandaVision so far shows promise in being the return to the MCU after an unexpected break. Bring on the rest of the series because this is a promising start that is sure to make many MCU fans happy.
Stay tuned for weekly reviews of upcoming episodes!