What’s up Coogs! The start of a new year brings many new things but for Marvel fans, it means the launch of WandaVision. Marvel’s first (official) foray into the small screen, will be a weekly sitcom show airing every Friday on Disney Plus.
Although originally slated to be released in the middle of the Phase 4 Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) timeline. The coronavirus pandemic has heavily affected the movie industry, shifting the MCU schedule — making WandaVision the launch off point for the entire Phase 4 timeline.
Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany return as the titular characters Wanda and Vision. The return of Vision has driven Marvel fans crazy with speculations and theories across social media platforms. Fans of the show will have 9 episodes to agonize over hidden clues and cliffhangers.
So, let’s look at the first two episodes of Marvel’s WandaVision. (Just a heads up we will not be talking about spoilers on the top half of this review. We will have a clearly marked spoiler warning before talking about any of the big mysteries or theories of the show at the bottom.)
Before we even get started, let’s talk about one thing. Did anyone else get goosebumps when they heard the Marvel Cinematic Universe intro pop up again? Hearing the intro and seeing the MCU logo flash across the screen brought back all the joy that 2020 sapped out of me.
The show takes a unique and creative perspective as each episode jumps through different decades of classic comedic sitcoms. Airing in black and white the show draws inspiration for its first two episodes from the I Love Lucy show and The Dick Van Dyke Show.
For the second episode, the series jumps to the 1960s for a heavily Bewitched inspired episode. If you’re a fan of the situational comedy of yesteryear, then you’re going to love all the charm and humor WandaVision has to offer.
With nostalgic charm and the thrill of a mysterious MCU plotline, WandaVision will completely draw you in. So much so that when you go back to re-watch episodes (which you will) it’s kind of hard not to find double or hidden meanings in almost everything every character on the show has to say, especially, Agnes! Everything she says is a double entendre or possibly foreshadowing future events in the series.
And speaking of Kathryn Hahn she is an absolute gem in this series. Remarkably filling out her role as Agnus the lovable nosy neighbor will win audiences over with her quick one-liners and sassy comebacks.
The playful banter and the chemistry between Olsen and Bethany will have you feeling nostalgic for those iconic Nick at Nite couple of Ricky and Lucy and Dick and Mary. Show creator/writer Jac Schaeffer has brilliantly encapsulated the vintage humor of each decade. While maintaining the heart and soul of the series, which is Wanda and Vision’s relationship as its central focus.
The first episode of the series kicks off with a classic sitcom trope of having the husband’s boss coming home for dinner and letting chaos ensue. While Vision tries to entertain his boss, Wanda is chaotically trying to create a perfect Stepford wife dinner for four in the kitchen.
Wanda uses her powers to magically makes dinner work but then this is where Marvel reminds you why you’re here. Mrs. Hart, played by that 70’s show veteran Debra Jo Rupp, begins to inundate Wanda with questions about her relationship with Vision. Of course, neither Wanda nor Vision can remember anything about their relationships which angers Mr. Hart causing him to choke on his meal.
And this my friends is where the turn happens. The 1950s filter fades and the sitcom sheen of the episode wears off just long enough to remind you that you’re in the Marvel universe. The scene switches to something akin to an episode of The Twilight Zone. Reminding you that while this may be a sitcom, it’s really a horror show masquerading as comedy.
Eventually, everything works out of course and the episode ends in classic TV style with Wanda and Vision embracing each other with a kiss and smiling.
Or so you would think, something very surprising happens at the very end of the show which I won’t spoil here, but we’ll talk about it more down below. But this makes for a very interesting turn of events leading into episode 2.
For the second episode, we jump to the 1960s with a heavily inspired Bewitched episode, including its adorable animated intro. This episode centers around a neighborhood talent show in which Wanda and Vision are set to perform a magic act.
Before the talent show Vision has a little accident leaving him unable to walk and operate normally, making him appear to be drunk. This leads to a hilarious performance by Bettany at the talent show.
Unable to perform the tricks as intended, a “drunk” Vision tries to wow the audience by using his real powers. Which leaves Wanda scrambling to cover up the use of Vision’s power by fooling everyone with her magic.
Having wowed the audience with their mix of bumbling magic and comedy Wanda and Vision take first place at the talent show. When Wanda and Vision get home to relax after the chaotic day, three surprising twists happen right after another in a matter of seconds.
I won’t mention what happens here, but it’s going to lead to big changes in the next episode. (If you’re curious, check out the spoilers below if you can’t wait for episode three).
Wanda and Vision kiss as the outro music plays and the hexagon shape from the first episode pops up again during the close-up at the end of the show. However, the music is broken up by a surprise that is played earlier in the episode. Marvel’s way of reminding the audience that although they just dropped 3 huge bombs on them, there is still a larger mystery to focus on.
These first two episodes were great! Marvel took a huge risk by changing their content to a TV format, but it is totally paying off. It’s going to be fun to see just how long this nostalgic TV sitcom theme will last. As we have seen in trailers the show will revert to its MCU roots at some point. However, this dip back into TV nostalgia is a fun and creative start to the next phase of the MCU.
Final Verdict: 8/10
(Let’s talk about the big themes and mysteries in the series)
- How is Vision Alive?
- I don’t think he is, I think Wanda created him in this little universe of hers. Or could he just be a figment of her imagination?
- Is Wanda trapped or is this a world of her own making?
- The second biggest question surrounding the series, I think someone has trapped Wanda but giving her some freedom to give her the illusion of control.
- Why does everyone Wanda meets bombard her with questions suddenly?
- Any time she meets someone new they fire a burst of questions at her almost as if they are trying to pressure her to remember something from her past.
- Is Agnes being controlled or evil?
- Comic book fans will recognize Agnes as Agatha Harkness, mentor/enemy of Wanda. She is a fellow witch who once worked for the demon Mephisto and attempted to steal Wanda’s powers.
- What’s with the creepy commercials? And why does each commercial have something beeping and ticking upwards?
- The commercial was for a Stark Industries toaster which is a connection to the real world, but why the commercial? Can Wanda see these? Or is it a message for the audience? And more importantly, why was it ticking upward like a bomb about to go off?
- Why the Hexagon shape?
- Why the hexagon shape on the goodbye close-up, why not a circle or classic heart? Wanda’s powers in the comics were originally called Hex powers, could there be a connection there?
- What’s with the S.W.O.R.D. logo?
- By now we know that S.W.O.R.D. (Marvel’s version of S.H.E.I.L.D. for extraterrestrial threats) is involved but are they holding Wanda or trying to get her out?
- Who was watching Wanda and Vision and how are they watching them?
- We see the S.W.O.R.D. logo on the monitor but is there a Marvel hero watching her or just some random agent?
- Are the mentioned seedy characters roaming the neighborhood S.W.O.R.D. agents?
- I think they are, but how are the residents able to notice them if they are under control?
- What’s with the red?
- There’s the Red Helicopter, Blood Red on Dottie’s hand, is this alluding to Mephisto?
- Is Dottie someone important?
- She confronts Wanda, saying that he has heard stories about her and Vision.
- Agnes even warns Wanda that Dottie is powerful in the community and needs to get in her good graces.
- Where are the children?
- Point of fact there are no children anywhere to be seen in this episode. And if you were listening closely Agnes, she mentions that her pet rabbit played baby Jesus in the Christmas play the previous year. Again, why not have a child play it?
- For the children! Are they trying to make Wanda create children?
- “That’s not the only place he is”
- Is Agnus talking about Mephisto? She continues to talk about her husband Ralph, but he is never shown. Is Agnes’s absentee husband Ralph, actually Mephisto?
- Mephisto is a demon in Marvel comics who wants Wanda’s powers.
- Who’s on the Radio?
- From the trailers, we know that this is Randall Park’s character Agent Jimmy Woo.
- Watch ticking up faster and faster.
- Again, as in the previous commercial, the object of sale is ticking faster and faster as if it was going to explode.
- Wanda’s pregnant!
- When will the baby be born? Will they be real or just created by Wanda’s power?
- Who is the man in the beekeeper outfit?
- He was wearing a S.W.O.R.D., which begs the question are they controlling Wanda or trying to break her out?
- Wanda rewinds time?
- How was she able to do this? Is that event one of her power or is this all in her mind?
- Once again, the show ends with the hexagon pattern for the close-up shape.
Photo is a promotional photo of Marvel Studio’s ‘WandaVision’, which airs every Friday on Disney Plus