RELEASED: January 15th 2021 – March 5th 2021
DISTRIBUTED BY: Disney+
EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS: Jac Schaeffer, Matt Shakman, Kevin Feige, Louis D’Esposito & Victoria Alonso
WRITTEN BY: Jac Shaeffer, Gretchen Enders, Megan McDonnell, Bobak Esfarjani, Peter Cameron, Mackenzie Dohr, Chuck Hayward, Cameron Squires & Laura Donney
DIRECTED BY: Matt Shakman
MUSIC BY: Kristen Anderson-Lopez & Robert Lopez
STARRING: Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Bettany, Kathryn Hahn, Teyonah Parris, Randall Park, Kat Dennings, Josh Stamberg & Evan Peters
REVIEW: The first television series produced by Marvel Studios has come to a close, and opened up a whole new world of marvellous possibilities for the future of the MCU.
The series follows Wanda Maximoff after the events of Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame as she retreats into the small suburban town of Westview and somehow conjures up an idyllic 1950s sitcom life with a resurrected Vision. But as this couple moves through different decades of television, navigating the various adventures of married life, the cracks in Wanda’s facade begin to show. And outside of Westview, FBI Agent Jimmy Woo and the agents of SWORD are watching ‘WandaVision‘, trying to figure out exactly how the show came to be.
In terms of the television aspect of the series, by which I mean the show within the series, WandaVision starts strong. The way it plays with classic sitcom tropes across the decades feels fun, original and quirky, and in the first few episodes, in particular, it’s often genuinely touching and amusing.
The series does a good job of balancing the various tones; the sitcom elements, the standard superhero fare outside the ‘show’, and the growing horror and thriller elements within. However, as the ‘show’ progresses, some of the wonders from the sitcom-side of things start to lose some of its shine. The jokes stop landing as much, and you find yourself clamouring for more of the outside world, especially as the most interesting part of the series starts to become the ‘why’ rather than the ‘what’.
Fortunately, WandaVision definitely delivers in that regard. The series is very well put together. In terms of design, it looks spectacular, much like a full-on MCU movie. The writers and the crew have gone to extreme lengths to also fill the series with heaps of background details and little tidbits of information that really enrich the world, Wanda’s in particular. These characters are fleshed out more than they ever have been on screen, and quickly shows how television could end up making the MCU and even greater narrative than it already is.
The writers go a ways to flesh out the characters, and across the board, the actors give some great performances. Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany really show their potential as leading stars in the MCU, and returning characters like Randall Park’s Jimmy Woo and Kat Denning’s Darcy are also welcome sights.
Teyonah Parris impresses as Monica Rambeau (last seen as a child in Captain Marvel) and Kathryn Hahn steals the show every second she’s on-screen as Wanda and Vision’s nosy neighbour Agnes. Seriously Hahn is such a constant delight, it’s unreal.
It’s a very strong start to Phase Four of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and while it may not (and has not) landed for all the fans expecting multiversal madness and Endgame levels of twists and turns, it was perhaps never meant to be. Instead, it’s just a colourful and thorough character piece that elevates its stars and leaves you wanting more from the MCU.
All-in-all, I give WandaVision:
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