After eighteen months without any Marvel Cinematic Universe content, their biggest break since their earlier years, we final get the debut of ‘WandaVision’ on Disney+. This wasn’t an intentional break, we were meant to already have ‘Black Widow’ and ‘The Eternals’ in the cinema and ‘The Falcon And The Winter Soldier’ on streaming, but the pandemic has wreaked havoc with all forms of entertainment.
It wasn’t designed to be this way but ‘WandaVision’ is now the launchpad for phase four of the MCU and the first streaming series released by Marvel Studios. From the outside this looks like a massive risk as this show is unlike anything Marvel Studios has tried before and there must have been internal talks about if they should delay the release and put something more conventional out first. The hardcore fans knew this was coming and what to expect but the casual Disney+ viewer would probably be very confused by it. But we are at the point where Marvel are starting to get a large backlog of unreleased products with more in production that they had to release something.
Fortunately the show is stellar. We are presented with a scenario where Wanda and Vision are living as a married couple in a 1950s television sitcom. Shot in black and white and in a classic 4:3 screen ratio it is as though David Lynch had directed ‘I Love Lucy’. Neither character seem aware of the situation they are in and can’t recall any details of their lives. Everything seems rosy but scenes are capped with a sense of uneasiness. We even get an ad break that features a Stark Industries toaster which has an ominous glowing red light that stares at you from the monochrome.
Both Elisabeth Olsen (Wanda) and Paul Bettany (Vision) along with Kathryn Hahn, who plays the nosy neighbour, are pitch perfect with their sitcom performances which they can drop with just a word or a look to hint at something dark lurking underneath. The episode,directed by Matt Shakman and written by Jac Shaeffer, expertly mimics the classic sitcom style which doesn’t break until the last shot.
The production value is top notch. You get the proper Marvel Studios introduction and a fully animated end credits, which probably cost more than most TV shows, like you get with the films. The monochrome photography is fantastic and the show is littered is visual effect (Bettany has promised us more than ‘Avengers: Endgame’). Marvel Studios clearly don’t see this a just a TV show, this a full on event.
If this show is an indication of the risks and quality that we can now expect from Marvel Studios there is a reason to be excited.