The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) has released movies and television adaptations for over a decade now. In the whopping 23 films released since “Iron Man” in 2008, we have been introduced to an entire universe of heroes. Two of those heroes are Wanda Maximoff, played by Elizabeth Olsen, and The Vision, played by Paul Bettany. Both made their debut in the 2015 movie “Avengers: Age of Ultron.” Since then, the two developed a romantic relationship until Vision’s demise in “Infinity War.”
However, that wouldn’t be the end for the two heroic lovers as Disney+ debuted the first original series for the MCU, titling it “WandaVision.”
The series begins with Wanda and Vision living idyllic lives in the suburbs, each episode taking them to a new decade and era of sitcoms. Beginning in the style of “The Dick Van Dyke Show,” all the way up to “Modern Family.” We quickly learn that all is not as it seems. Eventually, the story is split between Wanda’s reality and the FBI/ S.W.O.R.D agents on the outside trying to break in and save those trapped inside. The key agents are Jimmy Woo, Darcy Lewis and Monica Rambeau.
Many viewers might be turned away from the series with its first two episodes, as each of them embrace the sitcom formula completely, with only hints of the overarching story. However, by Episode 3, the series takes off in strides, filling in more gaps of the mystery each week.
The biggest strengths of “WandaVision” are the characters and the performances. Wanda and Vision are two characters that never really got a chance to shine in the movies. This series allows Olsen and Bettany to show off some impressive range. Both actors easily switch between the goofy, wink at the camera, sitcom acting to genuine, on edge performances as the reality around them begins to crack. The show also allows characters like Darcy and Woo to actually have purpose in the narrative. Parris shines as now adult Monica Rambeau. Her future in acting looks promising after her role in the series. Hahn also steals the show as next-door neighbor, Agnes, who may know more than she lets on.
“WandaVision’’ is the most experimental MCU has ever been. Even if the finale leans toward the typical MCU trappings, it perfectly balances the charm of classic sitcoms and the massive, world-bending action of their usual blockbusters. The show is a promising start for Phase 4 and future Disney+ originals. If you have not already binged through the series, avoid spoilers and prepare yourself for nine episodes of this game-changing show. Be prepared to hear some of the best music of the year, in particular, a certain theme that comes at the end of Episode 7.