TV series

Mr. Khan’s Review on WandaVision (Ep 1-3) (2021)

A review on American Television miniseries, WandaVision (2021). The miniseries is directed by Matt Shakman and stars Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda/ Scarlet Witch and Paul Bettany as Vision. The show is a continuance of the saga from the Marvel Cinematic Universe and is a Disney Plus Original series.

+ Crew

  • Directed by Matt Shakman
  • Cinematography by Jess Hall
  • Music by Christophe Beck
  • Produced by Chuck Hayward
  • Created by Jac Schaeffer
  • Production by Marvel Studios
  • Distributed by Disney Platform Distribution 

+ Note

WandaVision is continuation of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (Phase 4) where we get to explore more the relationship between the two popular Marvel characters; Scarlet Witch and Vision. The series is cleverly disguised as an American vintage comedy sitcom with multi camera setup and canned laughter from the audience in a (supposedly) TV Studio. WandaVision is clearly inspired from 50s-60s sitcoms like ‘I Love Lucy’, ‘Bewitched’ and later in color, ‘The Brady Bunch’, where situational comedy plays a key role to the show’s premise. Since Disney Plus has only released three episodes up till now, it is still unclear where they are heading with this but one can safely assume, WandaVision is unlike anything MCU has produced up till now.

+ Main Cast

  1. Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda Maximoff / Scarlet Witch
  2. Paul Bettany as Vision
  3. Debra Jo Rupp as Mrs. Hart
  4. Fred Melamed as Arthur Hart
  5. Kathryn Hahn as Agnes
  6. Teyonah Parris as Monica Rambeau
  7. Kat Dennings as Darcy Lewis
  8. Randall Park as Jimmy Woo

+ Plot

WandaVision starts off in 1950s suburban America. A husband and a loving wife have just moved in a house next door but unbeknownst to the neighbourhood, they are no ordinary couple. In fact, they are the famous Avengers; Scarlet Witch and Vision who hide their super powers in order to live a happy, wholesome life. But something doesn’t seem right about this scenario. It’s almost too… perfect? How did present day Avengers end up in decades old American TV sitcoms? Where or how did they enter this delightful comedy of errors? What is exactly wrong with WandaVision?

+ High Points

i – The “I Love Lucy” meets “Bewitched” 50s situational comedy is perfectly replicated to a tee. The dialogue, costume design, make up, Production design; it perfectly fits to the vision (no pun intended) of what Marvel Studios were going for.

ii – Since working together in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany have really grown accustomed to each other’s performances and are just picture perfect. For this show to work, their onscreen chemistry is undeniably vital and it’s always a treat to see them together onscreen.

iii – Ever since the trailer for the show came out, WandaVision felt unique and bold to what MCU fans were, for many years, accustomed to. After the end of the Thanos and the Infinity stones saga, MCU needed to move into a fresh new direction as the lack of innovative ideas made MCU films (for the most part) extremely predictable. And WandaVision does exactly that.

iv – The dialogues and humor of the show is witty, charming and at times, also very dark. The show does have a slight “David Lynch” surrealist vibe to it. One minute, you are witnessing a cute sing and dance number, the next you see someone on the dinner table, choking himself on a piece of meat. I loved it!

v – The multiple opening theme songs/ jingles are memorable and composed wonderfully by Kristen Anderson-Lopez, Robert Lopez and Christophe Beck.

vi – The “Hand drawn” animations in between live action set-pieces play wonderfully to the overall vibe and atmosphere of the show. Love these little but essential touches that they’ve given to it!

vii – The “advertisements” in between the show are the “Bees knees!”. ‘Nuff said!

viii – Although only 3 episodes are out at the moment, the show has me hooked! The story and pacing takes its time but is extremely rewarding in the grand scheme of things. Let’s see where it all leads us to.

+ Low Points

i – The length of each episode is inconsistent. Not a huge drawback by any stretch of the imagination but old vintage TV shows had very strict time limitations. So if the show is going for that, might as well stick to a consistent 3 Act structure and the time constraints that come with making a TV broadcast episode.

ii – Although it’s hinted that the show doesn’t actually take place in decades old American history (or does it?), the racial diversity in the show seems too modern for the 1950s sequences and takes you out of the show time and time again. Segregation was unfortunately very prevalent in the US in the 50s so to see the characters mention contempt for the “Bolsheviks/ Communists” but are fine and dandy with a colored person sitting next to them at the dinner table, it’s just odd and the show seems a bit confused as to what it really wants to be. Even in a ‘make believe’ reality, the horrors of history should never be ignored (the perfect example could be the highly underrated 1998 film Pleasantville).

iii – Even after 3 episodes, the mystery of “what reality they are living in” might be a tad bit obvious to loyal MCU fans. Perhaps we all might be rightfully swerved by the end of the season. 

iv – Among all the episodes available, episode 3 was the weakest due to its lack of focus to the overall narrative and the situational comedy slightly overstaying its welcome. But cliffhanger at the end did make up for it I suppose.

+ Overall

WandaVision is fun, eerie and exactly what MCU needed to kick start their ‘Phase 4’ list of films and TV shows. The performances are wonderful by the two main leads and the show proves that Superheroes are not all about “Good Guy vs Bad Guy”. Comics is a medium explored to such vast lengths of ideas and it’s tremendous to see a commercial, crowd pleasing Disney corporation try something very different. Of course, this could all change for better or worst in the review for the next episodes so stay tuned! 

Rate: 4 (subject to change) out of 5 stars