The Marvel Cinematic Universe is often accused of being a bit too cookie cutter at times, in terms of tone and content. Though the now-sprawling universe of interconnected characters is a hugely impressive achievement in terms of its continuity, it’d be refreshing if more risks were taken in terms of the type of stories that were told, especially given how diverse a place the Marvel Universe is in the comics.
Thankfully, WandaVision is here to bring us a most definite change of pace and style – and, considering it’s the first new MCU content we’ve seen since 2019 (with 2020 having seen delays to big screen fare such as Black Widow and other Disney Plus offerings such as The Falcon & The Winter Soldier), it feels quite daring that this would be the show to draw us back in.
An initially cosy picture of suburban domestic bliss circa 1950s America, WandaVision presents its story using a pitch perfect recreation of black and white sitcoms such as I Love Lucy, with some of the cheesy magical effects of I Dream of Jeannie sprinkled in for good measure. It really is an astonishingly brilliant stylistic choice, wonderfully executed. The story’s farce, the characters, the performances by all concerned and touches such as the set design, theme song and canned laughter all add to the very authentic look and feel of a mid-20th century sitcom.
Things aren’t as they seem, of course, and in the brief sequences where things go slightly awry the canned laughter falls away – and suddenly everything becomes a lot more sinister than its cosily nostalgic presentation initially makes you feel. Knowing the events of Infinity War and Endgame, it’s already an intriguing setup and there’s immediately plenty of questions that arise from the far-too-perfect, ahem, vision of the odd couple’s lives.
Though the sitcom format and satire is spot on, it’s does feel perhaps dragged out a little too long for comfort before we’re given any developments beyond the satirical dressing. Saying that, there’s even a clever fake ad midway through the episode and the final moments do give us an incredibly intriguing cliffhanger – it’s all so much smartly done, with the feeling that everything we see is going to be important further down the line.
And with the second episode already available on Disney Plus, it won’t be long before we where the story is going next. It’s an unusual and off-kilter tone that many Marvel fans may struggle to get on board with, but – especially as I’m a huge fan of the unpredictable and similarly suburban domesticity-with-a-very-dark-side Vision comic series by Tom King – I’m definitely very keen to see how WandaVision plays out and how it fits in to the post-Endgame MCU. As a first glimpse of the new MCU, it’s brilliantly inventive, somewhat risky and demonstrates that we could, perhaps, go anywhere.
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