For the first time in my life, I was pleasantly surprised by Marvel, the ingenuity, creativity and stylistic retro design of WandaVision made it stand out amongst the over-saturated Superhero genre. Small details (like aspect ratios and prop design) and deeply intriguing storytelling made it clear that this was something crafted with loving care and attention that wanted to break the Marvel mold of superhero narratives.
Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany reprise their MCU roles as Wanda Maximoff and Vision respectively, but they are no longer fighting off galactic super-villains or preventing armageddon. Instead, they are navigating the lighthearted trials and tribulations of being newcomers in the friendly suburban town of Westview. With the comical twist that they have superpowers that they must keep a secret from tough bosses and nosey neighbours. However, by the end of episode one, it is clear that not everything is as it seems, strange glitches and peculiar behaviour from the residents in Westview successfully create a strange feeling of unease when contrasted with the sit-com follies that surround them.
Olsen and Bettany deliver stand out performances as the adorable head-over-heels in love newly weds. Adapting their characters to the fun sit-com style feels so natural and effortless, almost as is the characters were made for such a show, rather than the blockbuster action movies of the past. Their mannerisms and speech pay a wonderful homage to whatever era they find themselves in, managing to perfectly replicate sit-coms of time gone by while delivering fantastic comedy that can be enjoyed by anyone of any age. The second episodes magic show being the perfect example of how this show uses its premise to great effect.
Then came along episode 4 and (Mild Spoiler Alert) now my hope for the future of this show has dampened and we see what is happening outside of Westview. It was a strange and deeply disappointing Marvel-esc intrusion on a fantastic premise. Almost all suspense and intrigue was lost as we are directly told the answer to many of the show's questions. Any subtlety in storytelling is thrown out as well as any commitment to the premise of the show itself. Almost as if the creators were worried that viewers may lose interest if not told directly what was happening and so the show had to move out of its way to cater to this non-problem. While the cameos were fun, Marvel cannot rely on its connected universe to make every IP interesting, especially when the show already had so much potential.
I can only hope there aren't many more episodes like this in the second half of this series.