Because the world doesn’t revolve around you.
“WandaVision” is Marvel Studio’s latest original television series – and the first to be published on Disney’s newest streaming service. It stars Elizabeth Olsen as the Avenger Wanda Maximoff, and Paul Bettany as Vision, the part-vibranium part-carbon “synthezoid.” Unlike many shows original to streaming networks, “WandaVision” The show is slated to air for nine episodes; there are two episodes remaining at the time of publishing. Interestingly enough, Marvel chose to air episodes weekly on Disney+, rather than airing the entire season at once. This is a welcome change in a world of “binge-able” shows like “Stranger Things”; a slower airing gives fans more time to discuss smaller scenes and develop and discuss unique theories. The cast choices are interesting too, as Vision has been dead in-universe for the past three years.
“WandaVision” is a superhero drama-mystery masquerading as a stereotypical sitcom. The show begins with newlyweds Wanda’s and Vision’s move to Westview, a New Jersey town that seemingly exists in the 1950s. The couple navigate life through Westview, all while trying to hide their fantastic powers from the world.
The show’s mystery comes from its character’s indifference to the strangeness of Westview. Wanda and Vision are both unperturbed by the absurdity of their current situation, with neither character even aware of anything unusual about their predicament. Not only do we not know what Westview is or how Vision is seemingly alive, the story itself seems uninterested in its own mystery. The two Avengers spend the early episodes attending neighborhood watch meetings and holding dinners to curry favor in the workplace. The contrast between the understated presentation of the setting and the impossibility of what’s currently happening will leave the viewers uneasy until more details of Westview are revealed in later episodes. The mystery of Westview unfurls at a masterfully lazy pace, with the patience of a story that knows it will be watched.
“WandaVision”’s sitcom plotlines range from engaging and nostalgic at their best, to downright boring at their worst. At times, the story will offer a bland Westview subplot while the “real” plot is being developed in the backgrounds. Othertimes, the absurdity of the setting blends masterfully with the quiet horror of our heroes’ predicament, and we’re left wondering how long WestView can keep up the farce being presented to us.
Despite some minor flaws of “WandaVision,” the episodic format of the show means that every character is given at least one moment to shine. Even secondary characters are given their own story arcs within the show – and that’s not something many Marvel movies can claim. With seven fantastic episodes to date, “WandaVision” has earned its place in the greater Marvel Cinematic Universe.