WandaVision Review: Marvel takes the Mandalorian route (thanks to Disney) by releasing a couple of episodes at the start, and unveil the rest of them weekly. The show starts by paying tribute to the classic sitcom-style many of us have witnessed in some of the shows we’ve loved.
Cast: Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Bettany, Kathryn Hahn, Teyonah Parris
Creator: Jac Schaeffer
Director: Matt Shakman
Star Rating: 3.5/5 stars
WandaVision Review: What Is It About?
That depends on where you’re coming from. If this is your first interaction with ‘anything Marvel’ after Avengers: Endgame, you might remember Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) who was resurrected after losing her lover Vision (Paul Bettany) to Thanos (Josh Brolin) for Mind Stone. But, if you’ve been read comics in between or before, and are aware of Wanda & Vision’s backstory, you’ll look at this abstract take at these superheroes a little bit differently than the rest.
Wanda & Vision have just moved into a new place (Westview), and are trying to settle in with the neighbours. They’re not humans, as we all know by now but their neighbours don’t. So, to not freak them out, Wanda and Vision decide to act as humanly as possible hiding their superpowers. But, for how long would they be able to continue with this act? Well, that’s what the remaining episodes will be all about.
WandaVision Review: What’s Good & Bad?
The best thing about the first two episodes of the show is the decision of releasing particularly two episodes to begin with. If this number would have been one or three, there was no chance of leaving the same impact as it did with two. The build-up is designed so that you won’t get to know what’s happening, but you’ll still wait to see what happens next. It also follows the ‘cold open’ route of sitcoms, and ironically the two episodes are in a way a ‘cold open’ to the visual po*n we’re going to witness in the rest.
For the unversed, ‘Cold Open’ is a style of narration adapted by sitcoms which are designed to grab your attention immediately even before the title sequence starts. Basically, anything you see before the title sequence of the show is a kind of cold open. While everyone was waiting for end-credits, Marvel kinda surprised its fans with the pre-credits scenes worth of two episodes.
Reports state that Disney has allotted a budget of $25 million for a total of the nine episodes, which brings down around $2.75 million/episode. The first two episodes have nothing to match that cost, which indicates how the rest of the show is going to be monumental visually. What didn’t land properly are the machine-human one-liners – Vision’s colleague calling him a ‘walking computer’, his boss asking him “is your screw loose?” It’s the classic case of Marvel overdoing things that could’ve worked if in proper quantity.
Covered with way too many easter eggs from a Stark Industries’ Toaster to Strucker watch that clearly screams HYDRA, there are multiple instances which might force the comic-nerd in you to pause and notice what’s going on. If HYDRA is coming back, we’ll need someone to back Wanda and Vision as well. If you’ve guessed S.H.I.E.L.D, then you’ll need to do your homework properly. S.W.O.R.D is the right answer; it’s a subdivision of S.H.I.E.L.D, and there are a couple of scenes teasing the same. There’s a scene in which Wanda finds a helicopter & the now-a-meme ‘Beekeeper’ scene, both of them come with a smartly placed S.W.O.R.D symbol.
WandaVision Review: Star Performances
This could prove to be a career-defining performance for Elizabeth Olsen because of one primary reason – screen space. She has always been good as Wanda in Avengers’ saga, but for obvious reasons has been sidelined by those who have been leading the show. But this is like a fortress belonging to the only lioness around. There aren’t any scenes demanding the physical alertness by Olsen, but we’ve already seen her nailing them, and she’ll do the same in the upcoming episodes.
The scenes in which Vision ‘tries’ to mimic things human do, bring out the best in Paul Bettany. Not going to lie, he gets monotonous by the end of the second episode, but that’s understandable. There will be a problem if this continues, which seems very unlikely.
Kathryn Hahn as Wanda’s nosy neighbour Agnes looks straight out of.60s. Adapting to the timeline, she complements the initial theme of the show. Teyonah Parris’ Monica Rambeau is all set to be an important character on the show.
WandaVision Review: Last Word
All said and done; the initial episodes act as a perfect cliffhanger to the magnanimous marvel-mania, which would be uncovered weekly. If you haven’t watched any promo of the show (just as I did), don’t get confused and read more about the show to understand why it is what it is.
Three and a half stars!