“A thing isn’t beautiful because it lasts.” – Vision
After what has felt like one giant delay, a delay of life itself in a lot of ways, MARVEL is finally beginning to unveil its long awaited Phase 4. First up we have what I can only describe as the weirdest entry yet in the MARVEL-verse, WandaVision, and only promises to up the strangeness factor as the bizarre-o story carries on. I’ll admit I didn’t really have a grasp on the concept of the show before watching the first three episodes. I’m not so sure I do even now but that’s for another time.
I started to realize early on that everything hinted at in the trailers were merely buzz shots, exciting, vibrant and colorful shots of both the familiar and strange. What it doesn’t reveal is exactly what looks to transpire for the two main characters as they navigate what appears to be a 50’s sitcom realm with hints of Pleasantville turmoil thrown in with sprinkles of superheroism for good measure. It carries on as an I Love Lucy ripoff only to hint at things not quite right. It’s like a house built on a hill and they forgot to level things out before putting a FOR SALE sign in the front yard. It looks beautiful and has all the familiar features of a home; a yard, a front door, a place to call home for years to come. But then you walk in and suddenly, without being able to place exactly what’s wrong, you feel unease, a haze of constant confusion hangs over you. Wanda sees it, Vision feels it but with such a perfect existence at their fingertips, maybe the feeling of unrest is best left at the curb of their quaint family home.
Elizabeth Olsen returns as Wanda, feeling grateful for Vision but never seeming to fully accept her reality. Paul Bettany rises from the dead (perhaps they put him in rice?) as Vision. He knows all and remembers all, except how this new life actually came to be. Like Cobb said in Inception, “…you never really remember the beginning of a dream. You always wind up right in the middle of what’s going on.” This is WandaVision in a nutshell, at least based on my limited understanding of what I’ve seen so far.
Newcomers to the “verse” include a personal comedic favorite, Kathryn Hahn as the funny but mysterious next door neighbor. More intriguing (so far) is Teyonah Parris as Monica, who seems to be like Natascha McElhone as Lauren from The Truman Show, an insider clearly carrying secrets about the mystery surrounding the main characters of a television show. She fears the entity keeping track of them and so she’s hesitant to reveal too much, again, so far.
Having only seen the first few episodes I can only guess and wait just like everyone else. I’ve only tasted a sample, a small paper cup of tantalizing mystery and intrigue. What I can say is what I have experienced has left me wanting more and I think that’s the best news I can deliver to who might actually read this. It has a pace about it not interested in rushing into the reveals behind the curtain but leaves enough of a bread crumb to keep us curious about exactly where it might be headed. It can feel silly at times, completely pushing aside the hero elements and mystery for a simple sitcom, complete with laugh track.
What it’s important to remember is it all comes with a purpose, and never without its own merits as a straightforward multicam television show. It’s sort of a callback to simpler times when a husband trying to impress his boss with a nice home dinner was all that was required for a successful, even memorable show. Just think I Love Lucy with superheroes and there you have it, WandaVision. I look forward to seeing where they take this oddly concepted series at the beginning of what promises to be another exciting several years of MARVEL. Let Phase 4 begin.
Episode Runtime: 30 minutes (Average)
Genre: Action, Adventure, Comedy
Starring: Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Bettany Kathryn Hahn, Teyonah Parris
Directed By: Matt Shakman
Out of 5 Nerdskulls (First three episodes)
Story: 4/ Acting: 4/ Directing: 4/ Visuals: 4.5
OVERALL: 4 Nerdskulls
WandaVision begins streaming on Disney+ January 15, 2021.
Check out the trailer below:
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