After a near two year absence, the MCU swooped back onto screens this week with WandaVision kickstarting phase four on Disney Plus. In normal times, Black Widow would have had that honor.
given the state of the world, it’s all the more fitting that this high concept sitcom is given the privilege of serving up the first helping of Marvel in over a year.
After early praise from critics heightened anticipation, the first two episodes have given fans plenty to digest. That includes some fantastic easter eggs referencing other MCU titles, as well as some more obscure moments from Marvel comics.
As the Infinity Saga drew to a frantic close, there were fewer opportunities to embrace the quieter moments. Having spent so long on the run, Wanda and Vision are rarely afforded the chance to establish their relationship in quite the same manner as the likes of Tony and Pepper.
At the climax of episode one, the camera pulls back to reveal an operative of SWORD is monitoring the events transpiring in Westview on a TV set in the real world. This is signified by the contrast between the monochrome color palette of Wanda’s reality and the color-filled real world.
Undoubtedly the high point so far was the hilarious magic show the couple performs, featuring an unusually out of sorts Vision. Having ingested some ‘Big Red’ chewing gum, Vision becomes ‘intoxicated,’ messing up names, muddling phrases, spewing secrets, and using some of his superpowers in full view of the rest of the community.
In other hands, the tonal whiplash between the usual Marvel fare and WandaVision could easily have fallen flat. It owes to the strength of both the writing and of stars Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany’s acting range that this 50s styled sitcom still feels like the return of an old friend. Bettany recently teased an ‘unbelievable’ unannounced actor’s appearance in the show, suggesting they have some “real fireworks together.” So far though, it’s Olsen and Bettany’s wonderful chemistry that takes center stage, as their lines and comedic timing are delivered with the swagger of actors who are completely at ease with one another and the genre-bending show.