With the pandemic doing a number on Black Widow, and Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. apparently having diverged from the Marvel Cinematic Universe a couple of years before its final season last Summer, WandaVision not only marks Disney+’s first foray into live-action Marvel TV but also the first in-continuity MCU material from Marvel Studios since Spider-Man: Homecoming eighteen months ago, and it’s hard to know what the movies’ target audience will make of it.
The basic set-up sees Wanda Maximoff and Vision, last seen in Avengers: Endgame when one of them – spoiler! – died, settling into suburban bliss in the idyllic town of Westview, which for all the world appears to have been transplanted straight from a 1950s sitcom, complete with traditional gender roles and some very familiar ‘sits’ for the ‘com’. Shot in black and white to further establish the retro feel of the show, it soon becomes clear that something isn’t quite right, and that Wanda and Vision may not be the architects of their own destiny.
Showrunner Jac Schaeffer, who has co-writer credits for Captain Marvel and Black Widow on her resumé, does a decent job of letting the story unfold, dropping in subtle hints that things are a little askew and that Wanda and Vision may not be the only ones beginning to realise it. With episodes dropping weekly after the first double shot, à la The Mandalorian, the show should become appointment viewing, with time between episodes spent cogitating over just what is going on and who might be responsible.
The first of a slate of shows to appear on Disney’s streaming service that tie directly into the MCU, WandaVision has gotten things off to a great start, although it will have action junkies scratching their heads and shuffling nervously. All good things come to those who wait, and the Marvel Universe has always been as much about character and story-build as relentless fighting, and WandaVision shows that there’s still more to be found in its almost bottomless bag.
Where to watch: Disney+