WandaVision review: Truman Show meets Bewitched as Marvel takes kooky, experimental approach

Caption: Important points to remember ahead of WandaVision’s releaseIn the charming neighbourhood of Westview in WandaVision, life appears as perfect as can be.

Of course, there’s the odd hiccup here and there – such as prying neighbours and the pressure to impress the boss – but on the whole, married couple Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) and Vision (Paul Bettany) are doing their best to fit in with their bubbly community.

Marvel’s WandaVision immediately sweeps you into a kooky, sitcom-esque world, where a non-existent audience belly laughs at light-hearted gags and the stakes are never higher than a dinner party gone wrong.

But there is an undercurrent of unease as you watch Wanda and Vision gaze adoringly at each other and exaggerate every word that comes out of their mouths – one that gradually becomes more pronounced as you continually question how and why the superpowered pair found themselves in these peculiar circumstances.

WandaVision is unlike anything Marvel Studios has ever done before. It draws inspiration from retro American TV shows such as Bewitched and I Love Lucy, a far cry from the action-packed Avengers: Endgame, when Scarlet Witch was last seen in action on the battlefield.

However, one can’t help but also draw parallels with films such as The Truman Show and The Stepford Wives, that feeling of being watched lingering in the shadows, unnoticed or ignored by the titular characters.

What mystery lies behind the superpowered couple’s smiles? (Picture: Marvel Studios)With several of Marvel’s upcoming TV series, fans already have a feeling of what they might expect when they are released.

Of course, viewers will still most likely be blown away by the action sequences in Hawkeye and The Falcon and The Winter Soldier and engrossed by Loki’s ever-captivating mischievous ways, but we do at least have a slight sense of the directions those shows will be taking.

When it comes to WandaVision, it’s a constant guessing game. And that will keep audiences on the edge of their seats.

The series depicts Wanda and Vision living in various time periods in a sitcom (Picture: Marvel Studios)The attention to detail in the TV series is key. There are several blink-and-you-miss-it moments, Easter Eggs that could prove instrumental to the plot and will have Disney Plus users rewinding and rewatching again and again.

It’s smart, precise, experimental and is setting the tone for upcoming Marvel releases, such as Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (due to be released in 2022), which will star Elizabeth as Wanda.

WandaVision is proof that the superhero genre cannot be pigeon-holed. Despite 13 years of the MCU, there is still plenty of room to grow and to raise the bar even higher.

Kathryn Hahn is a standout in the show (Picture: Marvel Studios)Up until now, the Vision that we have seen on our screens has been softly-spoken, all-knowing and powerful, a voice of reason among the Avengers.

WandaVision provides the talented Paul with a chance to play with the character, bringing the same charisma to the table that he used when making his scene-stealing turn as Geoffrey Chaucer in the 2001 film A Knight’s Tale.

Elizabeth brings a dazzling energy to the screen, with every smile that she beams at her husband and every flurry of her magical powers.

This makes it even more jarring when strange happenings do occur in Westview, Wanda and Vision unable to hide the alarm they feel behind their magnified personas.

Teyonah Parris’ character is shrouded in mystery (Picture: WandaVision)While Wanda and Vision are the stars of the show, the eccentricity of their performances is matched by the supporting cast, namely Kathryn Hahn as their neighbour Agnes and Teyonah Parris as Monica Rambeau, who we last met as a child in the 2019 Captain Marvel.

Kathryn, who should definitely have been considered for the lead role in the Lucille Ball film currently in development, has just the right amount of zest to pull off a sitcom-style role and make it her own, all the while leaving viewers questioning whether there is a dark side hidden underneath her cheery facade.

Monica’s appearance in WandaVision is something of a mystery, which Teyonah executes masterfully with a joyful demeanour sprinkled with just a hint of uncertainty. What has she been up to since we last witnessed her cross paths with a Marvel superhero? And how will this lead into her role in the Captain Marvel sequel?

WandaVision viewers will undoubtedly find their minds inundated with questions from the get-go, feeling torn between the amusement of Wanda and Vision’s escapades as a suburban couple and the knowledge that everything is not as it seems.

But one thing’s for sure – with Wanda and Vision taking the reins, Marvel is dipping its toe into a pool of weird and wonderful stories that will hopefully set a precedent for years to come.

The first two episodes of WandaVision are due to be released on Friday on Disney Plus.

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