WANDAVISION Review: A Unique & Wonderfully Mesmerizing Marvel Adventure; Elizabeth Olsen Is Phenomenal

WANDAVISION Review: A Unique & Wonderfully Mesmerizing Marvel Adventure; Elizabeth Olsen Is Phenomenal

At long last, the Marvel Cinematic Universe is back with WandaVision, and trust us when we say it's unlike anything you've ever seen in a superhero project. Is it worth a watch? Come and find out!

It’s been over 560 days since we last ventured into the Marvel Cinematic Universe with Spider-Man: Far From Home, but tomorrow, all of that changes as we finally return to the MCU for their latest adventure, WandaVision!

*This review contains mild spoilers from the first three installments of WandaVision*

The last time we saw Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) in Avengers: Endgame, she was attending the funeral of Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), not only mourning his heroic sacrifice, but also the deaths of Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) and the Vision (Paul Bettany). However, when WandaVision picks up several months (years?) later, we find her in a very different and seemingly happier place, living as a newlywed in an idyllic small town known as Westview with a mysteriously resurrected Vision.

While details on his sudden return are surely forthcoming, the first three episodes opt to save the big reveals for later as veteran director Matt Shakman (Game of Thrones; It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia) fully embraces the show’s unusual time-jump setting and pays a sincere homage to classic sitcoms from the ‘50s (I Love Lucy), ‘60s (The Dick Van Dyke Show; Bewitched) and the ‘70s (The Brady Bunch). Each of the first three episodes follow the pre-established format set by the aforementioned classics, except this time, Shakman and showrunner Jac Schaefer (Black Widow; The Hustle) are telling small-scale sitcom stories with high-profile Marvel stars, and we get to watch Wanda & Vision experiencing life as newlyweds, talent show participants, and then, as expecting parents.

The sitcom setting and some of the early comedy does take a little getting used to, especially if you’re expecting big-budget Marvel action from the get-go, but both Olsen and Bettany along with an equally game Kathryn Hahn (Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse; Parks and Recreation) and Teyonah Parris (Mad Men; If Beale Street Could Talk) play their parts with such infectious energy and great comic timing, it’s hard not to get on board fairly quickly and just enjoy the ride.

The show is very much structured like a Marvel movie, with the first three episodes essentially serving as Act 1, so there may be some early frustration for overeager fans as the show doubles down on the sitcom elements rather than advancing the story to the blockbuster stuff we’ve come to expect from Marvel Studios. However, it does feel as though the show will ultimately reward your patience, as once the veil drops in episode three, it’s going to be extremely hard to put everything back in the box as the stage is slowly set for what’s sure to be an epic conclusion.

As for the show’s overarching mystery, there’s undoubtedly something Truman Show-esque going on in Westview, and by the closing moments of the premiere, there will likely be countless theories already racing through your head about many things, including the primary antagonist. Now, even with Mephisto, Nightmare, and/or Agatha Harkness all having been rumored to appear in Phase 4 at one point or another, the first few episodes leave just enough clues to suggest it may be an entirely different, completely unexpected villain pulling the strings here.

Primetime Emmy-nominee Matt Shakman, who directed the “Eastwatch” and “The Spoils of War” episodes of HBO’s Game of Thrones, is at the top of his game here and brings a high level of authenticity to WandaVision that absolutely enhances your viewing experience. He’s also working with expertly written scripts from showrunner Jac Schaeffer, who has done a fantastic job modernizing classic television while keeping their spirit intact.

While both Elizabeth Olsen (Avengers: Endgame; Avengers: Infinity War) and Paul Bettany (Avengers: Infinity War; Captain America: Civil War) are having an absolute blast playing these more relaxed versions of their characters, WandaVision is 100% the Scarlet Witch show and Olsen has seriously never been better. She traverses through each era effortlessly, demonstrating her growth into a must-see actress, and makes a lasting impression in every scene she’s in, leaving fans clamoring for more. Her chemistry and comic timing with Bettany is certainly a highlight, but it’s the quieter, more emotional scenes where she really shines.

Paul Bettany is once again excellent as the Vision, and has more than a few standout moments with his physical comedy, really channeling his inner Dick Van Dyke, but it may take another episode or two before we really get to see Bettany at his best. Kathryn Hahn and Teyonah Parris are both early standouts, making strong debuts as Wanda’s two new friends, but with each presumably hiding something, it’s hard to say how long these friendships may last. Debra Jo Rupp (That ‘70s Show; Friends) and Emma Caulfield Ford (Buffy the Vampire Slayer; Once Upon a Time) both make fun extended cameos and should be welcome sights for longtime fans of their respective shows from the late ‘90s/early 2000s.

It’s always hard to judge an entire season by just a partial preview, but based on the first three episodes alone, WandaVision is an absolute winner for Marvel Studios and a heckuva debut for the Marvel Cinematic Universe on television. It’s truly unlike anything Marvel has ever attempted before, very light on action to start, but a wholly unique, wonderfully mesmerizing, and wildly entertaining adventure that we absolutely cannot wait to see more of. Highly recommended.

Also, in case you missed them, check out my full video interviews - which contains potential minor SPOILERS - with director Matt Shakman and actress Kathryn Hahn below! 

Welcome to WandaVision. Coming soon to Disney+. Marvel Studios' captivating new series "WandaVision" stars Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany, and marks the first series from Marvel Studios streaming exclusively on Disney+. The series is a blend of classic television and the Marvel Cinematic Universe in which Wanda Maximoff and Vision—two super-powered beings living idealized suburban lives—begin to suspect that everything is not as it seems.

WandaVision premieres on January 15, exclusively on Disney+

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