by Chris Connor
WandaVision offers an intriguing glimpse at a different corner of the MCU.
With the arrival of Disney + in 2019, Disney has announced that many of its properties from Pixar, Star Wars and Marvel. Following on from the huge success of The Mandalorian, WandaVision is the first Marvel TV spin off to arrive on Disney +. The story picks up shortly after the events of Avengers Endgame, with the initial episodes structured as episodes of sitcoms throughout the decades with Betwitched and Dick Van Dyke Show style episodes set in the town of Westview where Wanda Maximoff and Vision are residing.
While these first few episodes are their own distinct entity it seems, there are glimpses that something may not be right in the town with outside broadcasts interrupting and indications that there is more than meets the eye. Outside Westview, we follow returning MCU characters Jimmy Woo from Ant Man And The Wasp, Darcy from the Thor films and a grown up Monica Rambeau from Captain Marvel. The interplay between the pair is terrific and hopefully this isn’t the only instance of this ragtag crew working together. The FBI and Sword investigation into the Westview happenings adds some heft to proceedings and ups the scale. It also adds some mystery as to who is behind events, is it Wanda or something more sinister ? We are also uncertain of Sword’s true interest with the mysterious Director Hayward an enigma.
One of the series’ biggest strengths is the platform it gives to characters who have had little meaningful impact to date with Vision and Wanda’s roles minimal in their film appearances and so this allows their characters to be much more fleshed out as we deal with Wanda’s grief over the events of Infinity War/Endgame and come to learn more about her backstory prior to the events of Age Of Ultron. Likewise Monica Rambeau’s character while having a smaller role than the title pair is expanded and we see her come to terms with the death of her mother and 5 years away as a result of Thanos’ snap.
The performances from the core cast elevate this above the standard MCU fare with Elizabeth Olsen truly excelling as Wanda offering real depth and a real sense of emotion balanced with humour. Paul Bettany gives one of his best performances as Vision with a real sense of deadpan humour married with a world weariness and sense of confusion over the nature of Westview. Randall Park, Kat Dennings and Teyonah Parris give their respective characters more to do than in any of their film outings to date and offer hope that we might see these characters developed further in series or films. Kathryn Hahn as nosy neighbour Agnes has been one of the breakout stars of the series offering humour mixed in with a sense of intrigue and her own quirky mannerisms.
As a first foray into it’s Disney+ series WandaVision is the perfect antidote to the lack of MCU content over the past 18 months, truly pushing it to new heights and focused on character building rather than world destruction. Led by some brilliant performances, here is hoping that the next series including The Falcon And Winter Soldier and Loki manage to capture this level of quality.
WandaVision is available to watch on Disney+