WANDAVISION | WE’VE BEEN WATCHING
I’ll confess, I have little interest in superhero properties. Whilst I wouldn’t go as far as Scorsese’s views on the genre, I find the idea of this strange new series on Disney+ quite compelling. In the first episode, both characters from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Wanda and Vision, are caught up in a 1950s American sitcom. The question remains… why? Calling Leave It To Beaver and The Dick Van Dyke Show to mind, attempts here to emulate the era are filled with conviction. Parodies of 50s adverts also feature, another nice touch; even the canned laughter is on point.
Nothing is quite as it seems, both title characters a world away from previous ventures. I’d like to think the show won’t put all its cards on the table and prove itself not to be a gimmick. There are some very nice homages throughout: moments feel like the suburbia of a Tim Burton film, with weirder sights evoking Blue Velvet and other David Lynch work. Comparisons could be made to Pleasantville, as occasional dashes of colour permeate the black and white tableaux. Through this, two big questions crop up in these first two episodes: why did a beekeeper emerge from a manhole and who is the voice hijacking the radio waves?
The second episode arrives with opening credits, a la Bewitched, and minimal stylistic changes from its predecessor, apart from the odd costume update. More could have been made to make the second episode more 1960s-ish, due to the many comparisons with the previous generations. The first episode has a quirky boss-coming-to-dinner plot with that zany energy you would expect in a loving tribute like this; the second is less successful, though. A magic show is made remarkable thanks to both leads showing off their real powers, but it drags in parts and is not really that funny. Vision, intoxicated from a stick of gum, suffers with what could only be described as the android equivalent of Irritable Bowel Syndrome. A strange occurrence. Perhaps more foreshadowing?
Most of the kudos must go to the two lead actors, Paul Bettany and Elizabeth Olsen, who really hold the show together in their period performances. I look forward to the journey through the decades: apparently, a cheese-filled Brady Bunch nod is next up. Stay tuned!
Streaming on Disney+ now.
words JAMES ELLIS image SCREEN RANT