Thinking back to the excitement and speculation after Marvel’s announcement for its ‘Phase Four’ during the 2019 San Diego Comic-Con, 2020 certainly left fans disappointed as multiple projects, such as Black Widow, were delayed due to coronavirus. As seen in Spiderman: Far From Home marking an end to the iconic Avenger’s era, it was clear that Phase Four would be one of change for the MCU, tinged with grief from the repercussions of Endgame and focusing on new beginnings. One of the most unusual and ambitious projects at a supposed budget of $25 million per episode with episode one even being filmed in front of a live studio audience, was Jac Shaeffer and Matt Shakman’s Wandavision which has been under intense fan focus as they were left utterly perplexed by its era hopping sitcom premise.
With the first two episodes arriving on Disney Plus on the 15th January, it is fair to say that Phase Four has kicked off with a bang. Unfortunately, if, like myself, you do prefer to binge then you will be bitterly disappointed by the fact that it will be weekly instalments every Friday. The show follows the newly-wed Wanda and Vision arriving in ‘Westview’ paying homage to the beloved sitcoms of the past, such as episode two’s ‘Bewitched’ influence, or as the show most perfectly puts it, “So you’re saying the universe created a sitcom starring two avengers?” Even though sitcoms are so far removed from what we expect from the Marvel franchise, which has in a way become its own genre, the reason the concept works so well is that we’re expecting chaos. Despite Wanda’s claims about her husband’s ‘indestructible head’, let’s face it we all remember Vision’s brutal death at the hands of Thanos during Infinity War so we already know before watching that this cannot be happening. That’s what I personally think makes the show work so well as it is so surreal and bizarre that the episodes leave you with far more questions than answers. Moreover, the attention to detail to the ‘squeaky-clean’, artificial nature of its sitcom influences make those moments of the ‘glitch’ in the utopia genuinely unsettling to watch.
Whilst it has been criticised for being ‘too slow’, I personally feel that the ‘slow-burner’ nature of the first two episodes help to build up the uneasy and unpredictable atmosphere that can be seen in episodes three and four. The chemistry of Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany and the spectacular ensemble performances alone, Kathryn Hahn’s Agnes being a personal favourite, make it a worthwhile and refreshing watch. I will say that I do feel that Wandavision is definitely one for the fans. With it being tied to possibly multiple Phase Four projects (Dr Strange: Multiverse of Madness and the third Spiderman film), the MCU is clearly building up to something far bigger and I’m personally excited to finally see the true extent of Wanda’s powers and where this will lead.
Image Credit: Deadline.com