Even prior to the launch of Disney+, fans were tantalized with original television shows from Marvel that have links, tie-ins, and connections to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Today, Disney+ released the first two episodes of the first in that series, “WandaVision.” As the name suggests, it focuses on Wanda Maximoff and Vision as they attempt to eke out a regular suburban life in their new hometown of Westfield.
The first two episodes stylize themselves around classic sitcoms from the 50s and 60s like “I Love Lucy,” “Bewitched,” and “The Dick Van Dyke Show.” The first episode pokes fun at some of the tropes of these shows. In the opening minutes, both Wanda and Vision are perplexed about the importance of a date that has a heart drawn on the calendar. Wanda, with the help of noisy neighbor, Agnes, believes it to be their anniversary, where Vision concludes it is meant to be a reminder about a dinner with his boss, Mr. Hart, from work. The typical hilarity ensues as Wanda has planned a romantic evening for the two of them, while no dinner has been cooked for Mr. Hart and his wife. As are most sitcom plots, crisis is averted, with some laughs along the way, but at the end of the first episode we are struck with the first realization that something may be amiss in Westfield. As the credits begin to role, we see someone watching the show and taking notes in a decidedly not 1950s-type control room and they close their notebook revealing a sword insignia. Fade to black and time for Episode 2!
The second episode is centered around Wanda and Vision taking part in the town talent show to raise money for the Westfield Elementary School. The duo pair up to dazzle the township with some magic tricks. In the lead-up to the big show, Wanda and Vision hear a noise from outside their bedroom one night (in an homage to the standards and practices of the past, we see both of them sleeping in their own twin beds). Upon investigation, they determine it is just an errant branch…or is it? Wanda is on the planning committee to help organize the talent show. Also on the committee is Agnes, as well as a new face to Westfield, Geraldine (that eagle-eyed fans may recognize from somewhere else). Another crack in the façade appears as Dottie, the stern taskmaster of the committee, breaks a glass, their transistor radio catches fire, and we hear a male’s voice asking Wanda through static what have they done to you?
The talent show has its own problems when Vision, in an attempt to get in with the neighborhood watch, takes an errant piece of chewing gum then ends up, literally, gumming up, his internal workings. Thanks to some quick thinking by Wanda, she is able to provide some magical illusions, while also transforming their act into an act containing some comedy and taking one a trophy at the end of the episode. Shortly before the credits roll, Vision and Wanda discover another sword insignia clad man emerging from a manhole surrounded by a swarm of bees. In an attempt to not upset their life, Wanda says “No.” and manages to rewind the last thirty seconds and end with a kiss from her husband as they discover that she is pregnant.
The first two episodes were amazing — fans of all levels will enjoy some of the tongue-in-cheek references to the movies (I’m particularly fond of the “commercial” that interrupts the first episode). The sitcom nature of the episodes are underscored with the majority of both episodes being in black and white and were shot in front of a live studio audience.
After viewing the first two, fans will be left with a certain level of foreboding and conflict as we attempt to figure out what is happening with the individuals surrounding the sword insignia, but also trying to reason out the connection to the larger Marvel Cinematic Universe since it has already been announced that “WandaVision” is required viewing leading into the next Doctor Strange installment to be released next year (hopefully).
This is certainly not a foray into the television business for Marvel, but it feels like a reinvention since previous iterations of the television shows held loose affiliations with the cinematic universe and did not provide for meaningful crossovers between them. However, if “WandaVision” is any indication of the work that the unified universe can produce, then we are more than excited for the remainder of this season, as well as the other shows lined up to come after: “Falcon and the Winter Soldier” which bows in March, and “Loki” which is slated to drop in May.
Did you check out “WandaVision” this morning before heading to work or logging on for your first Zoom meeting? Or are you saving it for a weekend diversion? Regardless of when you watch, let us know what you think! Will you be tuning in next week?