I knew “WandaVision”, the first live action MCU Disney Plus series, would be weird. But I didn’t expect to be baffled by it two episodes in.
It’s been a while since we’ve had a mainstream entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, with the last film we’ve got being July 2019’s “Spider-Man: Far From Home,” so it does draw legitimate questions as to why Disney would start Phase Four of their esteemed universe with “WandaVision,” a show that sees Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) and Vision (Paul Bettany) trapped in sitcoms in various eras.
Two episodes in, we don’t know why the show is in this format, or how Vision is alive (he died in 2018’s “Infinity War”), but it most likely has something to do with Wanda’s reality-bending powers. In one episode, she expels a sinister beekeeper just by saying “No”, but it’s unclear how much control she has over the world.
Episodes 1 and 2 are played as straight-up sitcom episodes from the 1950s and 1960s, playing off of tropes of the eras, which is great if you like sitcoms, but I can definitely see people who are here from “Endgame” being disappointed, and a little bit bored.
Bettany and Olsen are great in the first two episodes, and they are joined by a small cast of their neighbor, Agnes (Kathryn Hahn); Vision’s boss Arthur Hart (Fred Melamed) and his wife, Mrs. Hart (Debra Jo Rupp); Dottie (Emma Caulfield Ford) a friend Agnes introduces to Wanda; and “Geraldine” / Monica Rambeau (Teyonah Parris), who is an alumna of “Captain Marvel.”
I think this series’ main issue is, and will continue to be, its weekly release schedule. Had this show been released all at once and its secrets been laid bare on the table from day one, viewers would have been able to gradually realize what the point of the show is and what it’s building up to, and I think it’d be less likely to lose people. While the show will still impress many and has led to many theories online as to what it’s doing and what’s happening, it can’t yet stand on its feet, and I don’t blame anyone for choosing not to return for next week’s episode.
In general, I’m not a fan of weekly release schedules, especially as some shows structure themselves like 8+ hour movies. In a time where dropping every episode day one has become industry standard, weekly release schedules feel like a return to an antiquated model that benefits streaming platforms more than it benefits viewers.
So far, despite the fact that it mimics sitcoms, “WandaVision” proves that it’s a show that shouldn’t have been sliced and diced like this, but I have no doubt it will get better.
As such, I’m going to opt not to score these episodes, because I don’t know enough about what this series is trying to do to accurately judge it. But I can say that these two episodes are very weird, and you will probably be disappointed if you were expected a direct continuation from the events of “Avengers: Endgame.”
“WandaVision” Season 1, Episodes 1 + 2 gets no score