REVIEW: “WandaVision” is a creative breath of fresh air for the MCU

“The first Marvel Disney+ show brings a breath of fresh air to the MCU, adding creativity and intrigue,” writes Staff Writer Zachary Weinberger.


Image courtesy of Disney+.

Zachary Weinberger, Staff Writer

Editor’s Note: This review is an extended version of the review originally in the Jan. 25 “Catching You UP” newsletter, which you can subscribe to here.

The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) is in a weird time at the moment.

After what seemed like an epic, but flawed finale with the results of Avengers: Endgame in 2019, Disney and Marvel Studios try to find a new direction for their content, and this time they’re taking their talents to the small screen.

“WandaVision” is the first original Marvel show to come out on Disney+ after “Falcon and the Winter Soldier” had to delay their production because of the COVID-19 pandemic. As of Jan. 25, the first three episodes are out.

I have been a harsh critic in the past when it came to the MCU. While it was receiving huge box office numbers and praise from fans and critics alike, I found a lot of the films to be redundant that follow a certain formula, except for a couple of gems here and there.

The MCU needs some uniqueness and creativity within their projects, and now that they have extended their universe to television, now is a better time than ever. Through the first three episodes, it’s looking like it’s achieved that.

Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) and Vision (Paul Bettany) play out their lives in the style of sitcoms that pays homage to classic shows like “The Dick Van Dyke Show,” “Bewitched,” “The Brady Bunch,” among others. However, why are they living like this? Who’s behind all of this?

These are questions that floated in my head as soon as I saw the first frame of the first episode. While we see the main characters go through hijinx and stories only sitcom couples go through in the 1960s like attending the community talent show or impressing the big boss through dinner, weird events start to transpire where we see the characters question their surroundings.

The way we see this is by the use of the camera. Director Matt Shakman, who has directed episodes of “Game of Thrones,” “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” and “Fargo,” uses the camera to his advantage as he shows us when to enjoy the silliness of the sitcom tropes but also when things get eerie.

It’s best shown during the first and third episodes in scenes involving Arthur Hart (Fred Melamed) and Geraldine (Teyonah Parris), respectively. The shot is wide when seeing the characters act like their personas in a sitcom, but once characters start to act strange, the camera gets closer and it becomes more focused.
If there is a drawback to the start of the series, I’m not sure how accessible the show is to the common viewer. As the schedule for the show is a new episode every Friday, it would’ve best been released the Netflix style: all episodes released at once. If people don’t like the sitcom-style of the show, would they stick through it if they weren’t a prior fan of the characters?

With all that said, it’s been an entertaining, interesting, and creative start to Marvel Studios’ first show on Disney+. If the quality can keep up or get better, this could be one of the better projects from the MCU.

Matt Shakman directs WandaVision which is streaming on Disney+.

Zachary Weinberger is a staff writer for the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected] or tweet him @ZachWeinberger.