WandaVision Episode 1 & 2 (Disney+)
I try not to make a habit of heaping praise on the superhero genre. There’s no prejudice, but nature dictates that once you’ve graduated with a degree in Film and spent time enjoying the thrills of ‘set life’, you just happen to become a pretentious so and so. It’s more a curse than a blessing.
My hesitation did, however, come to an end with the landmarks that were Avengers Endgame and Joker – which I reckon is the finest film of the past ten years.
So when Marvel announced that their ‘Phase 4’ of the cinematic universe would shift between film and television, I was hardly apprehensive. In our day and age, television has become the equivalent of cinema because the quality is just so damn good.
I’m delighted to say that WandaVision, newly released on Disney+ is fantastic. Straying from the not-so-distant days of Barney the Dinosaur wiping out half of civilisation with an infinity stone, we find ourselves presented with Scarlet Witch Wanda Maximoff and her supercomputer boyfriend, Vision (who you will remember from Avengers: Infinity War is supposed to be dead after Thanos ripped one of the infinity stones from his head), seemingly living in domestic bliss in what appears to be a classic American sitcom reminiscent of The Dick Van Dyke Show and Bewitched right down to fake advertisements for kitchen appliances.
There are on the nose jokes, a kooky neighbour and an overwhelming sense that something is very, very wrong. Nothing is as it seems, and that’s the golden takeaway from this spectacularly crafted opening to what appears to be a lovers’ dream that looks destined to spiral into a Lynchian nightmare.
Standing out like a red rose amongst monochrome thorns is Elizabeth Olsen, whose character changes subtly in every episode as she and Paul Bettany, doing a Dick York/Frank Spencer hybrid, shift between cliché and confusion as time and style evolves around them at a scary pace.
The sinister undertones of this marvel are illusive. Your willingness to laugh along with an unseen studio audience whilst disturbing events take place reflects how we’re pulled in by the media machine and the creepy ways in which it influences our own lives.
This is another ground-breaking event so positively unnerving; it’s going to make the week-long gap between episodes extra tough.