TV Review: Marvel’s “WandaVision” is a Dark, Hilarious Journey Through Classic Television

The Marvel Cinematic Universe has given us wildly entertaining films in a variety of genres. Sure, all of them are superhero-action films, but they can also fit into the categories of comedy, crime, politics and so many others. One genre they haven’t tackled to this point is sitcom.

The MCU’s first Disney+ original series dives headfirst into that world though as WandaVision throws Marvel fans back in time to experience some brand new classic television.

The very first thing audiences need to know about WandaVision is that it is not the typical Marvel Studios project. If you’re looking for another superhero story about a character who uses their remarkable abilities to save the world from the wrath of some kind of powerful villain, you will likely quickly become very confused. This is a story about a grief-stricken superhuman with reality-warping abilities and a struggle to control her powers.

However, even that isn’t completely apparent on the surface. The primary focus is actually on the story within the story – a time-jumping sitcom starring Wanda and Vision as newlyweds who have moved into their new home. The couple encounters a cast of quirky neighbors, from whom they have to hide their superhuman abilities. Honestly, this is a sitcom that likely would have worked in any one of the decades it spans.

Each episode is set in another time period, starting with the 50s and jumping ahead a decade with each new installment. The music, costumes and even the acting changes one a weekly basis, blending into the time period with each passing time jump. The 70s theme song in particular is an absolute win.

Elizabeth Olsen truly shines in this role, fitting into each time period seamlessly. She has been successfully bringing Wanda Maximoff to life on the big screen for years now, but she has absolutely exceeded all expectations in this new series. Paul Bettany matches her step for step in the role of Vision, providing a great deal of the humor with his awkward energy and difficulty adapting to this new world. The supporting cast also does an incredible job, with Kathry Hahn and Teyonah Parris really standing out. The latter, not only fits into the sitcom humor effortlessly but also delivers a fantastic, eerie, dramatic performance.

Teyonah Parris as Monica Rambeau in Marvel Studios' WANDAVISION exclusively on Disney+. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. ©Marvel Studios 2020. All Rights Reserved.

Teyonah Parris as Monica Rambeau in Marvel Studios' WANDAVISION exclusively on Disney+. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. ©Marvel Studios 2020. All Rights Reserved.

While this new series succeeds in creating, what could really be considered a series of hilarious new sitcoms, it really excels when it comes to creating an underlying story. Never before has a show generated such belly laugh-inducing humor while also building a very uneasy energy and suspense underneath it all.

WandaVision does things that simply haven't been done. It has created a world that provides a safe home for an incredibly enjoyable story that will keep you laughing from beginning to end, and now spends each episode slowly tearing down that world to gradually expose the very dark story that lies beneath.

If there is any microscopic flaw in this new series, it’s that it might confuse some casual fans who are just looking for another superhero slugfest. With that being said, the marketing for WandaVision has not tried to hide what this new series will be. It has been presented as a wild adventure through sitcom history, and that’s exactly what it is. Just, with a lot more to it just beneath the surface.

WandaVision is so perfectly unique and unlike anything you’ve ever seen. It is hilarious in a way that no previous Marvel project has been, given the drastic stylistic differences between this and films like Guardians of the Galaxy and Thor: Ragnarok. However, it’s also incredibly deep and heartfelt with just a touch of creepy thrown in there as well. The walls between those two categories are slowly torn down, blending two very different worlds into one incredible story. Plus, it appears this series will have some major repercussions for the MCU as a whole moving forward.

WandaVision will debut on Disney+ on Friday, January 15.

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Mike Mack
Mack is the Editorial Director for Marvel and ESPN content and he has covered comic cons, theme park events, video game showcases and other fun events. He is a fan of theme parks, sports, movies, Marvel Comics and is a self-proclaimed "nerd."