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I marathoned the first 3 episodes of ‘WandaVision.’ Is it worth your time?

‘WandaVision’ launches Marvel into a new era. But does the show make sense for new and old Marvel fans?

Marvel Studios presents “WandaVision,” a blend of classic television and the Marvel Cinematic Universe in which Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) and Vision (Paul Bettany) – two super-powered beings living idealized suburban lives – begin to suspect that everything is not as it seems. The new series is directed by Matt Shakman; Jac Schaeffer is head writer.
Marvel Studios presents “WandaVision,” a blend of classic television and the Marvel Cinematic Universe in which Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) and Vision (Paul Bettany) – two super-powered beings living idealized suburban lives – begin to suspect that everything is not as it seems. The new series is directed by Matt Shakman; Jac Schaeffer is head writer.
Disney+

The Marvel Cinematic Universe will return Friday morning with “WandaVision,” a new Disney+ series.

The show centers around Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) and Vision (Paul Bettany), who are married and living in a town called WestView, based in a sitcom-like reality. However, Marvel fans know Vision died in “Avengers: Infinity War,” so clearly nothing appears as it seems. The show takes place after the events of “Avengers: Endgame,” or so we’ve been told. But other than that, there’s literally no clue to where we are or when we are in relation to the previous events.

And that’s the basic takeaway from the first three episodes of the show — nothing is what it appears to be, and everything is confusing. Even as the show progresses, the mystery box continues to unravel, and we’re still left clueless about where we are.

That said, the show does a great job of reintroducing fans into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and it sets the table nicely for any new fans to the superhero genre who are just interested in a new series (even if you’re not interested in superhero films).

There’s plenty to review from the new show, and yet there are so many questions that it’s hard to really dive into everything. But I jotted down plenty of takeaways from the first three episodes, as well as reviews for the first two episodes — which are being released Friday morning.

Moving forward, I will have individual reviews for each episode, which will be released on the day the episodes air. Since two episodes air on Friday, I’ve included the review for those two. A separate review for a third episode will drop next week.

So, here are my takeaways from the first three episodes. These will rely on more general themes from the show rather than individual plot points. Don’t worry, I won’t spoil anything major or minor.

Takeaways:

  • The opening Marvel theme song hits right. It makes you feel at home. There’s nothing like hearing that Marvel intro song for the first time since July 2019 when “Spider-Man: Far From Home” came out.
  • Wanda and Vision hold their own. They’re not central characters in Marvel. But they work well in this show since neither of them are overwhelmingly dramatic and fit well into the sitcom style.
  • Like any Marvel movie, there’s something bigger going on here that we’ve yet to explore. The hanging mystery of the show definitely makes you want to keep watching.
  • After the first three episodes, I can already tell “WandaVision” will be a perfect show to binge-watch. It will have nine total episodes, most of which appear to be in the 30-minute range. So you’re talking the equivalent of a four-to-five-hour movie. Mystery and cliffhangers will keep you on edge for the next installment.
  • This is not a traditional Marvel project. That is to say, it won’t feel like “Avengers: Endgame” or “Captain: America Civil War.” It’s something totally unique. Don’t expect heavy action scenes or massive team-ups between superheroes (at least not yet). And there’s no sign of a big bad guy like Thanos anywhere, either.
  • If pressed, I’d say “WandaVision” is a blend of “Doctor Strange,” (because it’s weird and reality-bending) “Ant-Man” (obviously the comedy) and “Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD,” the ABC television show (a little procedural and episodic).
  • I was fortunate enough to watch the first three episodes, which fit well together. It makes sense why Disney+ plans to release episodes 1 and 2 at the same time because by themselves, these episodes would leave a lot to be desired.
  • I can confirm that three episodes in we still don’t know anything that’s going on.
  • Marvel fans should definitely watch this show. It has all the things you love from Marvel: superheroes, humor and familiar characters from MCU. But new viewers will enjoy it, too. It’s a great reintroduction into the franchise that doesn’t require you to know everything that happened in the 23 MCU films. However, knowledge of the Marvel films definitely bolsters your understanding of what’s going on.
  • Truly, “WandaVision” is an excellent intro project for phase four of the MCU. It’s a fresh take on the franchise that stands on its own. It’s a must-watch for Marvel super fans and casual fans alike.

Now, let’s get into brief reviews for the first two episodes, which drop Friday morning.


Episode 1 (27 minutes)

The first episode of the season centers around Wanda and Vision moving into WestView, where they soon arrange for a dinner date with Vision’s boss, Mr. Heart.

The first thing you notice is that everything is not as it seems, and the show does a good job of making you feel on edge. WestView — though painted as a quaint ’50s-era town — feels slightly off-kilter. There’s a hanging sense of mystery and dread in the air, a feeling you can’t quite shake.

That said, the first episode really leans into the sitcom style, offering funny puns and jokes that are more or less sitcom tropes. The theme song at the beginning of the show offers the same type of vibe.

This all makes for a good introduction to Marvel if you’ve never seen a Marvel film. You’d be hard-pressed to find someone who hasn’t seen at least one Marvel Cinematic Universe film. But keeping up with 23 films isn’t exactly easy. “WandaVision” certainly succeeds in bringing old and new Marvel fans together. It’s also a hit for any sitcom fans.

That said, the opening episodes feel a little too old school. Younger viewers might not exactly enjoy the “I Love Lucy” vibes. The black and white can be hard to get used to.

Thankfully, the episode includes several Easter eggs — like mentions of characters and industries from the Marvel Cinematic Universe — to keep you engaged.

The first episode is a nice and clean introduction to the show. It introduces the sitcom concept, while also presenting an air of mystery that you want to understand.


Episode 2 (34 minutes)

The second episode of the season centers around a talent show event in the town of WestView, with Wanda and Vision putting on a magical performance.

This episode feels like a traditional sitcom episode, and it’s less appetizing than the premiere. It’s a little slow and the center of the plot falls flat. It’s about a talent show, and the performers aren’t too talented.

Paul Bettany is Vision and Elizabeth Olsen is Wanda Maximoff in Marvel Studios’ “WandaVision,” exclusively on Disney+. ‘WandaVision’ returns on Friday, Here’s how to watch.
Paul Bettany is Vision and Elizabeth Olsen is Wanda Maximoff in Marvel Studios’ “WandaVision,” exclusively on Disney+.
Disney+

Thankfully, there are a few moments that tease what’s to come, especially toward the end of the episode with what might be our first look at a villain. If you can believe it, we’re also left more confused as the mysteries pile up through sights and sounds scattered through the episode.

The second episode succeeds in normalizing the idea of “WandaVision.” It briefly feels less like a mystery show and more like a traditional sitcom featuring two Marvel characters.

Things slowly become more normal. Yes, there are more moments that will remind you about the hanging mystery of it all. But ultimately, this is the most “normal” episode of the first three since it feels the most like a regular sitcom. There’s little in this episode that feels like a piece of the MCU, and it feels more like “WandaVision,” its own unique and talented show.