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‘WandaVision’ an eerie mystery in a classic sitcom wrapper

A scene from the new Disney+ series “WandaVision.” Watch the trailer above. | YouTube screenshot
One of the strengths of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is that Marvel has been able to place their characters into stories that bear the trappings of a wide range of genres and get a good movie out of it. From political thriller to heist movie to sci-fi comedy, the MCU has tackled them all. Now “WandaVision,” the MCU’s latest series, Marvel has come up with something that pushes that concept to a new level.
“WandaVision” follows Wanda “Scarlet Witch” Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) and the android Vision (Paul Bettany) as they try to fit into a regular suburban setting filled with regular humans. This requires them to hide their superpowers and approximate normal human behavior. Meanwhile, the couple keeps finding clues that all is not what it seems.
The major concept driving “WandaVision” is “What would happen if two Marvel superheroes existed in a series of classic sitcoms from throughout TV history.” The first two episodes cover a “Honeymooners”-style 50s show and classic 60s television like “I Dream of Genie.” There’s a laugh track and the jokes are the kind of jokes you’d see in sitcoms from those time periods, albeit with a Marvel comics twist.
The show also borrows elements from “Pleasantville” and “The Truman Show” in the way it executes the mystery elements of the plot. Certain clues that things are not as they appear show up in color, contrasting with the show’s black-and-white visuals and emphasizing that viewers need to pay attention. Not sure how they’ll handle this element as they move into the era of color TV.
The “Truman Show” stuff comes out as we find out that a shadowy someone is watching what is going on with Wanda and Vision. We don’t know who or why, but it doesn’t seem like it was Wanda’s idea. I think I have an idea what they’re setting up, but I could be wrong.
“WandaVision” is weird, unsettling and just plain eerie. Olsen’s performance is key to getting this tone right. Wanda is as unbalanced as the events taking place around her and Olsen deftly swings her from classic cheeseball sitcom wife to confused character in the center of a mystery story and back again.
Bettany is also good, especially in Episode 2 where he gets to play what is essentially an intoxicated version of Vision. Kathryn Hahn and Debra Jo Rupp steal some scenes. The cast isn’t extensive but I imagine it will expand as the show rolls on.
The writing and direction of “WandaVision” are effective and also contribute a lot to the show’s best aspect: the eerie, unsettling tone. Even during the most light-hearted scenes, there’s an underlying sense of dread. It gives the show an extra layer and helps it to stick in your head after you watch it. Solving the mystery is what engages you most and it works pretty well.
“WandaVision” is interesting because it puts Marvel characters in classic TV settings. But what makes it worth watching is the off-kilter feeling it gives and the mystery it’s unraveling as its story unspools.
“WandaVision” is available to stream on Disney+, with new episodes premiering each Friday through March 5.
The post ‘WandaVision’ an eerie mystery in a classic sitcom wrapper appeared first on East Idaho News.

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