By Gretchen Lee
When Marvel’s first Disney+ live-action series, WandaVision, was first announced, I was apathetic towards the idea. While I enjoyed the characters of Wanda Maximoff and Vision in other Marvel movies, they hadn’t left much of an impact on me due to their lack of screen time. After they pitched the show to potential audiences as a comedy/drama/reality-warped-thriller and Disney+ released the first two episodes, I was hooked.
Wanda Maximoff and The Vision have just moved to the quaint New Jersey town of Westview, where the couple tries to stop questioning neighbors from discovering that they are an incredibly powerful witch and the world’s most advanced cybernetic robot. As they try to fit in, mysterious occurrences threaten to reveal their secrets as a couple, as well as the secrets Wanda herself is keeping. With each episode framed as a sitcom from a different era of television history, WandaVision delivers an awesome, addicting blend of weird and wonderful with increasing intensity every week.
This show is, by far, one of the best examples of uncanny valley I have seen used in television. The show lures audiences into a sense of normalcy (even as its main characters are a robot and the world’s most powerful superhero) before sliding in an incredibly unsettling scene and returning to that earlier feeling of averageness as if nothing happened. Every episode is warm and funny with a side of being absolutely chilling to the core without the show ever delivering any real horror. The constantly shifting atmosphere is masterfully crafted and ties in well with an equally amazing plot. Every week, audiences are fed an entire meal of mystery and questions, getting only a few answers in return. This formula keeps viewers theorizing and excited every week between episodes, insatiably craving the arrival of another Friday.
Camera angles, music, sound design, and pacing are meticulously tied together in WandaVision to contribute to the incredible weirdness of the show. Laugh tracks are placed right after something strange happens, cameras focus on specific people’s faces in just the right moments, and framing is used to allow viewers to pick out important background details. Most movies do a wonderful job of blending music and visuals, but this show has truly gone above and beyond in utilizing all aspects of sound and focus to set tone and mood in a unique way. It is evident that a truly incredible amount of thought and planning has been put into WandaVision in a way that is epically paying off.
I am eagerly awaiting the arrival of the next episode. Never has a show left me on the edge of my seat in the way this one has; every episode elicits such a visceral reaction and leaves me wanting more. I am excited to see how WandaVision will tie into the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but even more intriguing is the tone it has set for the next phase of MCU filmmaking. If Marvel continues to think outside of the box and provide content at this level, the next few years will be very exciting indeed. In the meantime, I will be returning to my wall of pictures and red string as I await another Friday.