For 563 days, I was a woman adrift. My friends: gone their separate ways. My family: haunted by grief. I subsisted on whispers and rumors and the rare teaser trailer.
But then, a light shone from the darkness. And it was called … WandaVision.
OK, sure, I’m being a little dramatic. But the time between the release of Spider-Man: Far From Home—the last Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) movie to hit theaters way (way) back in July 2019—and the premiere of the first official MCU TV series was a rough time for those of us who consider ourselves MCU stans.
The drought of Marvel superhero goodness was obviously exacerbated by the global pandemic shutting down theaters and changing the way we all live our lives and experience our pop-culture lives. But, thankfully, the powers that be figured out a way to make things work (safely, I hope!) and finally lead us to water.
WandaVision is a strange, quirky show that strays from the normal MCU mold. It tells the story of married couple Wanda Maximoff, a.k.a. Scarlet Witch, and Vision, the physical embodiment of a mix of JARVIS, Tony Stark’s AI assistant; Ultron, the evil AI from Avengers: Age of Ultron (also the first appearance of Wanda in the MCU); and the Mind Stone, one of the five stones Thanos used in Avengers: Infinity War to snap away half of the universe’s population. (Phew.)
But wait, you might be thinking—didn’t Vision die in Infinity War? And, like, die-die, not get snapped away only to return five years later with the rest of the folks in Avengers: Endgame?
The answer, it seems, is complicated.
But that’s where the fun lies: unraveling the mystery and enjoying the ride.
The show is, on the surface, a sitcom that celebrates sitcom tropes throughout the ages. In its first three episodes, it’s paid homage to shows such as The Dick Van Dyke Show, Bewitched, and The Brady Bunch; it starts off in black and white with a 4:3 ratio (the old school square) and doesn’t fully convert to color until the third episode. There are even commercials that fit each time period. And it isn’t until the fourth episode that we get more than an occasional hint that there’s something larger going on behind the scenes—both literally and figuratively. I’ve seem some complaints on the Internet (imageine that!) that this pacing is too slow, but I’ve really enjoyed the slow burn, and the cleverness of how the reveals are revealed.
The cast is also killer, from Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany as Wanda and Vision, respectively, to Kathryn Hahn as Agnes, a neighbor (and maybe more?), and Teyonah Parris as “Geraldine,” another citizen of their small town of Westview. (The quotes are because Geraldine’s not exactly who she seems, but I don’t want to spoil any of y’all who aren’t fully caught up. There are other familiar MCU faces who make an appearance, too, but again … spoilers.)
And then there’s the fact that most episodes feature a theme song written by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez, the couple behind Frozen‘s catchiest tunes.
And-and in addtion to the show being just fun to watch on a number of levels, being able to speculate with my husband and other friends gives me back a a form of connection that’s been sorely missed; it’s not the same as standing outside a movie theater late at night recapping the movie we just watched for way longer than any of us meant to, but it definitely helps fill that craving.
I could go on for a while.
I don’t know how the rest of the series will go—the fifth episode releases tomorrow, and there will be nine in total—and I have no idea, at this point, how it ties into the larger MCU. But I am 100% on board to enjoy it and myself for the rest of the season, and thank my lucky Star(k)s that the long drought is finally over.