“WandaVision” is a bizarre, bizarre marriage between classic TV and Marvel superhero films

Artifice is a defining feature of the classic sitcom, especially in shows made in the 1950s, ’60s, and’ 70s. Changes in each of those decades or, since the ’50s, a determined recovery from a world war, have been touted by the motivational producers to create a family-friendly getaway. In these safe TV bubbles, there was not much of an issue within half an hour, and the lanes of laughter acted on the screen like the waves of a gentle sea on a clear sunny day.

And every week, no matter what, the story ends on a happy, feel-good note.

This is not an environment in which one is expected to meet Marvel Cinematic Universe heroes Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) or Vision (Paul Bettany), who will last appear in “Avengers: Infinity War” and “Avengers: Endgame” And not on TV. .

It’s only the beginning that makes “Vandavision” such a strange, creatively adventurous pastiche: it takes a pair of technicolor superhumans who are capable of spooking the Titan and dropping them into an assortment of half-hour comedy is. And his first mission sets him inside a black and white paradise that is a dead ringer for Rob and Laura Petrie for “The Dick Van Dyke Show”.

Where Van Dyke’s Rob Petrie travels on a piece of furniture as he comes home to the opening credits of that old show. Vision is able to pass through walls, avoid stumbling and go through the right steps. A later show of “Beached” featured Wanda aka Scarlet Witch, who bites her fingers, not her nose, to lift kitchen utensils and utensils in the air.

Like her great love vision, Wanda’s power stems from Mind Stone, one of the Infinity Stones with divinity-level powers that eliminated The Infinity Saga. Vision gained complete emotion and life through Mind Stone, which was embedded in his forehead. . . Well. All that matters, at least for Wanda, is that they are living the script of a perfect romance.

Those MCU films piled up lovers with enormous power and, at times, against each other. Now his biggest challenge is to fit in with the rest of the neighbors and impress Vision’s boss.

The Infinity Saga is a collection of films beginning in 2008 with “Iron Man” and ending with “Endgame”. The next phase of this journey, called Phase 4, officially closed this year with “Black Widow”.

That said, the two-episode launch of “Vandavision” feels like a worthy bridge between the past and the future of the MCU.

For a while Marvel had been expanding on TV in every way, while clearly expressing the impression that its small screen titles were somehow fewer projects than its theatrical giants. ABC’s recently departed “Agents of SHIELD” films live in the same universe, acting under their own narrative power, as Hulu’s “Runway” says. The Netflix series – “Daredevil,” Luke Cage, “” Jessica Jones “and” Iron Fist “- were separate attempts to create a franchise around The Defenders. Culturally significant to each as” Jessica Jones ” Quality and quality have increased… “Iron Fist.”

Then in 2019 Marvel cut ties with Netflix, stopping production on all Defender-related titles.

Recalling the most basic outline of the history of this business, you see, because “Vandavision” puts any question to rest, because the company is really looking at television not just as a medium, but as an artifact. Believes as The two-episode debut, Shraddha from small-screen history, with a surprisingly same level of reverence and wonder as its elaborate superhero mythology has a brilliant answer.

“Vandavision” is a feast for TV viewers and film watchers alike, and its ambitions do not stop there. Each episode is also made to please comic book readers who want to get screen time to the worlds and characters discovered on the page.

Giving some basic knowledge about old TV shows is probably more important in the early episodes, especially when it directs different tips-of-the-hat director Matt Shakman and writer Jack Schaffer toward those TV icons . His dedication to the replication and twist of recognizable details from these shows and TV in general is scattered throughout all episodes with admirable precision.

Again, looking at the talent to bring this big swing to life, we should not be surprised that it works so well. Olsen’s prodigious talent and versatility has never been in question, especially by anyone who saw his nude performance in the very short-lived Facebook series “Sorry for Your Loss”. Luckily for both the viewer and the actor, the show does away with the unfortunate faux Eastern European accent as her character was paired with her film introduction. (Wanda is a native of a non-existent country known as Sokovia.)

Bettany’s physical comedy skills will be more of a pleasant surprise given his drama and action film-heavy filmography, and he steals the spotlight in the second episode when Vision, a synthetic sentimental (or synthetized) mistakenly as a human I take my play too far.

Keeping Katherine Hahn high on the credits adds value to the viewer in the story, and she is also superb as Agnes, the indispensable neighbor who seems helpful, but we suspect a touch of Gladys Kravitz is hidden behind her smile. Hain rarely disappoints, and this is true even when the show around him is failing to grade – and thus in a winning project, he is as bright as one day.

But much of the credit for the success of “Vandavision” goes to beauty choice as acting. Shakman is a longtime producer “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”, a series based on TV TV. Here, she gets to use her tropes and practices to tell a story that only seems light on her face, but clearly masking something horrifying. The “Dick Van Dyke” tribute is presented in the good old 4: 3 aspect ratio which is the hallmark of early TV; Coupled with the context of the story, the effect makes it appear as if we are watching Wanda and Vision catering inside a living diorama, or a terrarium as opposed to a neighborhood.

The second episode gives him his own version of “Baywatch”, which is just below the animated opening, TV Americana’s icon as an eyelid in Wanda’s superhero moniker Scarlet Witch. Disney + is wise to present the first two episodes as a matchy set as it sets up the show as Bing is meant to be, and the structure is something that is deceptively comfortable, recognizable but unbelievable.

As the show progresses, TV streams begin to become more universally recognized, with the third episode beginning a funhouse mirror reflection of “The Brady Bunch” – the set design nails that iconic under the tiniest nook Let us see the form of a partition-level room. But this is also where the strangeness of the plot begins to bear fruit with increasing fullness and speed.

“Vandavision” does not include any details about the duplicated show and, significantly, canned laughter. Check out a vintage vintage series that inspired this adventure and you can notice that while they are long on charm, the amount of punchlines that slap on the knee is actually less than you might remember. In lesser shows they are a cover for the mediocre, but even among the best ones, the track acts as a fluvian cue to let us know when and where to gig.

When we watch Wanda and Vision travel happily for a while with recorded laughter, until it happens; As are the increased reactions from their TV neighbors and colleagues.

Other familiar faces for frequent TV viewers only enhance the meta nature of the show, including “That ’70s Show” by Debra Jo Rup and Emma Buffalo, an alumnus of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”. Teyonah Parris (“Mad Men”) also emerges as one of Wanda and Vision’s helpful neighbors who, like everyone else, are probably not what she seems.

The introduction of these faces may be a subtle hint in a deeper sense; For example, if you recognize Caulfield, you may also know that “Buffy” creator Jose Whedon made a significant addition to the Marvel Universe. And that can be the point.

But again, maybe it isn’t. (Who am I trying to fool here – of course it does.)

Whether you picked up the implication of that hint or it turned out to be right doesn’t matter, though the episode made available to critics may have been an Easter egg basket. Sharp-sighted MCU devotees accustomed to add a welt of sight to small details will consider themselves well served in this regard.

Even if you don’t have the knowledge of this franchise, or if you don’t have the time to watch the final “Avengers” movies to skip the MCA Wanda and Vision story, don’t give it up. Now away from watching “Vandavision” and checking out movies later. There are several guides to the Marvel Galaxy duet online, including official wonders such as this one, and this one.

And assuming you are absolutely interested in this title, you only need to keep a few key points in mind.

Previously, comic books constantly play with alternate existence and parallel universes. Second, Wanda possesses the power to bend reality, making him one of the most powerful characters in this universe – possibly even the most dangerous, as he is still learning the limits of his abilities.

The final unavoidable truth is that whatever kind of program “Vandavision” turns out to be, it is unlikely to offer simplified comfort in the conclusion of this love story. But we just don’t know enough about anything to go on here, except that we like everything we see and we’re curious to know if these characters are somehow happy after Finale. Or fly away in a stream of tears and explosions.

Either way it’s growing, it’s worth watching the original untruth through the finale, be it bitter or sweet the sitcom.

The two-episode premiere of “Vandavision” is now airing on Disney +, with subsequent episodes coming weekly on Fridays.

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