Review: “WandaVision” Episode 1 & 2 Are a Perfect Way to Re-Enter the Marvel Cinematic Universe

On January 15, 2021, the first two episodes of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s (M.C.U.) WandaVision series streamed on Disney Plus. Directed by Matt Shakman, the main cast consists of Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Bettany, Kat Dennings, Kathryn Hahn, Teyonah Parris, Fred Melamed, and Debra Jo Rupp. Set after the events of Avengers: Endgame, WandaVision centers around Wanda (Olsen) and Vision (Bettany) as they integrate into a new neighborhood. Despite a light-hearted sitcom exterior, multiple eerie scenes in the first two episodes reveal that everything is not what it seems. As the first M.C.U. project of Phase Four, WandaVision’s first two episodes are unique, humorous, and compelling, and do not disappoint. Spoiler warnings ahead.

WandaVision breaks the traditional structure of a superhero story; instead of C.G.I.-intense action sequences, the first two episodes take the bizarre elements of Wanda’s character from the comics and intertwine it with the hilarious essence of ’50s and ’60s sitcoms, creating a delightfully trippy story. This unique style seamlessly integrates with how Wanda and Vision use their powers to perform casual, everyday actions. For example, when Wanda and Vision perform in the talent show, Wanda uses her powers to pull out a piece of gum from Vision’s stomach. Because Vision is an artificial life-form with enhanced speed, strength, and the powers of the Mind Stone, it was odd and humorous to see him in this setting. Unlike Marvel’s past films, presenting the two superheroes as seemingly normal and quirky people entices the audience to uncover underlying plots from hints spread throughout the series. 

Viewers quickly realize an sinister undertone exists beneath the cheerful sitcom scenes. For instance, when Vision invites his boss, Arthur Hart (Fred Melamed), to their house, Wanda comedically scrambles to prepare dinner in typical sitcom fashion, complete with a laugh track. However, during dinner, Hart begins to choke while eating Wanda’s home cooked meal and as he struggles to breath, his wife repeats “stop it,” getting more and more panicked despite smiling. After such an intense scene, Hart’s wife simply chuckles at Wanda’s lobster door knocker, and the incident is never addressed, making it all the more creepy. Constantly switching between comedic scenes and chilling ones, WandaVision impeccably intertwines M.C.U. ‘s well-known intense plots with unexpected humorous twists to build a complex storyline.

The first two episodes of WandaVision left the audience with many questions about the real plot of the series, so here is a somewhat far-fetched prediction: Agnes is a witch called Agatha Harkness, who works with Marvel’s version of the devil, Mephisto. Much like the comic “West Coast Avengers,” Mephisto’s goal is to drain Wanda’s chaos magic by trapping her in this sitcom-like reality, as well as making her have children with Vision (it is revealed Wanda is pregnant at the end of episode two). Meanwhile the organization S.W.O.R.D is trying to get her out of this reality, hence the voice in the radio in episode two saying, “Who is doing this to you, Wanda?” The rest of Westview are also trying to make Wanda feel as comfortable and happy as possible in this reality, so that she cannot leave. They seem to be successful when Wanda immediately reverses time after seeing the beekeeper S.W.O.R.D agent who was trying to save her. Because Vision died in Avengers: Infinity War, he may also very well be another actor in this reality.

WandaVision has the responsibility to narrow the gap between mainstream M.C.U. films and other Marvel Disney Plus projects. Episodes one and two receive 4.5/5 stars for their great level of detail, on-point acting, and genre-bending characteristics. Although the return of the M.C.U. started off highly experimental and vastly different to what fans were used to, its first two episodes have been very promising, but may have also been too gimmicky for some fans. However, these episodes could be considered “Act 1” of the series, setting up the visual rules, while also hinting at the dark truths of the reality Wanda is trapped in. WandaVision’s unique take of a superhero story opens many doors for the future of the M.C.U.