Review: ‘WandaVision’ flexes some different muscles as Marvel adds its power to Disney+

The first three episodes of the nine-part collection show stingy with important clues, so the viewers ought to be forewarned to buckle in for the journey. The satirical framework — inserting the central duo in outdated sitcoms — may even resonate extra with an viewers in a position to recognize how meticulously director Matt Shakman and head author Jac Schaeffer have replicated them, until the children had been weaned on packages like “The Dick Van Dyke Show” and “Bewitched” and can get visible gags about married {couples} in separate beds.

The most acquainted components, fortunately, see the return of Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany as Wanda and the Vision, the Scarlet Witch and artificial android whose unlikely love affair migrated from the pages of the Avengers comics to the display.

They’re reintroduced, considerably jarringly, in a black-and-white sitcom episode, reflecting an actual fondness for the style, and portrayed with spot-on performances by the leads. The present options loads of understanding nods to early-TV conventions — together with canned laughter, Kathryn Hahn as the nosy neighbor, and theme songs courtesy of Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez, the couple that lodged all these “Frozen” tunes in dad and mom’ heads.

What’s actually occurring right here, given the place movie-goers noticed these Avengers final? That’s the basic thriller, one the manufacturing crew is clearly in no hurry to disclose. Patience turns into a advantage, taking within the sitcom homages whereas sustaining a watchful eye for sly Marvel references and cleverly positioned dollops of coloration, presenting doable cracks within the black-and-white veneer.

The traditional special-effects pyrotechnics, in the meantime, are channeled into far more delicate triumphs of manufacturing design and costuming — a TV present that turns many years of TV historical past into an ally.

Overall, “WandaVision” serves as a shrewd and usually spectacular calling card for Marvel’s broader Disney+ strategy, after the excessive bar that Lucasfilm established with “The Mandalorian.” Unlike the smaller-scale exhibits produced for ABC and Netflix, these tasks draw upon high-profile names from the films — with the still-to-come “Loki” and “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” — then showcase them in ways in which emphasize character over cinematic blockbuster trappings.

Of course, one thing structured like “WandaVision” can solely really be judged as soon as you have reached the tip of the journey. For starters, although, the studio’s streaming imaginative and prescient seems fairly clear, even when these heroes’ black-and-white destiny does not.

“WandaVision” premieres Jan. 15 on Disney+.

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