April 15, 2021

Nothing is what it seems in WandaVision

Promotional poster for The Vision and the Scarlet Witch, the first Marvel series at Disney

Promotional poster for The Vision and the Scarlet Witch, the first Marvel series at Disney

It might seem like an episode of ‘Bewitched’, but deep down it has more in common with ‘The Twilight Zone’. The first series of the Marvel Cinematic Universe on Disney Plus is the opposite of what we have seen so far in its superhero movies. Nothing is what it seems in The Vision and the Scarlet Witch. (With this tendency not to translate the titles, I do not understand why they have not kept their name in English, ‘WandaVision’ in this one).

It is not even a black and white series, as it might seem, much less a comedy. The canned laughter that accompanies each occurrence of the protagonists becomes an increasingly sinister sound. Especially as we are clear that nothing is in place. Society nods from the ‘Mad Men’ years give way to ‘Lost’ twists and turns we don’t really know when the classic dose of mamporros will arrive fans of the genre are used to. Because nobody doubts that it will come. At the moment, action, nothing at all. Just atmosphere.

Marvel has known how to cut the deck well after the hit of ‘Avengers: Endgame’ with a breath of fresh air fleeing from walking paths already known. With this series, he prepares the way for the new batch of titles in his fictional universe, which will alternate between cinema and the small screen. With ‘The Mandalorian’, Disney claimed its rightful place in television entertainment and now has to maintain its position.

Paul Bettany and Elisabeth Olsen reprise the roles they already played in the avenging franchise films. A mutant witch and an android with human feelings who fell in love and whose romance cut short the arrival of Thanos with his infinity stones. The story of this unusual couple was one of the loose ends left after the epic end of ‘Endgame’. It seemed that it was something that they were going to reveal to us in this series, which began by puzzling its audience by placing its two protagonists in an unexpected situation. Nobody knows how or why. Neither the two characters, nor the spectators.

The point is that appear as a newlywed couple in a black and white world arriving in a quiet residential neighborhood in the United States, one of those that Tim Burton liked so much, nestled in the apparently naive but dark decade of the fifties. A place very far from New York with mammoth skyscrapers whose windows explode into a thousand pieces as soon as the attack of the supervillain on duty begins. The secret is that nothing what we see on the screen is real. The protagonists seem to find themselves trapped living inside a classic sitcom in a Matrix-like setting. The canned laughter will always accompany their phrases and their looks. Even if the jokes are not funny.

For those who have not caught it, it must be clarified that nobody tries to have it. In fact, the most disturbing moments come when the protagonists begin to perceive that something strange is happening and that their life is not as idyllic as it seems.

The mystery consists of unraveling what is happening. Do the protagonists participate in some perverse game by a supervillain to live in an old-fashioned sitcom? Theories and speculations are open, now that the series it has only broadcast two of its nine episodes. For now, the hypothesis that all the ballots have to win the pool is that the Scarlet Witch is responsible for all this mess. Wanda Maximov could be creating this parallel reality as a refuge before the sudden appearance of Thanos in his life. In the comics we already saw the character succumb to his dark side and do something similar.

Nor should we forget that it was one of the powerful gems that gave life to the Vision. Somehow, the subconscious is warning her that this unreal world in which she has locked herself is not as happy as it seems. Despite the angelic appearance of all its inhabitants, something tells her that she and her husband have to hide their powers. In the eyes of society they must be the perfect marriage, as it was conceived at the time. She as a devoted housewife who had to make her husband happy when he returned home from work in a sinister office, where his boss loves to be cheated on and sees communist infiltrators everywhere.

Whenever true reality peeks out, it does so by introducing some color into that grayscale world. A resource that we saw in the classic ‘The Wizard of Oz’ or in the nineties ‘Pleasantville’. It seems that in each episode we are going to attend a tribute to the sitcoms of different comedies. In the pilot, we were in the world of I Love Lucy and in the second in Bewitched. Will we jump to seventy in the third? Trailers and promos tell us so.

They say that ‘WandaVision’ will introduce into the Marvel Universe the concept of alternative universes to be developed in the new installments films of Doctor Strange and Spider-Man. For this last film, they already anticipate that we will have on screen all the versions of the spider-man that we have had on the big screen in recent years in each of the reboots of the arachnid franchise. The series anticipates Marvel’s landing in a new batch of titles, once the alliance with Netflix terminated.

The filming of Wandavision could be completed before the pandemic began, but the filming of the rest of the productions was completely affected and had to be paralyzed. For this reason, the new releases had been fallow to schedule all the premieres on the calendar. In the coming months we will see the premieres of ‘The Falcon and the Winter Soldier’, as well as ‘Loki’, which has already been renewed for a second season without any of its episodes having been broadcast.

The creator and screenwriter of ‘WandaVision’ is Jac Schaeffer, who is also preparing for the big screen premiere of another ‘Avengers’ cast member, Black Widow, with Scarlett Johansson as the protagonist. She was also one of the screenwriters of the film Captain Marvel, so it is worth wondering if she will be the one who is going to set the compass in the publisher’s adaptations of the superheroines. While directing duties have fallen on veteran television director Matt Shakman, who has gone behind the scenes in episodes of some essential titles from the television catalog in recent years: ‘Mad Men’, ‘Game of Thrones’,’ The Good Wife ‘,’ Succession ‘, as well as comedies like’ Eres lo Peor ‘and’ Hanged in Philadelphia ‘. Come on, he has worked in both drama and comedy, which makes him the ideal filmmaker for that alternation between laughter and suspense. On Fridays you have to prepare the popcorn.


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