Los Angeles: When the Marvel superhero movies reached their box office-shattering climax in 2019, nobody could have predicted the saga’s next installment would be a kitsch, black-and-white TV sitcom called “WandaVision.” But a lot has changed since Iron Man and friends saved the world in that summer’s all-time record-grossing blockbuster “Avengers: Endgame” (and mopped up some loose plot points in “Spider-Man: Far From Home” shortly thereafter.)
The wildly popular franchise of 23 interconnected movies has ground to a halt along with the rest of the world as Covid-19 shuttered movie theaters, delaying “Black Widow” and other big-screen superhero sequels. Meanwhile parent company Disney has splashed out billions bringing its biggest franchises and characters to the Disney+ TV platform, as it locks horns with Netflix, HBO Max and others in the spendthrift “streaming wars.” So here to finally push onward the over-arching plot of Marvel’s “cinematic universe” is “WandaVision,” an oddball and fiercely original series out Friday on Disney+.
It stars witch Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen), and other-worldly android Vision (Paul Bettany), two B-list superheroes who struck up an unlikely but fan-favorite romance across several recent Marvel films. “WandaVision” finds them — without explanation — living happily married in the idyllic 1950s town of Westview, which is seemingly lifted straight from an episode of “Bewitched” or “I Love Lucy” (complete with canned laughter track). They still have superpowers, but have traded battles with genocidal villains for a cozy world of school fundraisers, neighbourhood watch meetings and anniversary dinners.
If that sounds incredibly weird, it is. “When I first heard the pitch of the show, I was gobsmacked,” admitted director Matt Shakman. “There are so many shows out there on streaming right now — to find something that feels so special, like it hasn’t been done before, that’s really rare,” he said. “And this definitely is one of those.”