Dan’s review published on Letterboxd:
Softbox coming so the lighting will look better on our upcoming Q&A video! Feel free to leave any questions below, we’re getting close to filming that vid but could still do with a few more q’s!
As for WandaVision...
I’m not quite on board yet. Watched the first 2 episodes and while there’s definitely a certain amount of charm and intrigue behind the whole black and white 50’s-style sitcom thing, it’s not particularly hilarious in my opinion.
I’m all down for bigger things to come into play, which they inevitably will, and there’s an impressive cast most of whom I’ve yet to see, so I’m looking forward to seeing those people join in (Kat Dennings I’m looking at you), but overall this just hasn’t grabbed me yet.
Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany have great chemistry, and there’s the occasional moment where Olsen has a really complex bit of acting to pull off, and she’s shown glimpses of greatness. I’ve also really enjoyed Kathryn Hahn and Debra Jo Rupp, who really bring that over-the-top style of acting back in a way that’s pretty tongue-in-cheek. Rupp also has a really creepy moment towards the end of the pilot, which stood out to me as one of the more interesting moments of the show, and I can’t wait to see where it’s headed.
The episodes are competently enough directed but there’s not been anything yet that’s particularly impressed me, and the writing I feel could be better. It’s a weird critique though, because essentially most of my issues stem from the way that 50’s sitcoms were structured and presented, so if that’s where most of my problems lie, am I criticising WandaVision or am I really criticising 50’s sitcoms? Either way, I do think the humour needs to be sharper since this is first and foremost presenting itself as a situation comedy.
There’s clearly something bigger going on that we’ll get to soon, and we keep seeing glimpses of this when someone will act a bit strange, or when “an outside voice” might speak to Wanda. I’m interested to see what’s going on and these “off” moments are by far the most interesting thing about the show. Of course I have my theories but I can’t be 100% sure as to what’s going on.
It’s nailing the tone and style of those old sitcoms don’t get me wrong, but their overly simplistic plots and slapstick comedy haven’t aged brilliantly, and WandaVision isn’t doing enough yet to poke fun at, or modernise, the format. There have been small moments where they’ve taken the piss out of the “men’s roles” and “women’s roles” of the time, but I want to either see more deconstructing of that type of thing or the weekly stories and humour to stand on their own two feet, which right now they aren’t doing.
I realise the show won’t stay like this forever and I’m sure the characters will get Pleasantville’d before too long, but as for right now it’s actually a bit of a slog to get through. The episodes are also longer than most modern sitcoms so 30 mins as opposed to 22 mins means you do feel the difference in runtime a bit, especially as the plots are overly simple and aren’t too engaging.
Overall I feel I’ve spent more time speaking about the negatives than I intended to, but so far I can’t really say I’m loving WandaVision. As it goes on and things are revealed I’m sure I’ll warm to it, but as of right now it has my curiosity, but not my attention.
Not gonna rate it out of 10 until I’ve seen the whole season!