IronWatcher’s review published on Letterboxd:
Watched on Disney + (from March 1st until March 9th)
The MCU came, saw and won in the cinemas of this world. The franchise is now the most successful film series of all time, with sales amounting to well over 20 billion dollars. There is no end to the campaign of conquest, and currently it is also the turn of the smaller devices at home. The first series in the MCU is titled "WandaVision" and ushers in the next phase of superhero adventures, but it takes an unusual approach. Instead of material battles, bombast and pathos, this series relies on a completely different American tradition: the sitcom.
Attentive viewers can even learn a thing or two about television history from "WandaVision". Elizabeth Olsen (Wanda) and Paul Bettany (Vision) play through the sitcom formats of the last 70 years with a lot of fun, including the corresponding outfits and depiction of social norms. This transfers effortlessly to the viewer, whether you are a follower of the MCU or not. But the fun is clearly in the foreground of the show, how could it be otherwise when comics and sitcoms are the models for this story.
Not only "Malcolm in the Middle", "Full House" or "Modern Family" are the inspiration for the individual episodes, there are also several homages to older series such as "Bewitched" from 1964. The first episodes of "WandaVision" were even filmed in front of a live audience - you can see that there is not only a lot of money involved (a reported 25 million dollars per episode) - but also a love for the medium of television and its history per se. That alone makes the series more worth watching than most repetitive MCU flicks, whose outcome can even be read if the points of contact with the franchise were only marginal beforehand.
Nevertheless, it goes without saying that the followers of comics and films will also get their money's worth. A tricky story, which is of course more than just a funny reenactment of old sitcoms, shows the so-called "post endgame universe" for the first time. Cameo appearances by other superheroes and references within the MCU provide ample fan service, and ironic comic book outfits reference back to the good old days when Marvel comics were not synonymous in the popular imagination with popcorn and a billion-dollar corporation. All these referential tricks have now been perfected by the writers under the supervision of Kevin Feige at Disney/Marvel.
In general, "WandaVision" presents an altogether atypical story that, despite the superficial fun factor, also deals with serious issues time and again. Grief, loss, denial of reality. The consequences of a traumatic event are presented here in a literally fantastic way. Exciting cliffhangers, old-school sitcom humour, but also creepier elements in the best X-Factor manner result in a surprising, harmonious whole that finally gives the MCU a new wind.
"WandaVision" attempts the balancing act between traditional fan service and a fresh, more daring direction. The love for what came before is already noticeable in the set design and it becomes increasingly difficult to impossible not to find this shining moment of the MCU at least sympathetic. The first season of the show is a frighteningly good and humorous alternative on the series market and one can be curious whether the other announced Marvel series ("The Falcon and the Winter Soldier" and "Loki" ) will maintain this level or whether they will then fall back into the all too well-tried pattern, as unfortunately also happened in the last episode. However, Disney's dominance of the series market has moved a little closer.