After a far too long Marvel drought, WandaVision is finally here to make things right. Well, sort of.
Critics are loving the new series so far, but it might not be the huge superhero hit you expect. Instead, it has Wanda (Elizabeth Olsen) and Vision (Paul Bettany) living out a perfect suburban life inside a mid-20th century sitcom. However, not everything is as it seems.
Before you stream the first two episodes of the show on , you can catch up on your Marvel knowledge right here. You can also read Mashable’s take on the superhero series here and check out highlights from other critic reviews below.
The early episodes feel more like a charming sitcom than a long-awaited continuation of the MCU
Mashable, Alexis Nedd
From the opening chords of its TV Land–ready theme song, Disney+’s WandaVision delivers flawless sitcom magic. […] If someone with no knowledge of WandaVision’s place in the Marvel Cinematic Universe were to stumble upon this show’s first episode, they could be forgiven for assuming it was a genuine and likable relic of television’s golden age.
At some point, the cute sitcom plots begin to feel like a gag gift, one where a big, beautifully wrapped box contains a smaller, equally beautiful box and so on until the fun of unwrapping is usurped by annoyance. It’s been a year, WandaVision, what did you get us?
Polygon, Matt Patches
The one thing to know about WandaVision is that, at first, it isn’t an Endgame sequel, a bridge to Doctor Strange 2, or a TV series cast from molten Marvel lore. And unlike the MCU movies, which have the luxury of keeping butts in seats for two hours and explaining themselves in a single breath, this story is chopped into pieces, leaving plenty of room for unfulfilled expectations. A sitcom is lightweight. A Marvel story might need to be something else. But not in this case — WandaVision is WandaVision, and if you can watch it for what it is, it’s satisfying television.
Forbes, Scott Mendelson
WandaVision makes an intriguing “first” among the Disney+-bound MCU television shows because it is so aggressively and unapologetically “TV.” The first three episodes which were sent to press aren’t just MCU melodramas that somehow exist in the sitcom format. The core joke is that how much those first three episodes look, feel and play like various sitcoms from the early days of network television. The medium, at least for the first 1/3, is the message.
Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany shine
Collider, Liz Shannon Miller
[O]ne of the shining takeaways from the first three episodes is just how damn good both Olsen and Bettany are. Despite that early turn in 1995 as “Girl with Flowers” on her older sisters’ sitcom Full House, Olsen’s filmography has always leaned heavily into the dark and dramatic. So watching her make sitcom banter bubble and sparkle is the best of surprises, only amplified by her ability to find pathos and horror within the moments that demand it.
Meanwhile, Bettany has had a few comedic roles in the past, but none that demanded this level of full-on slapstick commitment — yet his follow-through makes him feel like a pro with 100+ episodes of syndicated hilarity under his belt.
Entertainment Weekly, Darren Franich
Free of any obvious plot requirements, Bettany and Olsen get to fire up some real chemistry. Their beautiful light twisted fantasy wavers between sweetness and sorrow. You start to worry what secrets their laugh track is hiding. “Is this really happening?” Wanda asks her husband. “Yes, my love,” he promises, “It’s really happening.”
Gizmodo, Charles Pulliam-Moore
Both Olsen and Bettany are at their MCU best here in these mostly new, vastly different versions of themselves. You can see shades of the Wanda and Vision we’ve caught brief glimpses of in the past, but never been given all that much time to spend with. Together, the pair are the series’ emotional center and its comedic power source, which gives them the chance to show off the breadth of their on-screen range.
There’s an eerie mystery yet to unfold
Variety, Caroline Framke
Because no, of course things in “WandaVision” are not quite as they seem. While there are no concrete answers to be found in the first few episodes, there are clues and eerie moments that make plain that the stakes of their supposedly blissful domestic life aren’t nearly as low as advertised.
Vox, Alex Abad-Santos
What keeps this show going is figuring out what’s actually happening. After 90 minutes of WandaVision, I still don’t know who the villain is or how our heroes are going to get back to reality. Could the fake sitcom be a manifestation of Wanda’s grief over losing her brother and Vision? Is there a different character who’s manipulating everyone involved? Is Nick Fury involved? Are the supporting actors in this sitcom Skrulls or S.W.O.R.D.? Does this whole setup have something to do with that pesky reality Infinity Stone?
IndieWire, Ben Travers
Still, lurking within the familiar pleasures of yesteryear’s TV comedies is a nagging mystery as to what the heck is going on here. Why are they here? What’s going on? Wasn’t Vision destroyed? That first question comes up, almost verbatim, in the premiere, but after three episodes, “WandaVision” has barely moved toward answering it. Each entry ends with the same general teases and offers a frustratingly familiar drip of opaque information.
WandaVision hits Disney+ Jan. 15.