Picture this: there is snow falling on a non-descript town somewhere in Eastern Europe. It’s the soothing type of snow, the kind that makes you walk a little slower and enjoy the finer things in life. The camera moves around the streets showing the locale before settling down on our two protagonists. The nanotechnology used by Vision near the start of Infinity War is utilized here as he disguises himself from prying eyes. Wanda gently holds his hand, feeding him a tart just as the first train whistle sounds. The look in her eyes pleads him not to go, but she lets go of his hand. He walks towards the train and boards as Wanda looks on with tears beginning to well up in the corners of her eyes. The final whistle blows as Wanda turns around, burying her face in her hands. But then she feels slight pressure on her shoulder, she turns around with a fury, her years of fighting and training kicking into action. Yet just as quickly as she turns, all the tension, all the anger, and all the sadness melts away as Vision embraces her. No words are spoken as the embrace does all the talking for them. The two walk to a local pub, as the title card appears. The spin-off you never knew you wanted but desperately need in your life is a Richard Linklater ‘Before’ style trilogy, in which Scarlet Witch and Vision walk through the streets of a small town, not caring if they miss the next train because they have each other.
In an era where every comic book movie has to feature grandiose special effects, cost hundreds of millions of dollars, and have world ending stakes, a breath of fresh air would be a nice change. I still want to see my favorite superheroes and superheroines, but how about in less stressful situations. How about just walking the streets of Scotland, wondering if they should miss the next train as snow gently falls, letting their powers take a backseat to their love? Avengers: Infinity War gave us a brief glimpse of what life is like for our heroes when Thanos, Ultron, Loki, etc., etc. is not trying to take over/save/destroy the universe.
Two of the unsung heroes of the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe are Elizabeth Olsen as Scarlet Witch and Paul Bettany as Vision. Both have built names for themselves outside of the MCU, Olsen being in Martha Marcy May Marlene, Wind River, and Ingrid Goes West and Bettany in A Beautiful Mind, Master and Commander: The Far Side of the Sea, and Margin Call. The two clearly have the capability of carrying the acting side of a more intimate setting.
The pair also have a very clear chemistry, seen first in Age of Ultron and is a driving force of the action in Avengers: Infinity War. Even with the threat of the destruction of humanity as currently known, Scarlet Witch still struggles with ending the life of Vision in order to destroy the Mind Stone. The two have grown close together as they are both seen as outsiders; Wanda having been fighting against the Avengers before eventually fighting with them and Vision being a humanoid unsure of his place within mankind. But working together they are able to feel more comfortable and at home.
Conversations would replace explosions. Soul searching dialogue over another punchfest. The two would wonder what a normal life would be like, although they know it can never be. Jump cuts would not take them from exotic location to exotic location, rather the action would be real-time, the conversations genuine, and the setting a character in and of itself. And yet it would be no less powerful than the explosive attack on New York in the first Avengers.
Am I saying that action filled superhero films should never be made? Not at all. I am rather suggesting that the characters we have grown to love would be suited for other genres of films, ones where their powers are an afterthought rather than at the forefront. So I will sit here and anxiously await my vision of what superhero films there could be in our future.