"Marvel's What If...?" Season One Talkback (Spoilers)

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Roxas_Sora

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Like I suspected, the individual stories ended up joining together against a common threat. I don't know what will come in Season 2, but I want to know what happen at least in some of these alternative worlds after this. If they used the Zombies against Ultron, I want to know if this world managed to recover when the Zombies disappeared.
 

Fone Bone

Matt Zimmer
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Marvel's What If...? "What If... Captain Carter Were The First Avenger?"

That was pretty good. The animation wasn't as off-putting as I feared it was going to be. It wasn't great. But it wasn't terrible either.

I like the amount of MCU actors they got for the voices. Jeffrey Wright makes a good Watcher too.

Promising opener. ****.

Marvel's What If...? "What If... T'Challa Became A Starlord?"

So I like this show now. Like a LOT.

They should have made THIS the premiere episode. Last week simply does not compare to how awesome this was.

I love that Korath is bright and sunny and a Starlord fanboy. This episode made me think a LOT less of Peter Quill. Not only because of that, but with somebody like T'Challa in his place he was able to reform not only Yondu (which admittedly is not a stretch) but freaking Thanos! He simply talked the mad Titan out of his plan. I love that. The Universe is measurably better with T'Challa out there in it. Drax's family is alive too which hints that Peter sucking made the Universe even worse than we suspected.

I also love how silly this version of the Collector is, and Nebula also seems to have gained a sense of humor, as well as a full head of hair. And the stuff with Howard the Duck was a real treat. It was nice to see the character done well for once.

No surprise the episode was dedicated the Boseman. My thought is that they should dedicate ALL the T'Challa episodes to him.

Man, after the disaster of Black Panther's Quest, it is SO nice to see an animated T'Challa I am allowed to love and root for. I don't think the either of the recent Avengers cartoons (especially Avengers Assemble, but Earth's Mightiest Heroes was guilty of it a bit too) get enough flack for how unlikable they made Black Panther for contrast to everyone else. By the time Black Panther's Quest came along the character was outright insufferable. There is a reason Boseman was beloved in the role.

Considering Djimon Hounsou used to PLAY Black Panther himself, it must have been really fun to play off Boseman. I suspect that is the specific reason Korath had an surprisingly huge role. Also, Hounsou NEVER gets cast in silly roles, so playing Korvath this way must have been REALLY fun for him.

I don't know if the show is gonna be doing sequel episodes to the various Universes, but if they do, I wanna see what happens with Peter and Ego. Very curious about that.

I loved that episode. *****.

Marvel's What If...? "What If... The World Lost Its Mightiest Heroes?"

Crap like that is why I don't like Hank Pym.

The scene in the van is the reason Black Widow is my favorite Avenger.

I didn't like the ending, which is weird because I liked the very last scene. Sounds contradictory but it's not.

Not my cuppa cha. **1/2.

Marvel's What If...? "What If... Doctor Stranger Lost His Heart Instead Of His Hands?"

Interesting premise, bummer ending. Strange did more damage to that Universe than Thanos ever could.

I guess what makes the episode bearable is the clever idea of two Stranges split by a timeline by the Ancient One. It gives us someone to root for at the end.

It's interesting that the Watcher is involved in this story for the first time.

Didn't like it. Too much of a downer. **.

Marvel's What If...? "What If... Zombies!?"

I didn't like that one either. The ending was too unresolved and it's hinted that it's hopeless anyways. This is sort of why I never wanted What If...? adapted in the first place. It's too big of a bummer. The first couple of episodes sort of went outside of that, but the tone has become as dour and hopeless as every issue of those comics.

The one thing I liked was Scott. He tells Dad jokes to process trauma. I like that. The rest of the episode? Not so much. **.

Marvel's What If...? "What If... Killmonger Rescued Tony Stark?"

I didn't like this one. At all.

I understand the premise of "What If...?" is explicitly designed to ponder the worst-case-scenario to every time that question is asked. But that's a fault in the premise. The worst case scenario is never the most LIKELY scenario. And the most likely scenario is that neither Tony Stark nor Wakanda are ever dumb enough to fall for Killmonger's nonsense here. In order to build up Killmonger (who is if you ask me an underwhelming screen villain) they had to made the leaders of Wakanda and Tony act completely out of character and dumber than they actually are. I get that is the entire conceit of the premise. It's also why I was skeptical of the idea of this show going in.

We get our first full look of the Watcher here. He's white... Which is... weird considering Jeffrey Wright voices him.

Add to that another frustratingly unresolved ending, and I'm very unhappy. And I'll tell you the worst thing. The Watcher himself points out that Thanos can't be defeated without Tony Stark. I feel like both the Battle of New York, and the Snap box things in on the show entirely. Depending on when things go wrong, this means either Loki will wind up winning or Thanos does. The fact that the MCU has such a light canon compared to the comics, and that so much of that canon is of the Earth-shattering variety, means that there is little actually variety to the end points for all of these stories. Which is another reason I think the show was ill-advised. The actual answer to every What If...? question that's asked is "Thanos eventually wins.". That's not a very interesting variety of fates to hand the Universe and the characters.

I haven't dug an episode of this show since T'Challa was Starlord. It's turned out to be one of my least favorite MCU projects. *.

Marvel's What If..? "What If... Thor Were An Only Child?"

That's more like it. That's what I was hoping for. I don't like the comics because every "What If...?" ends in "The World is destroyed and everybody dies." I want the show to explore the idea that major changes don't necessarily have to destroy the well-being of a Universe. I think Ultron is a foe Thor and Captain Marvel will be able to deal with. But I like seeing everybody acting differently, rather than the choice leading people down the road to ruin.

I like Howard the Duck telling D'Arcy "Let's see where the night evolves." Very apt phrasing there by Our Howard.

They got Hemsworth and Portman! Cool!

I also laughed at Surtur macking on the Statue of Liberty. See? Not all bad!

Speaking of which, I like the idea that once Thor and Loki aren't brothers they like each other and get along. Because he refuses to clean up, Loki can never be confused for a good guy, but he's also definitely not a villain either. I like that idea while Loki may have straightened Thor out by being there, Thor might have messed Loki up for the same reason.

This is what I had been hoping the series would have been after the second episode. I want to see the characters acting differently and outside of themselves. I don't need to see them destroying themselves. This was the show using the premise the way I wanted. ****1/2.

Marvel's What If...? "What If... Ultron Won?"

It was interesting. I liked Doctor Strange from a previous episode showing up to hint that these Universes aren't necessarily going to be forgotten. I like the Watcher realizing that perhaps Watching isn't freaking good enough. I like Ultron essentially breaking the fourth wall unasked. And I liked seeing the Watcher get into a fight for the first time.

But my liking of the episode will probably be dependent on what goes down next week. I can't recall any multi-issue What If...? comics because the premise lends itself to things spiraling out of control fast. It's probably why the episodes are only a half hour long. So this is pretty uncharted waters for the franchise, I think. Putting the Watcher in real jeopardy is something I've never seen before, and since he talks to us, perhaps that gives Our Universe a stake in things as well.

If I have any real complaints about the episode, it was the lack of star-power . Outside of Jeremy Renner, Toby Jones, and Benedict Cumberbatch, the entire episode used soundalikes. And this was a pretty damn big episode. It's amazing the goofy Thor episode last week had more star-power than Ultron killing Thanos and destroying the Universe.

For the record, if all this happening was the risk of Ultron winning in the second Avengers movie, Tony Stark really, REALLY sucks, and always did. This isn't something I ever wanted to think about, but the episode is making me.

But it was still really thought-provoking about the nature of reality, both real and fictional, and I look forward to whatever next week's big question winds up being. ****.

Marvel's What If...? "What If... The Watcher Broke His Oath?"

It is beyond ironic that the first Marvel Studios TV show to ever have a satisfying finale is What If...? The least satisfying premise in the entire Marvel Universe is the first show that had an ending that didn't jerk us around. For Loki it was appropriate. For WandaVision and The Falcon And The Winter Soldier it was annoying, especially in hindsight. I felt those two series were nothing but promotional bridges for the movies instead of great series in their own right. Loki found its way, but stuck us with a cliffhanger, but frustration is part and parcel to the character. I like that this episode of What If...? did the surprising thing and basically wrapped up all of the crazymaking cliffhangers they had been giving us all season. What a nice surprise.

I wondered what on Earth possessed the Watcher to recruit Killmonger, particularly THAT version of Killmonger. It's because his role is that of Gollum to the destruction of the One Ring: He's the sacrificial lamb. The Multiverse cannot be saved unless Killmonger is damned. Which by the way, wraps up the cliffhanger to his Universe.

I think Natasha was speaking a bit for me at the end over her outrage at the Watcher's passivity in allowing what he did to happen. And The Watcher can claim he loves them and their stories. That's not damn good enough. At all. But I think the Watcher actually realized that, and since he couldn't restore her Universe, he did the next best thing, and placed her in a one where she was missed and needed. It's giving her everything she ever wanted without doing so. Does it break his Oath? Absolutely. But it's literally the least he can do.

I bowed my head realizing this is the final performance of Chadwick Boseman as T'Challa. The significance of that did not escape me. And Starlord T'Challa is my favorite version of the character, so I'm glad he got a happy ending and fixed his Universe. He deserved it.

Even Captain Carter gets a happy ending. And for that version of Doctor Strange? A happy ending isn't in the cards. But perhaps he can find a measure of purpose in the meantime, which is something to hold onto.

These last two episodes pleasantly shocked the hell out of me. I have been going back and forth all season over to whether or not I liked the show (I hated the comics) and it turns out Marvel Studios knew what it was doing. It doesn't ALWAYS. But it does USUALLY. And it was great. *****.
 

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