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what if...?

★★★

weekly episodes streaming on disney plus
review of episodes 1 - 3

starring: jeffrey wright, hayley atwell, chadwick boseman and samuel l. jackson

 

REVIEWER: lyall carter

Exploring pivotal moments from the Marvel Cinematic Universe and turning them on their head, leading the audience into uncharted territory.

Gotta admit that when I saw all the promos and merch coming out for Marvel’s What If…? I was pretty stoked with possibilities opened up through Loki’s introduction of the Multiverse. Three episodes in, What-If..? shows great ambition, creativity and a level and beauty in its animation that is to be applauded, but ultimately suffers in its short episodic form. 

“What If...?” flips the script on the MCU, reimagining famous events from the films in unexpected ways. Marvel Studios’ first animated series focuses on different heroes from the MCU, featuring a voice cast that includes a host of stars who reprise their roles.

 

Giving away no spoilers, the first three episodes propose new, varied versions of Captain America, The Guardians of the Galaxy and the Avengers stories. Straight off the bat these narrative ideas are as intriguing as they are engaging and damn entertaining.

In the first three episodes we also get a glimpse of some of the most kick ass female characters in the MCU in Peggy Carter, Nebula and Black Widow. I just hope we get to see some of the versions of those characters given more space and time to develop and maybe (PLEASE Marvel!) they will be seen in the live action films as well. 

The animation in this series is beautifully rendered, hand drawn animation and makes you feel like you’ve just seen a comic book come to life. It took me straight back to my childhood of watching Gargoyles, Tintin and Darkwing Duck after school at my Nana’s house. Lotta nostalgia there.

Unfortunately What If…?, for all of its creative ideas, beautiful animation and ambition is let down by its episodic structure. At this point, three episodes in, there’s three different stories that are really feature length narrative plots that have been crammed into thirty minutes. It’s just not enough time to develop the story and characters and the form just needed to be a lot longer. 

What-If..? shows great ambition, creativity and a level and beauty in its animation that is to be applauded, but ultimately suffers in its short episodic form.

★★★